When people disappoint you.
Updated: Sep 30, 2018
There are times when we would say “What’s the use?” No one listens. No one cares what God has to say. People are going to do what they want no matter what you say. We’d rather forget our calling to share the Word of God with our friends. Remember to find your comfort in crisis from Christ. Only Christ can inspire you to continue to “fight the good fight of faith.”
Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying,
“Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
that his name be remembered no more.”
But, O Lord Almighty, you who judge righteously
and test the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
You learn a lot about a person’s character at a time of adversity. You see how people handle hardship. Sometimes people find within themselves a resolve and a strength they never knew they had. Other times you see people simply fall apart as though they had no hope for any future happiness. Character, or the lack of it, becomes apparent at times when one least expect it.
The prophet Jeremiah displayed rare character throughout his 41 years of ministry. Jeremiah loved the people of Jerusalem dearly. He loved his Lord more. Jeremiah lived a very lonely life. The Lord did not want him to marry. His character was tested!
Murder plots against Jeremiah were frequent. He was lowered into a muddy cistern, his scrolls were burned, he was imprisoned, beaten and called a liar. God used all these things to build character in Jeremiah. The Lord told Jeremiah, “Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land.” God gave Jeremiah a strong character. He needed it to do the work assigned to him. He preached the Word of God to the people he had grown up with, but they refused to listen or to repent of their sins. The more he preached, the more people hated him. His character was tested!
I’d like to think that our world is not as calloused as was Jeremiah’s. I’d like to think that people aren’t as bull headed as they were back then. I’d like to think that people still repent of their sins when they see their faults and realize that they have angered the Almighty God by their sinfulness. I’d like to think that people still rejoice over the good news of Jesus Christ. I’d like to think that the message of full and complete forgiveness for Jesus sake motivates people to change their lifestyles so that they want to live a life of thanksgiving to God for his grace and mercy to them in Jesus Christ. But something tells me that our world is too much like the world of Jeremiah.
May God’s Word today give us the courage that is so often lacking in our lives to be something more than a Sunday morning Christian. May we find new courage to share the Word of God whether people want to hear it or not. Consider this thought:
“Christ Builds Character in Crisis”
I. Continue your Calling in Christ
II. Commit your Cause to Christ
Here is the crisis for Jeremiah: “Because the LORD revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.” There was a plot to kill him! Jeremiah had warned the people that the Lord would destroy their nation and drive them from their homeland if they did not repent. The people didn’t like what Jeremiah said. Instead of seeing how they had drifted away from the LORD, they blamed Jeremiah for preaching too much doom and gloom. Instead they insisted: “We are God’s people. We are protectors of God’s temple.
We have nothing to worry about.” They believed Jeremiah was the problem in the land and not them. The people had become so sick and tired of his doom and gloom preaching that they planned to kill him. These people were supposed to be his friends! What comfort is there for a man when it seems as though everyone has turned against you? Our comfort is always found in Christ.
There are times when we would say “What’s the use?” No one listens. No one cares what God has to say. People are going to do what they want no matter what you say. We’d rather forget our calling to be share the Word of God with our friends. Remember to find your comfort in crisis from Christ. Only Christ can inspire you to continue to “fight the good fight of faith.” If you have been disappointed by people who you thought were your friends, you know how Jeremiah felt in our text. When the Lord revealed the plot to Jeremiah, he reassured Jeremiah that God is still in control. You are always safe. Continue in your calling in Christ.
Jeremiah’s character was tested as he came to grips with the truth that the LORD is the only one he could count on. This incident led him to trust in Christ no matter what the crisis. This incident gave him courage to continue in the calling to which God had assigned him.
Jeremiah couldn’t allow the people’s hatred and rejection to stop him. His message was their only hope. They needed to hear what he had to say whether they liked it or not. No matter what the consequences, he had to speak the Lord’s Word. Only the power of that Word, only the grace of the Lord could bring about a change in their hearts and work faith in them. He knew that some would repent and believe the Word so he continued.
He wrote about his life: “I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, ‘Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.’” You recognize the comparison to Isaiah 53:7 – “He (Jesus) was led like a lamb to the slaughter.” Jesus would be treated as Jeremiah describes here. The lamb was a household pet. It trusted those who raised it. That lamb went to slaughter without any resistance. So willingly did our Lord go to the cross to take our sins away. So also did Jeremiah humbly live among the people he thought were his friends. He never imagined that they would turn on him.
The intent of the plot against Jeremiah was to kill him so that there would be no more memory of his work or his words. They said, “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.” They hoped to silence him once and for all so that no one would even remember that he existed. Their plot failed. They died off and no one remembers Jeremiah’s enemies. But God would not allow Jeremiah’s message to die away. Jeremiah’s name is still remembered. His character is still in tact. He was faithful in his calling and the Lord kept him safe through this crisis.
Character is everything folks. Lean on Christ whenever you face conflict or crisis. Let him define your character as one who continues faithful in your calling as a Christian. So even if you feel like you are the only one left who believes the Bible. Even if it seems that no one wants to hear what the Bible says, remember that the Word of God still saves you. Remember that the Lord is always on your side. Find the courage to speak his Word and believe that the word of God has the power to change hearts and to save you. With the Lord on your side, the LORD will create a strong character in you that is willing to commit your cause to the Lord.
Jeremiah said, “But, O LORD Almighty, you who judge righteously and test the heart and mind. Let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.” The LORD Almighty is the commander of the armies of God’s angels in heaven. The LORD sends his angels in sufficient number to guard and protect his own. The psalmist says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do it” (Ps 37:5).
The LORD does test our faith from time to time. He does so not to cause us to fail but to draw our hearts even closer to his. The testing of our faith builds character. St. Paul put it this way, “ we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us” (Ro 5:3-5). God tests our hearts and mind, the very core of our being at times. He does so because he loves you unconditionally. He wants to rescue you from every evil and at last bring you to Paradise!
So we wait for the LORD to judge justly. Jeremiah said, “Let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.” Vengeance is mine. I will repay says the LORD. So we commit our cause to the Lord, our Savior and wait for his deliverance. Christ always builds character through crisis. We learn to trust in the Lord with all our heart!
Jeremiah is not looking for personal revenge. At stake is the Lord’s reputation, God’s glory, faithfulness and truth. Jeremiah wants God’s kingdom to come and God’s name to be hallowed. Now he waits patiently. He committed his cause to the Lord. He knows the Lord will take care of it.
The Christian life is all about character. The character of a Christian is shaped and molded by crisis. It is at the difficult times in our lives that we learn to commit our cause to the Lord while we continue in the work he has called us to do. God never fails us. The Lord is building a formidable church that stands her ground against the world. And as God works faith in each human heart, he is building a character in you that is molded after Christ.