But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble; they will not overcome me. They will be greatly shamed, for they will not succeed. Their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten. O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause. – Jeremiah 20:11-12 ESV
Jeremiah was facing some tough opposition. His own people refused to listen to his call to repentance and warning of coming destruction. He had face rejection, ridicule and even physical violence at the hands of those he was attempting to save. And yet, this shouldn’t have been surprising to Jeremiah, because God had forewarned him. “‘will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless’” (Jeremiah 15:20-21 ESV). And it was to this earlier promise from God that Jeremiah returned. God had said that He would be with Jeremiah to save and deliver him. God had promised to deliver him out of the hand of the ruthless. The Hebrew word for “ruthless” is the same word Jeremiah used to describe God. It can mean “terrible one, mighty, or strong”. The NET Bible translates it as “awe-inspiring warrior” when used of God. Jeremiah’s opponents were terrible, violent and ruthless when it came to their treatment of him. But his God was going to put the, pardon the pun, dread of God in them. They would be greatly shamed and would not succeed. While Jeremiah was going through a temporary state of disgrace and dishonor, theirs would be everlasting.
In the midst of all his difficulties, Jeremiah was calling upon the Lord of hosts – literally, Yahweh of Armies. It is a shortened version of the title, Yahweh the God of Armies, which occurs five times in the book of Jeremiah. The abbreviated version occurs 77 times. This reference to God has to do with His sovereignty as King and creator. He not only leads the armies of heaven, but the army of Israel and the armies of the nations of the world, which He uses as He sees fit. It is to the Lord of hosts that Jeremiah appeals. He calls out to the one who rules over all and who knows all. Jeremiah recognizes that God knows his heart and the hearts of his opponents. God can see what is going on and can easily ascertain who is right and who is wrong. Jeremiah simply asks God to do the right thing and save him as He has promised to do.
In spite of all he was going through, Jeremiah has committed himself to God. The Hebrew word Jeremiah used was galah and it can mean “to make naked or lay bare”. Jeremiah had, in essence, exposed himself, making himself vulnerable on behalf of God. He had been so committed to God’s call and cause that he had been willing to suffer abuse and rejection. He had put it all on the line for God. Now he was asking God to avenge him, to justify his suffering by validating his message. Jeremiah had been faithful to do what God had called him to do. He wanted God to be faithful and do what He had promised to do. “I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless” (Jeremiah 15:21 ESV).
When we stand for the truth of God, we will face opposition, and not just from the world. Sometimes our own brothers and sisters in Christ will stand against us or misunderstand us. But it is always essential that we make sure the cause for which we stand is God’s and not our own. We must never make the mistake of causing dissension and strife among the people of God based on our own opinion or agenda. Jeremiah was committed to God’s cause, not his own. He was speaking the words of God, not men. The agenda he followed was God’s. It can be so easy for us to replace God’s words with our own. We can end up causing disruption in the body of Christ, not because we are speaking truth, but because we are sharing our opinion and promoting our own agenda. The apostle Paul told the believers in Corinth, “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths” (1 Corinthians 2:13 NLT). His words were from God. We must always make sure that what we say is Spirit-inspired, biblically based and God-ordained. The cause to which we commit ourselves must be God’s, not our own. Because when we speak God’s word, we will always have God’s backing. When we commit to His cause, He will commit Himself to our care.