An evaluation of Jeremiah by most standards of success would brand him an abysmal failure. He preached for forty years without convincing the people that he was God’s prophet. He was threatened, ridiculed, and physically abused by his own people. Jerusalem was finally destroyed, and Judah ceased to exist as a nation because the people refused to accept Jeremiah’s remedy for deliverance—turn back to God and submit to the Babylonians. However, Jeremiah must not be judged by human standards. God has a different measuring stick by which he judges a person’s life. His is the test of obedience. God only required that Jeremiah obey him by proclaiming his message. Jeremiah was not responsible for a favorable response or lack of response. One who is an obedient servant of the Lord today is not held accountable for lack of response from those who hear his message. The great rulers of Jeremiah’s day—Ashurbanipal, Nebuchadnezzar, Neco, and Hophra—have largely been forgotten. Their influence is nil, whereas Jeremiah’s name and influence remain because of his obedience to God’s will for him.
F. B. Huey, Jr., Jeremiah, Lamentations, vol. 16, New American Commentary, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1993), 24.