(24 verses, 3:40 to read)
What I am about to READ
The prophet Jeremiah narrowly escapes the wrath of King Johoiakim and the people for preaching God’s word.
MARK and LEARN
Jeremiah stood up in the court of the temple and preached a message of woe and destruction, which would come upon the people if they did not turn from their evil ways. This message is the continual call of the Old Testament prophet. It should have been no surprise to the king and the people of Jerusalem that a prophet should call them to repentance. But they understood faith as something external. They said “there is the priesthood, there is the sacrifices, there is the king, and we are at peace. Certainly God is pleased by these things!” But God wants rent hearts and not rent garments, repentance and faith and not sacrifices. They trusted in the efficacy of their works and not in the promises of the Lord, of which the sacrifices and priesthood are the commanded response.
Poor Jeremiah had to deal with a stiff-necked people who called for his death for blasphemy, even though he preached truly according to the command of the Lord. This call comes even from the priests and prophets of Jerusalem, who should have known the scriptures. But they willingly blinded themselves to God’s word, preferring their own comfort.
Luckily, there were still wise men of the Scripture living “in the land” (vs. 17) that is, not in Jerusalem, separated from its allurements and politics, like certain rustic preachers who know and apply God’s word indiscriminately. These elders bring forth examples from the scriptures examples of the very message that Jeremiah preached, from the prophet Micah. But this would not sway the king from trying to put Jeremiah and others like Uriah to death who spoke against Jerusalem.
God preserved Jeremiah’s life through the sword of a trusted official who guarded the prophet’s life, in much the same way that the pious magistrate John Frederick guarded the life of Luther from the wrath of the Pope.
Lord God, you give to us your word which calls us to repentance and faith. Grant that we would receive this word with gladness, forsaking our sins and turning to the merits of your beloved Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
Rev. Brandon Ross
Pastor, Faith Ev. Lutheran Church