The Scriptorium


Not even a night in the stocks could change his mind. Jeremiah 20.1-6

The Potter and the Vessel: Jeremiah 18-21 (4)

Pray Psalm 75.1-3.
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.
“When I choose the proper time,
I will judge uprightly.
The earth and all its inhabitants are dissolved;
I set up its pillars firmly.

Sing Psalm 75.1-3.
(Galilee: Jesus Calls Us)
We give thanks, Lord, we give thanks for Your all-glorious Name is near!
Men Your wondrous works declare, Lord; let all living creatures hear!

When you choose the time of judgment, You will judge with equity.
Then the earth and all within it by Your hand no more shall be.

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 20.1-6.

1. What happened to Jeremiah in these verses?

2. How did Jeremiah respond to being set free?

Clearly, Jeremiah was getting under the skin of Jerusalem’s leaders. Pashhur, who was the temple administrator, decided to teach him a lesson. He “struck” the prophet and put him in the stocks at the Benjamin gate of the city. Not only was Jeremiah assaulted and detained; he was subjected to public scrutiny for a full day (vv. 1, 2).

Pashhur probably expected Jeremiah to be grateful and contrite the next day, when he released him from the stocks (v. 3). Wrong.

If anything, Jeremiah was more firm in his convictions than ever. He continued his preaching, directing the Word of God directly against Pashhur and all his friends (vv. 3, 4). Jeremiah said his name would be changed to “Terror on Every Hand”, because he would bring the terror of the Lord against himself and his friends by his unjust act against the prophet and all his false teaching. And all that Jeremiah had been prophesying against Jerusalem and Judah, he reinforced once again: God was sending the Babylonians to destroy and plunder everything that was precious to the people of the land (vv. 5, 6).

And as for Mr. Terror on Every Hand, he would be taken to Babylon where he and his friends would die. Their false prophesies and vain assurances to the people would catch up to them all in Babylon. Then they would know that God is the Lord, and Jeremiah was His prophet.

Those who have been entrusted with the Word of God – and that’s all believers – do not back down from its truth because of pressure from those who disagree. We don’t cave in to the spirit of the times; we rest in the Spirit of God and live and proclaim our witness for Christ, come what may.

1. Is the message of the Gospel “popular” in our day? Explain.

2. Like Jeremiah, persecution and opposition should strengthen our resolve, not weaken it. Why?

3. How can believers encourage one another to faithfulness in living and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus?

But here the Prophet shews that he was not cast down or disheartened, though he had been most contemptuously treated; he bore patiently the buffetings and stripes he had received, and also his incarceration. We know that such outrages are so bitter to ingenuous minds, that they can hardly sustain them. But Jeremiah teaches us, by his own example, that our constancy and firmness ought not to be weakened though the whole world loaded or almost overwhelmed us with reproaches. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 20.1-6

Lord, let me neither falter nor fail in my witness for You today; help me to…

Pray Psalm 75.4-10.

With whom can you share the Good News today? Seek the Lord to prepare and strengthen you to be His witness.

Sing Psalm 75.4-10.
Psalm 75.4-10 (Galilee: Jesus Calls Us)
Warn the boastful, warn the wicked: “Do not boast or raise your horn!
Do not raise your boastful voices; do not speak with pride and scorn!”

Neither east nor west nor desert shall exalting bring to man.
God is Judge, He puts one down and makes another one to stand.

For the cup of judgment foams in Jesus’ sovereign, holy hand.
He has mixed it and will pour it out on every wicked man.

As for me, I will declare it: Evermore to God be praise!
He abases all the wicked, but His righteous ones He saves!

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen, each Lord’s Day. Click here for last week’s summary of Jeremiah 16 and 17.

Where do the prophets fit with the rest of Scripture? Our workbook, God’s Covenant, shows you how all the parts of the Bible fit together under one divine covenant. The lessons in this workbook will show you the unity of Scripture and the centrality of Jesus in all the Bible. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore