No early retirement – Wednesday, 17th Week in ordinary time – Jeremiah 15:10,16-21

No early retirement – Wednesday, 17th Week in ordinary time – Jeremiah 15:10,16-21

When Jeremiah began his ministry, King Josiah began implementing the liturgical reforms in Judea. These reforms were not fully embraced by the people for we know that they slipped back to their idolatrous ways. King Josiah and Jeremiah became voices of conscience to an idolatrous nation but the nation had no choice but to lump the message because the king backed Jeremiah. All that changed under the rule of Josiah’s son, Jehoiakim.

King Jehoiakim was a vassal of Egypt and slipped quickly under the influence of pagan beliefs. Jeremiah’s call in 1:7 was to go where ever God called and to speak whatever he commanded him. Jeremiah spoke an inconvenient truth, he drew attention to the corruption in his community and demanded change. There were no takers for his message which seem to have fallen between the cracks.

That sadly was not the only bad news for Jeremiah; we know that he was going through an inner crisis because of the persecution he had to face. The cause of his persecution was the message he had to carry; a message that was mostly bad news which no one wanted to hear and message that could not be altered by God’s command. There are several reports in the book of Jeremiah that tell us of the lengths that those in power were willing to go to shut him up: dumping him in a muddy pit and leaving him to rot, locking him up in prison where no one could hear him, and even trying to kill him.

So, Jeremiah laments the day he was born for it was from his mother’s womb that Jeremiah was called, appointed and consecrated by God himself. Jeremiah’s crisis was clear, he no longer wanted the job that God had given him. Yahweh on the other hand was not up for this temper tantrums and so he rejects Jeremiah’s complaining. Yes, it is true that Jeremiah’s life was no bed of roses but on his part God himself intervened in Jeremiah’s life. (verse 11).

God tells Jeremiah that he must continue to proclaim the word to the people. It will not be an easy road, but God will remain steadfast to Jeremiah as Jeremiah remains steadfast to the word. Though the powerful will try to silence him, they will not prevail. Notice that God does not release Jeremiah from his calling; he simply renewed it.

Jeremiah may have given in to despair for a day but he most certainly had a great love for God and his word. When Jeremiah first found God’s word he ‘ate God’s word’, taking it in as food for the soul and receiving refreshment and nourishment from it. He regarded God’s word as joy and delighted upon the word of God

As a consequence of being nourished by God’s word, Jeremiah found the strength to separate himself from those who did not value God’s word and as a consequence of these choices that he made for God, Jeremiah had to live a life filled with loneliness. Despite his choices for God, the crisis he faced were not diminished. There were still times when his pain seemed perpetual and he feared God might not be faithful to him – as an unreliable stream or a deceitful brook.

So God reiterates his promise to Jeremiah while demanding his pledge to ministry. In Jeremiah’s heart there were unworthy thoughts of God, and these had found expression in his utterances. It is ironic that God had to tell Jeremiah to repent. For years Jeremiah had been telling the people of Israel to turn back in repentance. But he had some repenting of his own to do. God promises Jeremiah that despite the current rejection and the crisis he faced, there would be a restoration.

Jeremiah is called to be unshakable and God would fulfil His promise to deliver him from the hands of the wicked. God renews the promise he made to Jeremiah when he called him. God was with him, God would deliver him.

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