God’s Word Is Alive
Only in the Strength of Jehovah
THE Hebrew prophets were not men of superhuman strength but persons “with feelings like ours.” (Jas. 5:17) Yet they often faced tremendous opposition from their own people. Without divine help, they simply could not have succeeded in carrying out their commission. But they did triumph in the strength of Jehovah. This is dramatically illustrated in the case of the prophet Jeremiah.
Before the eyes of the elders of his nation and the elders among the priests, Jeremiah smashed an earthenware flask. Explaining the significance of this act, he stated: “This is what Jehovah of armies has said: ‘In the same way I shall break this people and this city as someone breaks the vessel of the potter so that it is no more able to be repaired; and in Topheth they will bury until there is no more place to bury.’” (Jer. 19:1-11) Leaving Topheth in the valley of the son of Hinnom, Jeremiah went to the temple courtyard and there proclaimed Jehovah’s message of doom in the hearing of all the assembled people.—Jer. 19:14, 15.
The leading commissioner of the temple, Pashhur, acted swiftly against Jeremiah. He publicly humiliated the prophet by striking him and then putting him into stocks in the Gate of Benjamin. On being released from the stocks the following day, Jeremiah proclaimed Jehovah’s judgment against Pashhur.—Jer. 20:1-6.
How did such experiences affect Jeremiah? He felt very discouraged about being an object of reproach on account of making known God’s message. He felt like quitting. But he could not. Under the impelling power of God’s spirit, he simply had to speak out. The word of Jehovah ‘proved to be like a burning fire shut up in his bones.’ Jeremiah realized that, in his own strength, he never would have been able to continue proclaiming what caused so much personal trouble for him. He stated: “You have fooled me, O Jehovah, so that I was fooled. You used your strength against me, so that you prevailed.” (Jer. 20:7-9) The prophet was fooled in the sense that he was able to accomplish what he could never have done in his own power. The Most High had proved stronger than Jeremiah’s weakness.
How encouraging this can prove to be for us today! We, too, may face opposition and ridicule in preaching God’s message contained in the Scriptures. But with divine help, we can succeed in carrying out the commission given by Jesus Christ to his disciples. (Matt. 28:19, 20) Our situation can be like that of the apostle Paul, who said: “When I am weak, then I am powerful.”—2 Cor. 12:10.