Jeremiah 20

Those who declare the whole counsel of God may expect to be plotted against,
ridiculed and represented as dangerous to the government,
which presents a strong temptation to stop preaching or tone down the message.
However, the faithful preacher can successfully set all enemies at defiance,
for Jehovah has promised to take his part,
and to make the Word preached answer the end of its designs.

1 Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.

2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD.

3 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magor-missabib.

4 For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.

5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.

6 And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.

7 ¶ O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.

8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.

9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

10 ¶ For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.

11 But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.

12 But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.

13 Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.

14 ¶ Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.

15 Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.

16 And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;

17 Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.

18 Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?

Jeremiah 20:9—I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.

​   The prophet had looked for marvelous results from his preaching. So great was his consciousness that God’s word was on his lips, and his power with him, that he expected by his ministry to arrest the decay of his people. And when, instead of the success he sought, he found himself in the stocks, he was tempted to feel that God had excited hopes which were not destined to be realized. He did not give sufficient weight to man’s awful power of resisting and neutralizing God’s best designs. We say this reverently, and use human methods of speech.
   Yet, on the other hand, as he reviewed the steps by which he had come to act and speak as he did, he felt that he could not have done differently. And though he were suddenly to repress himself, the Divine inward impulse would sweep away all his constraints, and assert itself in irresistible might. It was of no use placing the bushel over the light, for the light would burn the bushel; useless to shut in the fire, for the fire would burn through every obstacle to its flames.
   What a glorious state of heart to be in! We have sometimes been weary in God’s service; but oh, it would be a greater weariness if we were dismissed from it. To speak is an awful responsibility and weight; but not to speak would be impossible. Have you the burning heart? Do you know what it is to feel unable to contain yourself, since the love of Jesus constrains? If not, daily pray that God may light a burning fire in your bones.

       “O God! make free
       This barren, shackled earth, so deadly cold;
       Breathe gently forth thy spring, till winter flees
       In rude amazement!” —Our Daily Homily