Sunday, August 25

Courageous faithfulness

Scripture: Jeremiah 37-39, Psalm 79, 2 John 

Jeremiah 37:17 Then King Zedekiah sent for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked him privately, “Is there any word from the Lord?” 

“Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon.”

Observation

Jeremiah’s faithfulness to God is amazing.  

Jerusalem was being besieged by the Babylonian army.  The Egyptian army was apparently coming to the rescue, but Jeremiah prophesied that they would return to Egypt and the Babylonians would still conquer the city.  Besides that, he advised the Israelites to save their lives by surrendering to the Babylonians.  If they resisted, they would die; if they surrendered, they would live.  

Jeremiah must have sounded like a traitor, and when he tried to leave the city on an errand, he was arrested for desertion to the Babylonians (untrue), beaten and thrown in jail.

Then King Zedekiah privately asked him, “Is there any word from the Lord.”  Now would be the time to be discreet!  Instead, Jeremiah bluntly repeats his prophesy: “You will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon.”  Rather than hedging his bets, or compromising his message to save his skin, Jeremiah speaks the blunt truth to the one man who could save him.  

Only then does Jeremiah plead for his life, and the king moved him where he wouldn’t die.  

This scene is repeated again in chapter 38, where the king has another private audience with the prophet, and Jeremiah pleads with him to obey God, surrender and save his life.  In Jeremiah 38:20 Jeremiah said, “Please obey the Lord in what I am saying to you, that it may go well with you and you may live.”  Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet—very emotional—and I can hear the pleading in his voice here.  “Please, I beg you, surrender and live.”  

But King Zedekiah refused.  Jerusalem was conquered, and the king was taken captive and watched his sons and nobles all slain before his eyes were gouged out.  The last thing he saw…

Application

Jeremiah’s faithfulness to God is inspiring.  He was true to God’s message no matter what it cost him—and it cost a lot: beatings, imprisonment, starvation, near death, misunderstanding, disdain and hatred as a traitor (which he was not).  I wonder if I would have been as faithful were I in his shoes.  

I want to be true to God and His word.  No compromise. No hedging.  Just courageous faithfulness.

Prayer: Lord, give me a backbone of steel, like Jeremiah, and help me to speak your word clearly, faithfully, and without compromise.