Valley Experiences of Jeremiah
Jeremiah had to depend on God’s love as he developed endurance. His audiences were usually antagonistic or apathetic to his messages. He was ignored; his life was often threatened. He saw both the excitement of a spiritual awakening and the sorrow of a national return to idolatry. With the exception of the good king Josiah, Jeremiah watched king after king ignore his warnings and lead the people away from God. He saw fellow prophets murdered. He himself was severely persecuted. Finally, he watched Judah’s defeat at the hands of the Babylonians. (Source: Life Application Bible)
Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth, a man with whom the whole land strives and contends! I have neither lent nor borrowed, yet everyone curses me. (Jer 15:10 NIV)
Jeremiah was totally honest with God about his feelings. Like Job, he regrets his own birth, like a man with suicidal tendencies, who is so tired he would rather not live. He also felt that he was all alone. Everybody hates him because he is a bearer of God’s judgment.
The LORD said, "Surely I will deliver you for a good purpose; surely I will make your enemies plead with you in times of disaster and times of distress. (Jer 15:11 NIV)
In his valley experience, Jeremiah received a promise from God that his enemies will be destroyed.
You understand, O LORD; remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering--do not take me away; think of how I suffer reproach for your sake. (Jer 15:15 NIV)
Jeremiah cried out to God to deliver him from his problems. He asked God to remove his enemies. We may enter our valley experiences not because of human enemies but other “enemies”. We may encounter many obstacles in our path to success. Ask God to remove all these obstacles.
When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty. (Jer 15:16 NIV)
I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation. (Jer 15:17 NIV)
Jeremiah was not compromising despite being persecuted. Despite being unpopular he did not try to gain favour. We must remain steadfast in our valley. It may be possible to take a short-cut out of our problems but this may not be what God has intended for us. It may be tempting to compromise on a dubious business deal and see our short-term financial pressures resolved but we should resist the temptation to do so.
Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails? (Jer 15:18 NIV)
Therefore this is what the LORD says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. (Jer 15:19 NIV)
I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you," declares the LORD. (Jer 15:20 NIV)
"I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel." (Jer 15:21 NIV)
There is a difference between pouring our sorrows to God and accusing God of something He is not. Jeremiah seemed to have gone overboard with his complaints and accused God of being deceptive and failing to keep His promises. God told Jeremiah that He would deliver him out of his valley experience if he ceases his worthless words.