Monday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on October 7, 2019 byunder
Scripture: Jeremiah 37:1-21 (NKJV)
37:1 Now King Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land gave heed to the words of the Lord which He spoke by the prophet Jeremiah.
3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah, the priest, to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, “Pray now to the Lord our God for us.” 4 Now Jeremiah was coming and going among the people, for they had not yet put him in prison. 5 Then Pharaoh’s army came up from Egypt; and when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
6 Then the word of the Lord came to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Thus you shall say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: “Behold, Pharaoh’s army which has come up to help you will return to Egypt, to their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city, and take it and burn it with fire.”’ 9 Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, “The Chaldeans will surely depart from us,” for they will not depart. 10 For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire.’”
11 And it happened, when the army of the Chaldeans left the siege of Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army, 12 that Jeremiah went out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin to claim his property there among the people. 13 And when he was in the Gate of Benjamin, a captain of the guard was there whose name was Irijah the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he seized Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “You are defecting to the Chaldeans!”
14 Then Jeremiah said, “False! I am not defecting to the Chaldeans.” But he did not listen to him.
So Irijah seized Jeremiah and brought him to the princes. 15 Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. For they had made that the prison.
16 When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, 17 then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?”
And Jeremiah said, “There is.” Then he said, “You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!”
18 Moreover Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What offense have I committed against you, against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison? 19 Where now are your prophets who prophesied to you, saying, ‘The king of Babylon will not come against you or against this land?’ 20 Therefore please hear now, O my lord the king. Please, let my petition be accepted before you, and do not make me return to the house of Jonathan the scribe, lest I die there.”
21 Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah to the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread from the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was gone. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
Chapters 37 and 38 of the book of Jeremiah present what a faithful minister of the Lord looks like regarding the proclamation of God without compromise. No amount of persecution, verbal or physical, could persuade the prophet to alter the Lord’s Word with either addition or subtraction. This is a powerful example for all who are blessed to bear the cross of the Office of the Ministry in Christ’s Church, as well as for anyone who is blessed to be given the opportunity “to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15).
In today’s text Jeremiah does nothing wrong, but yet is arrested, imprisoned, and persecuted with starvation rations—all because he dares to commit the offense of speaking God’s Word of judgment against sinful rebellion and rejection of the Lord’s divine proclamation. In the first few verses we see the prophet is forbidden to intercede for people intent on opposing God’s will. This is valuable in battling the false belief of many today that if enough of us pray intently enough, we can bend God to our will, even if it is not aligned with His will. This horrible heresy causes us to focus on our desire and our heart, rather than the Lord’s will and His Word. Such misconceptions about prayer are in direct contradiction of the words of the Lord’s Prayer that proclaim “Thy will be done.”
We pray: Almighty heavenly Father, allow us to see Your abundantly gracious hand in all things: every blessing and every trial. Through Your chosen Means of Grace comfort and strengthen us to boldly confess You before all, in all circumstances. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.