Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Encouragement for Those Who Suffer in "Sibling Rivalry"

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

There is comfort and encouragement in an unlikely Bible story for those who suffer in "sibling rivalry." In fact, this individual's story is usually neglected. It's Jeremiah. People actually turn away from his story, because he has been dubbed "the weeping prophet."

Depressing! Why read a story so sad that the author wishes he had rivers of water in his head so he could cry endlessly! (Jer. 9:1; Lam. 2:11). Jeremiah belongs in the "tragedy" category of drama. Leave his musty book in the attic.

But the man is so important that people thought that Jesus was Jeremiah (Matt. 16:14). God permitted an avalanche of persecution to fall on him, not just 10 years or so of it such as Joseph and David endured, after which both were exalted to glorious honor. No, poor Jeremiah gets no reprieve from endless physical and spiritual torture.

He was dumped into a deep mud hole and left there to die had not an African gentleman at the court taken pity on him and saved his life (Jer. 38:6-13).

He was locked up in the stocks where common criminals are displayed publicly (20:2, 3). Yet he was God's chosen prophet from his pre-natal experience in his mother's womb (1:5). It seemed as though the God who called him had now abandoned him!

The king himself had contemptuously cut up and burned the book that the Holy Spirit had inspired Jeremiah to write (36:21-23). How can an author be humiliated any more shamefully?

But the most cruel blow the prophet is called to suffer is the "treachery" inflicted by his own personal family who should have been loyal. His brothers knew him, that he was sincere and genuine; but they organized a bitter campaign against him, complete with flattery to his face and a knife in his back (12:6).

But no, it's not dramatic tragedy; Jeremiah is now revered as the greatest of the prophets, and he shares his life story with Jesus. If you are called to suffer, rejoice with Him.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 14, 2001.
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