Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Courage to stand alone………

Shephatiah, Mattan’s son; Gedaliah, Pashhur’s son; Jucal, Shelemiah’s son; and Pashhur, Malchiah’s son heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people: “The Lord proclaims: Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and disease. But whoever surrenders to the Babylonians will live; yes, their lives will be spared.  The Lord proclaims: This city will certainly be handed over to the army of Babylon’s king, who will capture it.

 Then the officials said to the king: “This man must be put to death! By saying such things, he is discouraging the few remaining troops left in the city, as well as all the people. This man doesn’t seek their welfare but their ruin!”

 “He’s in your hands,” King Zedekiah said, “for the king can do nothing to stop you.”    Jeremiah 38:1-5  CEB

The people made fun of Jeremiah as he walked the streets.  “Here comes mister terror, look out the Babylonians are coming.”  Jeremiah did not like the ridicule anymore than we do when people laugh at us because of our faith.

The more Jeremiah preached, the worse the judgment that God was going to do to the city came out of his mouth. The city will be destroyed. The people will be slaughtered. The people who are left will go into captivity for 70 years.

Then the good King Josiah died, and his successor King Jehoiakim has no desire whatsoever to serve God.  He also does not like the preaching of Jeremiah. He tells him to stop prophesying.

Jeremiah has to decide whether he was going to continue to speak up now that he had to face more than just people making fun of him.  He may have to face the anger of the King.

Under Jehoiakim, Pashhur the chief officer in the temple got sick and tired of all this bad news from Jeremiah.  Pashhur had Jeremiah beaten and thrown into prison.  But locking him up could not keep what he said from happening.

The Babylonians did come, and they took King Jehoiakim and a number of the rulers away as captives and demanded that ransom money be paid regularly.

The Babylonians took much of the wealth out of the city with them. They made Zedekiah the new king. 

Jeremiah was preaching for twenty years before he saw what God had said would happen.  Do you see why we cannot always think all we have to do is walk into a situation and “zap” it changes for God?

When Zedekiah becomes king, he decides to break the agreement to send money and taxes to Babylon. The people are still doing all the things they were doing before the Babylonians came. Jeremiah starts preaching again, and before he knows it, he’s telling the people, the Babylonians are going to come back and this time completely wipe out the city. Those who survive will be slaves for 70 years in Babylon.

The other prophets prophesy, the Babylonians will not be back, and as a matter of fact in two years, Babylon will cease as a nation and we will get back everything they took from us. 

Just because people are telling you things you want to hear, does not mean it is the truth.

God’s Word is God’s Word and it does not change.

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