Scripture printed Text: Jeremiah 38:14-23
Jeremiah, son of a priest, received his calling as a prophet in 626 BC during the thirteenth year of King Josiah’s reign. His name means, God lifts up. The book of Jeremiah reveals the inner turmoil and conflict out of which he delivered his prophetic burden. For over forty years, he was God’s mouthpiece as he called out judgment against Judah for her wickedness against God. Jeremiah resisted his call to prophetic ministry, citing his youth as an obstacle. However, God will not be resisted. Jeremiah followed his calling faithfully, but the road was hard. In spite of the tough words he had to deliver and personal pain he experienced, Jeremiah followed with everything the Lord commanded him.
The prophet writes about a conversation he had with King Zedekiah. The king wanted to hear what the Lord had revealed to the prophet Jeremiah. The king asked Jeremiah a question and required him to tell him the truth. Jeremiah hesitated to answer the king’s question, because of fear for his life, and his concerns with the king not receiving his answer. Jeremiah was known as a troublemaker, because he spoke the truth of God’s message to the nation. His message was uncomfortable to his hearers and they refused to listen. King Zedekiah swore secretly and promised the prophet that he would not put him to death.
Jeremiah’s message from the Lord to the king was for them to surrender to the Babylonians so that they may live. But if they refused to heed the message, the city would burn and no one would escape. The king after hearing Jeremiah’s prophetic word to surrender, shares his fears of what might happen if he follows the instructions given by the Lord. The prophet once again assures the king, that obedience to the Lord means the crisis would be suspended and they would be saved. But if not, they would be punished for their disobedience to God, their city burned and wives and children taken into captivity. Also, this would bring disgrace upon themselves as the people who trusted them realized they had mislead them. Despite a series of warnings through Jeremiah, the king and the people continued to rebel, they refuse to heed the word of God. As a result, the prophecy was fulfilled. God always provides an opportunity for people to change their ways if they would only ask for and receive His mercy.
Although Jeremiah was mistreated and thrown into prison for speaking the truth of God’s word, his life was ultimately spared. God’s word will always prevail despite the consequences that results from speaking His word.
King Zedekiah promised to spare the prophet’s life, but he never promised to comply with Jeremiah’s message and counsel. Zedekiah-types are not lacking in our society and in many nations today. It is not rare to find ungodly leaders, who like Zedekiah are disobedient to the word of God. Because too many people are fighting the Lord instead of faithfully following Him. On the other hand, Jeremiah-type are rare and hard to find, because the gospel is compromised. Leaders have become weak and afraid to proclaim the truth of God’s word. May God restore the spirit of Jeremiah among us.