Many years ago, while meditating on the Book of Jeremiah, what I read touched me so deeply I prayed each day for about a week, “Lord, make me Jeremiah”. At the end of the week, I was invited to a luncheon hosted by Transworld Radio, the largest Christian radio ministry in the world.
The global CEO, a Welshman, was newly installed and was going to address the luncheon and everyone seemed eager to hear him. He was introduced, got up to the rostrum, and looked at the audience for about 30 seconds without speaking. Then he spoke and his first sentence was, “Who in this room wants to be Jeremiah?”
Of all the prophets in the Bible, I must say Jeremiah is my favourite. In Matthew 16, when Jesus popped the question to His disciples and asked them, “Who do men say I am?”, some said Elijah, some said John the Baptist, and others said Jeremiah.
I think the greatest honour a prophet can receive is to be identified with the Lord Jesus. There was something about Jesus that reminded them of Jeremiah and I’d like to suggest it was His broken-heartedness over His people that somehow got them to connect with that ancient prophet.
Jeremiah certainly ranks as one of the greatest prophets of Israel and no one in Scripture reveals to us the broken heart of God more than him. The Book of Jeremiah is an exposé of the pain and deep hurt in the heart of the suffering God.
People have called Jeremiah the weeping prophet, but really, his life is a revelation of a WEEPING GOD, weeping over an obstinate people who so provoked Him to anger that something actually changed in God’s heart permanently.
There’s a moment, in reading the book, where the Lord cries out that a fire had been kindled in His heart by Israel to such a degree that it’d burn continually, forever. They crushed Papa’s tender heart. And the horrific pain Jeremiah felt was to a lesser extent the grief that God Himself was feeling.
Author Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest which he was asked to judge. The contest aimed at finding the most caring child. The winner was a 4-year-old boy whose next-door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife.
Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.”
There are times when God weeps over the nations and over His people. And He allows some of His children to sit on His lap while He weeps. In those times, we can sometimes barely breathe because we feel His aching heart.
Only once in my life have I experienced this, but in a very limited way and just for a short time. I could feel my heart sob because I was jealous for His Glory and I didn’t know it was possible to weep from so deep within.
I know I’m not anywhere close to being an intercessor like Mr Rees Howells. But I do want to experience God’s heart more and more. I want Him to share His heart with me.
The prophet Jeremiah, more than any other man, had such a tenderness of heart. It’s amazing that God takes a very tender man and sends him to a very rebellious and obstinate people. Why? Because the prophet and the message are one.
When God communicates, it’s not just with words. It’s His heart. So what we communicate must be an expression of what’s in His Heart. If God is not angry, then the prophet cannot be angry. If God seeks to express compassion and mercy, that’s how the prophecy must be given.
Jeremiah’s many sufferings made him a man of deep and profound compassion, yet he also possessed fearless courage. God made him like an iron pillar to stand against his many adversaries (Jeremiah 1:10). May we learn to sit on Papa’s lap, put our head on His bosom, and softly weep with Him.