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Lowell Brueckner

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The Lord of Our Destiny



Jeremiah 20

 Pashhur’s persecution and fate

      1.     Now Pashhur the son of Immer, the priest who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. 

      2.    Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD. 

 3.      And it happened on the next day that Pashhur brought Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, "The LORD has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib. 

 4.      For thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes shall see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive to Babylon and slay them with the sword. 

 5.      Moreover I will deliver all the wealth of this city, all its produce, and all its precious things; all the treasures of the kings of Judah I will give into the hand of their enemies, who will plunder them, seize them, and carry them to Babylon. 

 6.      And you, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house, shall go into captivity. You shall go to Babylon, and there you shall die, and be buried there, you and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied lies.' " 

 Because the numbers of the priesthood grew, so that it was impossible that they could all serve in the temple at once, David divided them into 24 orders. We can study the orders in 1 Chronicles 24. Each priest descended from Aaron. The first two sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, were killed for kindling false fire before the Lord, and so only Eleazar and Ithamar were left. Sixteen orders descended from Eleazar and eight from Ithamar. Each order served in turn for a week in the temple and these orders continued in the New Testament. Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist was of the eighth order… that of Abijah (Lk.1:5; 1 Chr.24:10).

 The priest, Pashhur, in this chapter, descended from Immer of the sixteenth division. We should also understand his rank, which was among the top in the priesthood. The Hebrew word, nagid, was the highest of the two and indicated the high priest, translated ruler in 1 Chronicles 9:11, as well as Nehemiah 11:11.  The second belonged to Pashhur, that of the pachid (Hebrew), or deputy to the high priest, translated chief governor in NKJV.

 Pashur was informed of the prophecy given by Jeremiah in chapter 19. NKJV says that Pashur struck Jeremiah (3), but the Hebrew better indicates that he had him beaten, and put him in stocks, imprisoned at the Benjamin Gate, near the temple. Even though on the following day he released him, Jeremiah prophesied the consequences of this act: The Lord has not called your name Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib, meaning terror on every side (3). Men may follow him, because of his high office, but God’s purpose for him would prevail. His unjustified act against God’s minister changed his destiny into one of fearful danger. He had brought it on himself, and it would extend to his followers. Enemy swords would kill them and Pashur would witness it, when God turned Israel over to Babylon (4). 


 Jeremiah does not back down in the face of persecution, but continues predicting that the produce and riches of the city, the treasures of the kings, would be taken by the enemy, who would then take them captive to Babylon (5). Pashhur and his household, all who were his and who served him, would be among the captives, carried into Babylon. He would die and be buried there, with all his cohorts who followed his false prophecies (6). This would be on Pashhur’s conscience and this is the result of being deceived and deceiving (2 T.3:13). How important it is to love God’s truth and to follow it, in spite of the fearful future that it might impose!


The mighty, awesome one prevails

 7.      O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. 

 8.      For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, "Violence and plunder!" Because the word of the LORD was made to me A reproach and a derision daily. 

 9.      Then I said, "I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name." But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. 

 10.  For I heard many mocking: "Fear on every side!" "Report," they say, "and we will report it!" All my acquaintances watched for my stumbling, saying, "Perhaps he can be induced; Then we will prevail against him, And we will take our revenge on him." 

 11.  But the LORD is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten. 

 12.  But, O LORD of hosts, You who test the righteous, And see the mind and heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them; For I have pleaded my cause before You. 

 13.  Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD! For He has delivered the life of the poor From the hand of evildoers. 

 Jeremiah is not under the rule of his own will; he has been conquered by the Lord and inducted into His service. He has prevailed over that, which the prophet might prefer. He was no match for the Lord’s might, and let it be clearly understood that every servant of God is a conquered foe, as was Saul of Tarsus. None of us have come willingly to bow, with our faces to the ground, at His feet. We demanded our rights and our choices, we plodded along stubbornly, trying to escape in the opposite direction, until He applied the means, whereby we waved the white flag of surrender. Yet, as one old song teaches, and I rejoice in its truth:

He does not compel us to go against our will,

He just makes us willing to go.

 Saul cried out to the One Who held the blazing sword that pinned him to the ground, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Ac.22:10). Christ made him willing and he became His obedient servant.

 Jeremiah’s position is not a pleasant one and cannot be, if he is to be faithful to God in a mutinous world. Pashhur and his followers have just beaten and imprisoned him; he daily faces mockery from men, whose mentality has been formed by the philosophy of the devil. Nothing better can be expected from them than continual opposition, against the ones whom the Holy Spirit has schooled (7). It is not the word of the prophet, it is the word of the Lord, which cries out and shouts, Violence and plunder! Judgment is coming; flee from the wrath to come! Opposers counter with mockery, “This is a preacher of doom. He is so negative!” Does anything different lie in the path of the faithful Christian? (8)

What kind of a masochistic personality looks for this kind of mockery? Jeremiah did not; he looked for better treatment, but the only way that he could find it, was to not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name (9). He tries to refrain, but the same Word that captured him and separated him from companion and friend, when he was called to be a prophet, remains prominent in his inner being. Ah, he intends to be silent, but a consuming fire rages within his breast and it is still stronger that he is. There is only one release for the bonfire within; it’s only release through his tongue and he cannot tame it.

 The mockings had been very cruel, even from those, who pretended to be his companions. They reported a colored, self-perceived interpretation of his words. They looked for a way to persuade him to present a more positive message, because that would reduce him to a more pliable position. They were looking for a discrepancy, in order to report it to the Sanhedrin. They waited for him to abstain and draw back. The Pharisees tried the same with Jesus: They “plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk… but Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?” (Mt.22:15,18)

 The temptation subsides in Jeremiah’s heart and he encourages himself in the Lord. The reality of His presence with him brings victory through the trial of his faith. God reveals Himself to His people, as Jesus did to His churches in Revelation, according to their need. He is with Jeremiah as a mighty awesome One (v.11). His enemies will stumble, while they are looking for him to stumble. The shame of loss and resounding defeat will be on their side. The prosperity of their cause will never return, and they will stumble on in perpetual confusion.

 Jeremiah sees the source of his trial is the Lord, therefore it is an aid to his faith. His mind and heart are made better, while he observes the vengeance that God brings upon the twisted mentality and deceitful heart of his opponents. Jeremiah fought and won the soul battle through the means of prayer: I have pleaded my cause before you. When God’s people take the fight to this battlefield, there is always victory (12).

 It is time for celebration and the cause for celebration always for the people of God is to give Him praise and glory. It is time to sing and praise Him! (13). He is worthy to be praised for His work of redemption: “You are worthy… for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev.5:9). The poor minority, the little flock, the few have been delivered from the majority, the overwhelming populace and the evil ones, who hold the power of the world in their hands.


The unborn has nothing to lose

 14.  Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me! 

 15.  Let the man be cursed Who brought news to my father, saying, "A male child has been born to you!" Making him very glad. 

 16.  And let that man be like the cities Which the LORD—overthrew, and did not relent; Let him hear the cry in the morning And the shouting at noon, 

 17.  Because he did not kill me from the womb, That my mother might have been my grave, And her womb always enlarged with me. 

 18.  Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, That my days should be consumed with shame? 

 Paul brought the Ephesians back to the remembrance of their former state of woe, so that they could see, from what misery Christ had saved them. “You… who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph.2:1,2). Yes, if they had ended life in their former state, it had been good for them that they had never been born… (14) better for anyone, who is living under God’s condemnation. Because that is true, it brings the saint to “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 P.1:8) when he sees that the Lord in undeserved mercy, has not only given him birth, but has allowed him to exist until Christ found him, lost and hopeless, carried him on His shoulder and brought him to the fold.

 However, the cry of Jeremiah is emitted for everyone, who is lost in his sins. It is a cry from hell: cursed be the day in which I was born! It is the fate of the natural man, cursed with the fall of Adam. When his eyes are open to his condemnation, this is the frightful reality that he sees. There is not a soul in hell, who doesn’t wish that he had never been born.

 Job’s physical condition brought him such suffering, so that he lamented the day of his birth (Job 3:3). The office of Jeremiah brought him beatings, mockery, imprisonment, sufferings that exceeded his desire to live. Solomon said: “I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who are still alive. Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun” (Ecc.4:2-3). The one who has never been born has nothing to lose. He does not know physical or mental pain, nor torturing persecution. He does not know guilt and condemnation. He who has been born has everything to lose.

 Man rejoices, when he hears that he is a father (15), but if many of them knew the future of their child, it would turn their joy into tears. The drunkard and the addict in the alley once brought joy to their mother and father. The man waiting on death row for the day of his execution was once a baby in loving arms. Jeremiah the prophet does not speak only for his own situation, he feels in his soul the fate of his people. His suffering for them is unbearable. The prophet hears the cry and shouting of the suffering and dying in the cities that the Lord overthrows.

I am loath to enlarge anymore on the subject at hand, but Jeremiah has confronted a suffering that most of us know nothing about. It is a present reality, however, for tens of thousands in our world, as we sit and read the prophet’s words. We may find fault in Jeremiah’s complaint, and there may be sin in his remorse, but God is greater than our heart and knows all things (1 Jn.3:20). Although Jeremiah died at the hand of his enemies in Egypt, yet there were times of satisfaction in the future, when he saw his prophecies fulfilled and experienced the favorable recognition of Nebuchadnezzar.

  Life on earth ended and eternity opened for this great man of God and he is recompensed beyond measure. The words of the apostle, who experienced grief of all sorts during his life and ministry, concluded this way: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Co.4:17).






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