Jeremiah 26 -- 28
Godly Josiah was dead, and his second son Jehoiakim was appointed King of Judah by Pharaoh. Unlike his father, Jehoiakim was hostile toward the prophets of God. Despite that hostility, during his reign, Urijah faithfully prophesied against Jerusalem. When Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard Urijah's words, the king. . . . slew him with the sword (Jeremiah 26:21,23). It was in the face of this antagonism and persecution that Jeremiah received a message from the Lord, saying: Stand in the court of the Lord's House, and speak to all the cities of Judah, who come to worship in the Lord's House, all the words that I command you to speak to them; diminish not a word. . . . Say to them, Thus says the Lord; If you will not . . . walk in My Law . . . Then I will make this Temple like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth (26:2,4,6).
Now . . . when Jeremiah finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, You shall surely die (26:8).
The people demanded the sentence of death because it was the legal penalty for blasphemy and for false prophecy (Leviticus 24:16; Deuteronomy 18:20). Jeremiah's message was in striking contrast to that of the false prophets, such as Pashur (Jeremiah 20:6), who promised peace and a soon return of the exiles from Babylon.
The elders listened to the evidence, then came the unexpected testimony of Ahikam who was a court official and prominent during Josiah's reign. Ahikam courageously stood in defense of Jeremiah against both the religious leaders and the king. He reminded them that when the Book of the Law was discovered in the Temple and read in the presence of Josiah, the king said: Great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not listened and obeyed the words of this Book, to do according to all that is written concerning us (II Kings 22:8-14).
Ahikam also reminded them that, during the reign of Hezekiah, Micah had prophesied essentially the same thing that Jeremiah had now spoken. Then Ahikam asked: Did Hezekiah King of Judah and all Judah put Micah to death? Did he not fear the Lord, and seek the Lord? (Jeremiah 26:19). Ahikam's argument was that, because no charge of blasphemy or death sentence was made then, neither should Jeremiah be sentenced to death now. Sufficient precedent had been set.
The testimony of this unexpected witness undoubtedly influenced the verdict of "not guilty." Perhaps we owe the remainder of this great prophet's ministry to Ahikam who stood up for what he knew to be right.
The responsibility rests upon all of us to maintain a similar boldness and loyalty to Christ, regardless of the outcome. Even though it was during a time of great persecution, the work of God prospered as the Christians of the first-century Church went every where preaching the Word (Acts 8:4). The truth contained in the Word of God is vitally needed in a world deceived by sin and hostile to Christ. Our responsibility to share the Truth of God is still an urgent need as well as a sacred trust.
The things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also (II Timothy 2:2).
By Jeremiah, who was falsely accused by the priests and the false prophets (Jeremiah 26:8-9). Our Lord was threatened and falsely accused by the religious rulers of His day (John 8:48,59).
26:14 meet means right; 27:19 the sea means the bronze laver at which the priests cleansed their hands and feet before entering the Tabernacle; residue means remainder.
Government Official: Rep. James Rogan (CA) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WJRA-AM, Decatur, AL · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Alexander · Country: Bahrain (537,000) 11 islands in the Persian Gulf near Saudi Arabia · Major languages: Arabic and English · No evangelical work is permitted · 85% Muslim; 5% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 1% Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Pray for your brothers and sisters that they might be filled with spiritual discernment and the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 3:14-18).
I John 3
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 2:11