Day 22

Jeremiah’s Defense

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan

Jeremiah 26:1-24, Micah 3:12, Matthew 21:33-46

BY Melanie Rainer

My two-year old attends a sweet little church preschool a few days a week. This Christmas season, she brought home a nativity craft which met the fate of most crafts in our home: tossed aside, buried under mail, and found a few days later. My five-year-old daughter, who had discovered it as I was making dinner one evening, yelled from across the kitchen table:

“MOM!” she giggled. “Is baby Jesus a potato?”

I continued stirring the soup, and without even looking up, I chastised her immediately. “That’s not very nice! Baby Jesus is NOT a potato.”

“But, MOM, look!”

Then she appeared next to me, holding a small Yukon Gold potato, wrapped in tissue, with a drawn-on smiley face. Huh. Well, what do you know? In this scenario, baby Jesus was, indeed, a potato. I hadn’t even looked up, so how could I have known? How could I have expected a potato masquerading as the King of kings?

The priests, prophets, and all the people in Jeremiah 26 were a bit like me, stirring soup and not even looking up, jumping to an instant conclusion. Now sure, “You must die!” is a bit more extreme of a response than, “That’s not very nice.” Still, I know how many times I’ve heard something I just don’t want to hear, let alone deal with, and instead of listening, I react instantly, disproportionately, given the context. Honestly, this happens almost daily. As for Jeremiah, he had prophesied that the temple would become like Shiloh, a city north of Jerusalem that had been utterly destroyed by the Philistines. Psalm 78 recounts the tale:

“But they rebelliously tested the Most High God, for they did not keep his decrees…
God heard and became furious; he completely rejected Israel.
He abandoned the tabernacle at Shiloh,
the tent where he resided among mankind” (vv.56,59–60).

No one, especially not the priests and people in power, wanted to hear that their city and temple would be destroyed because of their actions. Defensiveness reigned, and instead of hearing the word of the Lord and obeying, they tried to (literally) kill the messenger. But the Lord’s providence protected Jeremiah. A few officials stood up and spoke for him, reminding the rest of the group that the prophet Micah had made a similar prophecy (Micah 3:12), and when the people did turn and repent, the Lord relented.

In this story we see again, as we have so many times before in Jeremiah, a testament to the unwavering character of God. He does what He says He will do. Jeremiah believed it, and staked his life on it. He took God at His word; if the people would “correct [their] ways and deeds, and obey the LORD [their] God,” He would relent (Jeremiah 26:13).

As I read about Jeremiah standing there in the city center and proclaiming the unpopular, death-threatening message from the Lord, I’m reminded of Acts 17, when Paul stands in the areopagus in Athens and gives a similar message: “God now commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).

There are others in Scripture who faced a similar situation: Stephen died while proclaiming the history of God’s unfailing covenant (Acts 7). Peter was arrested for standing in the middle of Solomon’s Colonnade in Jerusalem and shouting the truth (Acts 3). Jeremiah, Paul, Stephen, Peter, and countless more before and after, risked their lives to tell the truth. In today’s reading, we see a few leaders who stood up and risked everything to hear it. Truth-telling and truth-hearing are two sides of the same coin, and we are called to do both as followers of the Author of Truth.

Post Comments (54)

54 thoughts on "Jeremiah’s Defense"

  1. Bridgette Alvarez says:

    Today’s reading reminds me of the importance of keeping a prayer journal. I can flip back through the pages and remember what God has brought me through and how He is able to bring me through my current and future circumstances. Jeremiah, and ultimately the people, were saved because God brought back to the princes’ memory Micah and and how God keeps His promises to carry out what He says He will do and also how being obedient to Him brings good results.

  2. Olivia Walker says:

    Agreed with what others have said. Times like these make me so thankful for this community. Not being able to meet with my church in person makes me realize how much I miss that gathering. Its who I want to be surrounded by now the most right now. This whole situation brings to light where our heart is. Who we cling to in this unknown territory. I’m so thankful we have a solid foundation to stand on. On this solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

  3. Ashley P. says:

    Today’s reading really convicted me and challenged me to be a truth teller even when there is risk involved. I’m realizing that even when I have the truth in my mind and heart, I hold back from speaking it if I feel like it will disappoint someone, or upset them, or if there’s any kind of risk involved. This even happened to me the other day when I ran into someone I haven’t seen in a long time and he asked if I recognized him—I said yes because at first I thought maybe I knew who he was and I didn’t want to look foolish, but then it became clear that I didn’t really remember him…but I felt like I was in too deep to admit it at that point. So I continued to have a conversation with him all the while hoping I would remember who he was, but I didn’t until later after I had left. And then I remembered that he had been my best friend growing up, but I haven’t seen him in at least 12 years. If I had just admitted I didn’t know who he was and he would’ve told me, I would’ve been able to have such of a more genuine conversation with him. I missed out on getting to truly connect with him because of my fear.
    That’s a small example, but I’m realizing it’s just one more way that I tend to hold back speaking the truth out of fear. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I want to change. I want to be more like Jeremiah and Stephen, who boldly spoke the truth even when there were very real and apparent possible consequences. Lord, give me boldness and strength. Give me courage. May I speak what you would like me to speak and stop holding back out of fear and insecurity.

    1. Elizabrth Carlock says:

      I echo your statements about fear. May the Lord use us both.

  4. forgetmenotgard says:

    It was not only men in biblical times who risked everything to do what God required of them but also women who exceeded expectations. If not for women like Abigail, Joanna, Rahab, we as Christ-following women would not have godly, courageous women to look up to.

  5. NanaK says:

    Angie: thank you for bringing that song to mind. It will be a sweet reminder all day…”Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”

  6. Monie Mag says:

    I feel undone by Friday’s and today’s reading. The people would drink the cup of Gods wrath for their sin. Jesus in John 18:11 said “The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it”? I am so thankful for the obedience of Jesus, that he obeyed and took on the wrath for the sins of the world. For each of us. I feel shameful for how short I fall from being obedient. How quickly our Heavenly Father forgives when we turn to him and away from sin. How He longs to bless us. Praying for people to hear truth and believe the one true God.

  7. Candy B says:

    “So now, correct your ways and deeds, and obey the LORD your God so that he might relent concerning the disaster he had pronounced against you.” Jeremiah 26:13
    Through this study, God is continually showing me his desire for relationship with us. I am in awe at the number of times our reading for the day has related to the events of right now. It gives me such a peace and comfort to know that HE is the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  8. Maura says:

    Lord, may I be obedient to you in word and action. Thank you for Jeremiah’s example. May your name Jesus be lifted high in our lives. Blessed Assurance Angie. Such a beautiful song. Our God loves us so much that He sent His Son, even though He knew His Son would be killed and in fact would be our Redeemer because Jesus was willing to die for us. Such a sacrifice for Us, even tho He knew we would still go astray. What Love is this? How can we fathom such grace? So blessed to be His. Hugs Ladies we are in His hands the best place to be. Our faith looks toward the Faithful One, time to tell of His love in a world full of fear. So many needing Blessed Assurance and Redeeming Grace. Lord give us the Word we need when we need it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *