Focal Passages: Jeremiah 37:11-17; 38:4-6, 14-18
Jesus warned his hearers of the treacherous nature of a hireling (John 10:11-13). A hireling never risks his life for the sheep. When he sees the wolf coming he leaves because he doesn’t care about the sheep. To put it in modern terms, he says, “They don’t pay me enough for this!” Conversely, the shepherd will give everything for their deliverance, just as Jesus gave His all for our deliverance from sin. Jeremiah lived in a time of many hirelings.
Instead of protecting the sheep, the shepherds of Israel did whatever seemed best to them. Knowing the truth was best for God’s people, whether they wanted to hear it or not, Jeremiah endured persecution to the point of accusations, beating and imprisonment. Will you stand firm even when it hurts?
It’s one thing to serve God when it hurts, but what do you do when obedience brings the threat of death? What do you do when even the king wimps out and refuses to defend you because your prophetic words are bad for morale? Jeremiah stood for God even when he had to sit in the mud in the bottom of a cistern. Jeremiah remained faithful to God when he did not know what the days ahead would bring. Will you stand firm when others waffle?
While Zedekiah obsessed over the stability of his rule (38:19), Jeremiah cared more about faithfulness to God than his own popularity, comfort or survival.
Like believers of every generation, Jeremiah could have been pulled in several directions. He could have spoken what the people, the king, or the Chaldeans wanted to hear, but he stood on God’s Word. As children we sang “The B-I-B-L-E,” and as adults we need to put it into action by standing alone on the Word of God.
While the song seems to refer to standing only on the Word of God, we also need to commit to standing alone when no one else will stand. Will you stand by faith on God’s Word?