Jer. 26:7-24; 11:1-12:17
Upon hearing the words of Jeremiah, the priests, prophets and other leaders of Judah were filled with anger because of his message. Instead of accepting the importance of the message, man often wants to “kill the messenger.” They seized him and declared that he should die for speaking against the house of the Lord and of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah, with the assurance that God was with him continued to speak the Lord’s word. His message was that Judah should repent or perish. If they would turn back to God, He would relent from the destruction that the prophet had declared to them. His faith led him to state, “As for me, here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you…for truly the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
Even in the most tense situations, “cooler heads” sometime prevail. Micah had uttered the same words many years earlier to Hezekiah and had not been put to death—neither should Jeremiah. He was spared.
The prophet’s message was simple. It was the word of God. He reviewed Judah’s history from their Egyptian slavery through the ages to Jeremiah and instructed him to relay that message to the people. The chief sins of Judah could be summed up as a refusal to completely rely upon their Lord and their worshipping of idols instead of the one true God. Upon their destruction, they would have reached the point that even though they would cry out to God, He would not hear them. Their idols would continue to be helpless.
It is man’s nature to sometimes question God. One of the most common questions is, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” Jeremiah, along with others in Scripture made that same inquiry amid other laments. God’s reply was discouraging. Things had been difficult, but the worst was yet to come. Even his own relatives would be against him. However, there would be a time when Judah would be restored from Babylonian captivity.