20 Shall evil be recompensed for good? for they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.
Might not Jeremiah have supposed at such a time that God had forsaken him? Especially considering that the cause of his horrid imprisonment was his faithfulness in adhering to the divine Word. Had he thought so, he would have made the mistake which some short-sighted people fall into with regard to the incidents of ordinary life.
The fact is, God's dealings with the prophets had regard to the prophets themselves as well as those to whom He sent them. God accomplishes many ends with simple means. In sending the prophets, He not only reproved the generation addressed, but brought out His Word for the enlightenment of subsequent generations, and at the same time developed circumstances for trying, purifying and disciplining the prophets themselves. Jesus testifies that the prophets are to be in the Kingdom of God-
"Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the prophets in the Kingdom of God."
We also read in Revelation that the time is come for God "to give reward unto His servants the prophets." It was therefore needful that they should be tried by adversity.
A man is unfit for use - even in the human sphere - till he is tried. A character is without value till it has gone through the fire in some way or other. A person who is all the time in agreeable circumstances cannot have that hearty appreciation of the Truth which adversity engenders; neither is it possible that his character can be brought out distinctly.
Development depends upon activity. "Pleasure" does not tend to spiritual activity, but rather to spiritual lassitude and death. It blunts the perception of the need for the truth. It makes the mind contented with the present. It brings mental rust and moral sluggishness. It hides the spiritual mind.
When he is tried you see him, and get to know what he is made of, and he knows himself as he never can with a pleasant breeze on all sides. The man who has come through trial and suffering is a more complete and a more precious man in every sense than one who does not know what trouble is.
He is qualified to judge justly of other men, and to sympathise with the erring; and we must remember that the object of God's operations towards us in the Gospel, is to develop an order of men who will be qualified to be the associates of Jesus in the administration of the Divine law in the earth, in the day of the Messiah's glory.