Today, our devotion focuses on the Old Testament Reading of Jeremiah and comes from a sermon in Concordia Pulpit Resources.
Matthew 10:5a, 21–33
Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.
The feeling of failure is hard for us to experience and understand. Jeremiah felt this pain when his attempts to preach to Jerusalem seemed unsuccessful. However, even in these deepest moments of disappointment and rejection, we can remember God’s promise to be with us always.
The verses preceding our text (Jer 20:1–6) are a vivid portrayal of the suffering that may come to God’s faithful people precisely because they are faithful. Hence the believer dare not base his faith on what is visible, on the appearance of success or failure, or on the evaluations of others. Jeremiah’s own ministry appeared to be a failure. Not only did the people refuse to believe the words the Lord had given him, they put his very life in jeopardy and trusted instead the messages of false prophets of hope.
Today faithful messengers of God’s Law and Gospel may also encounter unbelief and harsh criticism, if not physical abuse. Frustration is increased by observing the popular acclaim and outward success of those who proclaim a different “Gospel” that avoids the Law and the scandal of the cross. The faithful need to remember that the only verdict that counts is the one that will come at the end of time—the appraisal issued by the One who has power over both body and soul, heaven and hell (Gospel Lesson).
The structure of our text (Jer 20:7–13) is similar to many of the psalms of lament, of which there are about 50 (e.g., Psalms 3–7; 10–14; 22; 25–28; etc.). In these an individual mourns his present unfortunate condition, then toward the end of the psalm breaks into joyful praise of God in light of his salvation. In our text vv 7–10 are a lament, while vv 11–13 rejoice in God’s eventual triumph and vindication of his faithful servant.
Praise is a powerful statement of faith. For Jeremiah and for the psalmists, praise results from faith’s certainty that no matter how bad things are now, God will make good on his promise of final and complete deliverance.
Devotional reading is from Concordia Pulpit Resources, Vol. 6, Part 3, Series A © 1996 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.