by Clarence E. Macartney

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The Prayers of the Old Testament (11 of 13)
The Prayer of Jeremiah
Clarence E. Macartney
Jeremiah 9:2

Jeremiah has been called a figure of bronze dissolving
in tears. No character in the Old Testament exhibits
greater strength and fearlessness. He was a fortified
city, an iron tower and a brazen wall against the
whole land. Yet there are times when the man of iron
and bronze is dissolved in tears and pity. This is one
of those moments. "Oh that my head were waters, and
mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day
and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.
Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of
wayfaring men; that I might leave my people and go
from them!"

The righteous soul of Jeremiah was vexed because of
the sins of his people. His mission was a hopeless and
cheerless one. Israel's cup of iniquity was full and
Jeremiah was to announce the coming of judgment. He
was not even to pray for his people or make
intercession for them. He could do nothing to stay the
tempest; it was his to stand upon the housetop and
hail the swift approach of desolation and captivity.
When the Chaldean armies were at the gates of the holy
city, he had to conquer his pride and his patriotism
and prophesy their victory.

His fellow countrymen distrusted him and openly
charged him with treason. It was little wonder that he
sometimes fell beneath this burden of public
opprobrium and even, like Job, cursed the day that he
was born. "Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my
father, saying, a man-child is born unto thee, making
him very glad!" Jeremiah felt the loneliness of Lot,
that righteous man in a world of sin; the loneliness
of Elijah when he felt that his burden was greater
than he could bear, and with his face in the sand
beneath the juniper tree, cried, "It is enough. Now O
Lord, take away my life"; the loneliness of John the
Baptist, when in the dungeon of Herod and his eagl ...

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