In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from Yahweh: “Yahweh says: ‘Stand in the court of Yahweh’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in Yahweh’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Don’t omit a word. It may be they will listen, and every man turn from his evil way; that I may relent from the evil which I intend to do to them because of the evil of their doings.’ You shall tell them, “Yahweh says: ‘If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, to listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I send to you, even rising up early and sending them, but you have not listened; then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.” ’ ”
The priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in Yahweh’s house. When Jeremiah had finished speaking all that Yahweh had commanded him to speak to all the people, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You shall surely die! Why have you prophesied in Yahweh’s name, saying, ‘This house will be like Shiloh, and this city will be desolate, without inhabitant?’ ” All the people were crowded around Jeremiah in Yahweh’s house.
It’s pretty clear that Jesus thought quite a bit about passages of the Bible like this one. He even said to beware when all men think well of you because they did that to the false prophets. Jesus made it clear that real prophets get in trouble, and we get a great illustration of that right here.
Here we read that God made it very clear to Jeremiah that he was to go into the temple area and speak exactly what he was told to speak by God. It is very obvious that Jeremiah didn’t have a choice here other than to go against God and not do what He said. He was between a rock and a hard place. God puts us in these positions sometimes. I believe He’s trying to get us to see who is really worthy of being feared. Should our society be what scares us or should disobeying God scare us? Thankfully, Jeremiah demonstrated the appropriate action here. God is the one to fear and that’s the One Jeremiah chose, but God also allowed the people to retaliate against him.
This is a hard one for me too. Why would God tell us to do something knowing that we are going to get in trouble? I’m pretty sure that many who hear what I’m saying have an answer because many of you have gone through trouble for your obedience to God. It’s amazing how many people look back and thank God for bringing them through it. Still, I don’t believe it’s something that we choose to have happen to ourselves.
Another thing that strikes me here is the severely irrational behavior of the people. They all decided to kill Jeremiah for saying: “This house will be like Shiloh…” but that’s not what He said! He said that if they refuse to repent, that these things would happen. By attacking Jeremiah, they act as if it is impossible for them to repent and save the temple from destruction! Their behavior demonstrates their dedication to sin and that’s all it does. To add to their sins, they decided to attack God’s messenger. God said here that all He was trying to do was to warn the people so that they would repent and He could stop His plan to destroy them, but instead of repenting, they added a few nails to their coffins.
This is the state of mankind. By nature, we are irrationally and hopelessly dedicated to our sin. We attack the messengers when God attempts to save us. It is only through the intervention of God by His grace that we ever have a chance to see the light. Thank God He chose to break through to us and cause us to reverse our path because we would have surely killed all His messengers and died without God.