Some might consider Jeremiah the model of faithfulness, while others might think of him as an example of failure and futility. He served as God’s prophet for over 40 years, yet the rulers and the people of Judah did not listen to his warnings. Jeremiah was put in prison, thrown into a well, and taken to Egypt against his will. He was not allowed to marry. He was rejected by his friends, neighbors, family, false priests and prophets, and kings. Jeremiah stood alone in his call for the people to repent and turn to God. He warned them time and time again of their impending punishment. And even though much of what he prophesied came true during his ministry, the people and the leaders continued to ignore him.
Yet through all the hardship and humiliation he was forced to endure, Jeremiah remained obedient and faithful to God. Although at first he questioned God’s calling, once he accepted his position he became a model of perseverance and devotion. After enduring decades of abuse, threats, and outright indifference, Jeremiah could easily have turned his back and walked away. But he knew that was exactly the problem God had told him to warn the people about. The people had turned away from God’s will, and Jeremiah was not about to do the same. Some may look back at his ministry and consider it a failure because the people did not respond to his call. In reality, his life was a glorious success because Jeremiah remained faithful to his God.
He may not have seen immediate results, but his struggle to obey God in a world that had turned wholesale away from its Creator has inspired generations of believers.