Jeremiah 20
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.
The Deceptions of God

Jeremiah 20:7

I. There are times when we are ready to say that God deceives us. Think of the ideals of our childhood. It is one of the sweet illusions of the child that father or mother has neither fault nor flaw.

1. Think again of the deceptions of the senses. If there is one thing that seems above dispute, it is that this earth of ours is fixed and firm.

2. Think once again of how God fulfils His promises. One thing certain is that when Abraham was called from Ur, he was promised the land of Canaan for his own. The strange thing is that to his dying hour Abraham did not own one rood of Palestine. It is a signal tribute to the splendour of Abraham's faith that not in his darkest hour did he doubt God.

3. Think once again of how life deceives us. It is when men compare all that the years have brought with the glad and golden promise of the morning. It is then that they are tempted, not in bitterness, but in the melancholy which Jeremiah knew so well, to cry, 'O Lord, if this be life, Thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived'.

4. Then think for a moment of the Christian calling: 'Come unto Me, and I will give you rest'. And we come, for we are weary and it is rest we want, and immediately we are summoned out to war. 'Fight the good fight of faith; put on thine armour; show thyself a good soldier of Jesus Christ.'

II. There are loving purposes in this so-called deception.

1. Sometimes this is one of the ways of God for strengthening and educating character. He leaves us, not because He is false, nor because He has broken the promise of His help, but because, like a mother with her little child, He is teaching us to stand upon our feet.

2. It is one of God's ways to make us happy, and God is at infinite pains to make us happy. There are dreams so sweet that He will not rudely waken us; the time for that is coming by and by. Our hopes are not less ministers of happiness because they may never be fully realized.

3. It is one of God's ways to make us valiant, and to stir and rouse us to our best endeavour. I think, for example, of that first hope of Christendom that the second coming of the Lord was near at hand: Without that burning hope do you think they could ever have suffered and been strong? So does God strengthen us by what He hides not less divinely than by what He shows.

This so-called deception is one of the ways of God to lead us on. Do you think that we would ever have the heart to travel if we were not beset by stratagems of mercy? So does God lead us through the ideals of childhood, and the hopes of youth, and the letter of the promise, till at last the husk is broken in our grasp, and we find with a strange joy the hidden kernel.

—G. H. Morrison, The Wings of the Morning, p. 288.

References.—XX. 7-13.—A. Ramsay, Studies in Jeremiah, p. 25. XX. 9.—W. Sanday, Inspiration, p. 124. XXI. 12.—C. Gore, Christian World Pulpit, vol. 1. 1896, p. 296.

Then Pashur smote 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.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The LORD hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magormissabib.
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will make thee a terror to thyself, and to all thy friends: and they shall fall by the sword of their enemies, and thine eyes shall behold it: and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword.
Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.
And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.
O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.
For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.
Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.
But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.
But, O LORD of hosts, that triest the righteous, and seest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I opened my cause.
Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
Cursed be the day wherein I was born: let not the day wherein my mother bare me be blessed.
Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying, A man child is born unto thee; making him very glad.
And let that man be as the cities which the LORD overthrew, and repented not: and let him hear the cry in the morning, and the shouting at noontide;
Because he slew me not from the womb; or that my mother might have been my grave, and her womb to be always great with me.
Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?
Nicoll - Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

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