“For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land— the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah. They will fight you, but they will fail. For I am with you, and I will take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 1:18-19
This promise of God proved true, but so did the other aspect to the promise. The enemies of Jeremiah did not prevail against him, and he served God with distinction through great trials for 40 years. To this thin-skinned young man, his description of terms of battlements and heavy metal might have seemed a wild exaggeration, but in fact it proved an understatement. He would hold out against all comers for over forty years, outdoing any fortress under siege. I feel that we all can relate to Jeremiah. It takes courage and faith to go into the battle that Jeremiah was about to enter. I was a shy boy growing up. I did not want to stand in front of the class and give a book report. Shortly after I was called to the ministry. God started preparing me for what He had me to do. I became president of a work group that I belonged to. I had to stand in front of this group every week. Then I got a job teaching. This all started in one day. I know God was in charge but I was very fearful. When we step out, God will help us.
God was watching over His word to fulfill it and would protect His faithful servant. Jeremiah made the right decision and as a result became one of the most unpopular prophets in Jewish history. Measured by human standards, his ministry was a failure, but measured by the will of God, he was a great success. It isn’t easy to stand alone, to resist the crowd, and to be out of step with the philosophies and values of the times. Jeremiah, however, lived that kind of a life for over forty years. “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” (Henry David Thoreau) “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)