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Bible Pathways 08/21/2002

August 21

Read Jeremiah 26 -- 28

In Today's Reading:

Jeremiah's arrest; Judah's subjection to Nebuchadnezzar foretold; opposition by false prophets.

Verses for Today:

Stand in the court of the Lord's House, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's House, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word. . . . Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord; If ye will not . . . walk in My Law . . . Then will I make this House like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth (26:2,4,6).

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 his words, the king. . . . slew him (Urijah) with the sword (Jeremiah 26:20). It was in the face of this persecution that Jeremiah received a message from the Lord.

Now . . . when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt 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 hearkened unto the words of this Book, to do according unto all which is written concerning us (2 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 him to death? did he not fear the Lord, and besought 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 is 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. The elders . . . the chief priests and the scribes . . . began to accuse Him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King (Luke 22:66:2; see also John 8:48).

Word Study:

26:14 meet = right; 27:19 the sea = the bronze laver at which the priests cleansed their hands and feet before entering the Temple; residue = remainder.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for your Church · Country: Sierra Leone (5 million) in western Africa · Major language: English · Increasing restrictions on Christian work in some areas · 50% belief in river spirits, medicine men, and witchcraft; 39% Muslim; 7% Protestant; 2% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Praise and thank the Lord that He can do exceedingly more than we ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20).

Optional Reading: 1 John 3

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:4

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