No prophet has ever spoken more boldly than Jeremiah, and suffered more for it. He pronounced God's judgment to the nation of Israel in a time where their rebellion was vast. He delivered thundering words of divine wrath to a people who had prostituted themselves to other gods. But Jeremiah also declared to them the way to rescue. He declared many times an authoritative, "Thus saith the LORD" not only in regard to judgment but also regarding God's mercy. Repeatedly God said to the people that if they would repent and return to Him then He would heal and restore them. Unfortunately Jeremiah 5:3 records their response, "they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock." The guidelines were simple. Turn away from your sin and trust God.
Many people today have faces harder than rock. The seed of God's Word is broadcast across their lives and they will not receive it. I have seen people get up and walk out while I am preaching. I have heard numerous things about myself that were untrue. I have seen people roll their eyes or keep their head down and refuse to look at me while God's Word is presented. I have seen faces harder than rock. But in all of this I have experienced nothing like what Jeremiah endured, who was fiercely persecuted for presenting an unpopular message. I am reminded of what God told Jeremiah at the beginning of His ministry in Jeremiah 1:8, "do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you." Any preacher worth his salt knows exactly what God meant in this promise to the prophet. Let all of God's messengers remember that God's rich grace is always sufficient for us, even if some faces to whom we speak are harder than rock. And to those who have rocky faces (which only reflect a rocky heart), please realize that God's grace and mercy and infinite love are available for you. Turn away from your sin and trust Christ. He will exchange your heart of stone with a heart of flesh, and your face will reflect it.