August 1, 2013

Today you should read: Jeremiah 20

Have you ever been faced with a decision to do the right thing knowing that others will not like it? For some of us that is calling a friend out on sin and for others that could mean defying the government for the sake of the gospel. If you ever have the chance to read the “Voice of the Martyrs” magazine, you can read many stories of men and women being persecuted for their faith. When reading these stories we realize that doing the right thing does not mean that God will protect us from hard times through the trials. We see that same thing in our passage today.

Jeremiah was proclaiming the Word of God to the people in Judah and Jerusalem and the people did not like it very much. That was probably because the people of God were disobeying Him and Jeremiah was speaking a lot of harsh truths to them. So in today’s passage we see that Jeremiah found himself in the proverbial principal’s office. It is one thing to get captured and beaten by those who do not believe in God but it is another to get beaten by the chief priest. This just showed how far from the Lord the people of God had moved when a priest is beating a prophet for proclaiming the words of the Lord. Jeremiah does not make it any easier on himself when he proclaims that Pashur and all his family will be captured and die in captivity because they had been prophesying falsely to the people (4-6).

What I would like for us to focus on today is not so much the circumstance that Jeremiah has found himself in, but how he responds to it in verses 7-18. In Jeremiah’s prayer/lament we see the true emotions that he was dealing with going through this situation.

1.  Jeremiah questions God. (7-8) Jeremiah is complaining to God because of the words that God is asking him to speak. I think that it is important for us to see that doing the right thing and standing on your convictions from the Word of God does not always feel good. As believers we are going to face opposition for our faith and it is important to know that God is always with us but he may not rescue us from the hands of our enemies. I know that I would like to believe that if I am following the will of God then everything will work out. Everything will always work out in the eternal sense but in the immediate sense it may not. That is why Jesus warns us in Luke 9:23:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

2.  Jeremiah could not deny his conviction. (9-10). Jeremiah had the choice to stop saying what God was telling him to say. That would have been so much easier — but he couldn’t. Jeremiah had a conviction from the Lord which felt like a “burning fire shut up in his bones.” We too have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit uses that to convict us to follow the Lord. When faced with a decision of following God or running away in the face of a hard situation, I pray that we follow God because of the burning conviction of his word.

3.  Jeremiah recognizes that God is good and worthy of praise. (11-13). Jeremiah sees that his persecutors will not prevail and they will be shamed because they opposed God. It is God who is righteous and he will “deliver the needy from the hand of evildoers.” In times of trial and persecution we must remember that God is righteous and good. This is not going to be based on how we feel or our circumstances at the time but on the truths from the scriptures which produce faith. We must have an eternal perspective and know that ultimately “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

Questions to ponder:

  • When faced with a decision to obey God knowing that it may mean persecution how did you respond?
  • How do you hope to respond in the future?

Posted by: Chad Wiles

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Author: Center Point Church

A multi-campus church in central Kentucky. Our mission is to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

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