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August 21

Read Jeremiah 26 -- 28





After godly Josiah's death, Pharaoh appointed Josiah's second son Jehoiakim to be King of Judah. Unlike his father, Jehoiakim was hostile toward the prophets of God. But 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 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 House 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). Jeremiah's message was in striking contrast to that of the false prophets, such as Pashur (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 prominent court official during Josiah's reign. 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 . . . against us, because our fathers have not . . . 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.

The testimony of this unexpected witness 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 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 Word of God is vitally needed in a world which is deceived by sin and hostile to Jesus Christ. Our responsibility to share the Truth of God is still urgent.

When called to give an account of ourselves, let us stand firm and speak boldly as did the disciples when confronted by the religious hierarchy: Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

Christ Portrayed: 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).

Word Study: 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.

Prayer Needs:
BPM Staff: Ken Sharp · Pray for New Tribes Missions · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Paul Alexander · Country: Tibet (population unknown) (province of China) in eastern Asia · Major language: Tibetan · The Chinese government is still committed to promoting atheism, while at the same time, officially permitting Lamaism (a form of Buddhism) · No religious statistics are available, but at one time all were Lamaists · Lamaism was all but exterminated by Chinese invaders in the 1950s, but it is now permitted under strict control · Prayer Suggestion: Depend upon the Holy Spirit to help you in your prayers (Romans 8:26-27).

Optional Reading: I John 3

Memory Verse for the Week: John 5:24