August 9 – Today’s Readings – Jeremiah 37-39 and Psalms 39
Jeremiah 37:15-16 & 38:6 read, “They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison. Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time.” – – “So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.”
The consequences of telling the truth or speaking God’s word can sometimes be quite brutal. This has been true throughout all generations – Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Elijah, Zerubbabel, Nehemiah, Mordecai and of course all of the great New Testament heroes – they all suffered for speaking the truth of the Word of God. The same was true for Jeremiah. Not that you can particularly blame the authorities – he was single-handedly demoralizing the citizens and soldiers of Jerusalem. He was telling them to “give up the fight” – to surrender – not the kind of words you want to hear from “the man of God” if you are fighting for your life! These words were treasonous!
We are actually in great company when people misunderstand, refuse to believe, or actively oppose us as we speak the truth of the Word. It shouldn’t surprise us if we too are “thrown into the cistern”. After all – what are we really telling the citizens of our great city? – That they will die in their sins if they do not listen to The Word – That the city will be destroyed and Jesus will reign supreme – That there is only one way to escape the coming destruction – That what they believe is wrong and that they need to radically change their ways! It is little wonder they get upset. We are placing a major roadblock directly in their way! This is exactly what happened to Stephen when he was called on to testify before the Jewish leaders in Acts 7:51-54 – “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it.’ When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.”
So, should we just keep quiet then? – Not tell them the truth? – God forbid. Should we not warn people of imminent destruction if they do not make a u-turn? The great news is that if they do repent and turn to Christ there is love, joy, peace, abundant life and eternal life – there is Jesus, who personally walks with us – and that this is the work of the Holy Spirit who leads us to all godliness and gives us righteousness, peace and joy.
1. Give another Biblical example of a spokesperson of God who was accused of being “treasonous”.
2. Give an example of a time when your motives were completely misunderstood as you spoke the truth of God.