Jeremiah 43: Handling Frustration
Jeremiah might have been the most ignored prophet in the entire Bible. He told the people that they would be destroyed if they went to Egypt, but here is how they responded in Jeremiah 43.
Jer 43:2 Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:
Jer 43:3 But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon.
I feel incredibly bad for Jeremiah, and I know that this would have been frustrating for me. I don’t like when people wrongly criticize my character, and I can’t believe that Jeremiah liked it very much either. He knew that he heard directly from God, and he knew that everything they were saying about him was false, but we don’t have any indication that he lost his temper or anything like that.
I think that this is something we need to observe from him. God never promised us that people would be nice to us because we were followers of Him. In fact, Jesus told us that the world would hate us because it first hated Him. Jeremiah is living proof of that. He was faithful to God. He preached everything that God told him to preach, and he did not object to telling the people what they had to hear.
We have seen him thrown into jail and slandered as a result of that commitment at different points in this book. People do not always want to hear from God. In some cases like Jeremiah, people don’t want to hear that they need to submit to the authority of God and do what He says. People want to do their own thing.
The encouragement we can take from Jeremiah is that God gave him the strength to continue preaching in spite of all of this frustration. God help us handle these situations as well.