Pashhur, son of Immer, was a priest and chief officer in the temple. He had heard Jeremiah prophesy a word of destruction from the Lord God to His people. There was no note of humility on Pashhur’s part. He beat Jeremiah and put him in the stocks overnight.
The next day Jeremiah gave a message from God against Pashhur. The beating and imprisonment had not changed Jeremiah’s resolve. God had a new name for Pashhur: “Terror on Every Side.” The people of Judah would be overwhelmed by terror. They would be carried away to the king of Babylon, along with all the wealth of Jerusalem. Pashhur and all who lived in his house would also go into captivity. They would die and be buried in Babylon with all their friends.
At this distressing moment, Jeremiah expressed his great despair to Almighty God. Because of his true message from the Lord, Jeremiah was not a popular man among his neighbors. He had attempted to keep the Word of the Lord bottled up within his own soul, but he simply could not do it.
Meanwhile the forces arrayed against the prophet were growing. Former friends planned to denounce him and were ready to celebrate if they could guarantee his immediate downfall.
Despite Jeremiah’s honest concern that he had been abandoned by God, he also knew that he was not really alone. The Word of the Lord was with him, not only as a comfort to his persecuted soul, but also as a “dread warrior.” He experienced both the joy of being the Lord’s servant and the misery of facing ruthless enemies among the priests of Judah.
Jeremiah knew that God was the One who would deliver the needy out of the oppressors’ traps. The Lord was worthy of much praise. Yet the deliverance that the prophet desired would not come immediately, and Jeremiah began to despair of life itself. (2 Corinthians 1:8)
Jesus faced the hatred of scribes, Pharisees, priests, and Sadducees for our sake. He was utterly alone at the cross, and yet He knew the complete reliability of His Father’s plan. We need His faith and patience as we serve God. The Lord who brought us grace through the blood of Christ can both receive our honest lament and also grant us faith that can move mountains.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, Your servants the prophets have felt the violent blows of false men who claimed to serve You. Your only-begotten Son faced the hatred and brutality of those who were Your priests and the elders of the people. His Name was a word of derision in the mouth of fools who wanted to be something. Many watched for His fall with cruel envy. Though they seemed to succeed in the day of His sacrifice, His life was delivered from the grave through the marvel of resurrection. Though His days were filled with such great frustration and seeming futility, through His life and death our salvation has been securely accomplished.