Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall. Jeremiah 1:18
Ironclad beetles are known for their tough exterior which protects them from predators. One special variety, however, has extraordinary strength under pressure. The insect’s hard, outer shell stretches, rather than cracks, where it joins together. Its flat back and low profile also help it to resist fractures. Scientific tests show that it can survive a compression force of nearly forty thousand times its body weight.
Just as God made this bug extra tough, He gave resilience to Jeremiah as well. The prophet would face intense pressure when he delivered unwelcome messages to Israel, so God promised to make him “an iron pillar and a bronze wall” (Jeremiah 1:18). The prophet wouldn’t be flattened, dismantled, or overwhelmed. His words would stand strong because of God’s presence and rescuing power.
Throughout his life, Jeremiah was falsely accused, arrested, tried, beaten, imprisoned, and tossed into a well—yet he survived. Jeremiah also persisted despite the weight of inner struggles. Doubt and grief plagued him. Constant rejection and the dread of a Babylonian invasion added to his mental stress.
God continually helped Jeremiah so that his spirit and testimony weren’t shattered. When we feel like giving up on the mission He’s given us, or backing away from living faith-filled lives, we can remember that Jeremiah’s God is our God. He can make us as strong as iron because His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Which circumstances are threatening to crush you? How do the examples of Bible characters inspire you to exhibit faith in God?
Dear God, please strengthen me to meet the challenges I face today.
The words terrified/terrify in Jeremiah 1:17 translate the Hebrew word hatat, meaning to be shattered, dismayed, broken, abolished, afraid, discouraged, terrified. The word is used in contexts where God’s people are encouraged to take a stand in the face of odds (see 1 Chronicles 22:13; 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17; Ezekiel 3:9). It’s often preceded by the word not and the exhortation to “not fear” as in Joshua 1:9, where the Hebrew word is translated “discouraged”: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” In the Gospels, Jesus’ words to His disciples echo what we hear in the Old Testament: “Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:11–12).