A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
Gods messengers can expect persecution
Jeremiah 26 SCC 2/26/17
Though Jeremiah did record some opposition to his message (11:18-23; 15:10; 20:1-6), it was not his main point in chapters 1–25. The focus in those chapters was on God’s coming judgment if the people refused to repent. But in chapters 26–29, Jeremiah zeroed in on the people’s response to his message. Both he and his message were rejected by the leaders and the people.
REPRESENT EVERY WORD OF GOD BEFORE PEOPLE TO HEAR, RECEIVE AND OBEY
Verse 1-3: This message was delivered in the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah v 1. Since Jehoiakim ascended to the throne in 609 B.C., the date for this event is probably 609-608 (about 20 years before the final deportation to Babylon). Little more than three months had seen King Josiah killed in battle, his successor deported to Egypt, and this third king, a man of no scruples, imposed on the country. Stand in the court of the Lord’s house and speak, here he focused on the response to the message. God told Jeremiah to speak to all who have come to worship in the Lord’s house. And he was to speak all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word v 2!
Application: Notice God’s emphasis on every single word. See Revelation 22:18-19; Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; and 1 Corinthians 4:6. Inspiration means God safeguarded the very words themselves so they accurately expressed His revelation to us without error. Only the Bible is trustworthy in every statement it makes. If the words aren’t correct then the meaning isn’t either. Every word is inspired.
God’s message was for the people to “turn” from their evil way, so that God could turn from the
calamity which I am planning to do to them because of their evil deeds v 3.
Verse 4-6: God said, If ...
If you will not listen to Me to walk in My law which I have set before you, v 4 the written Word of God.
If you will not listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again v 5, the verbal Word of God. Then…
I will make this house (the Temple where Jeremiah was standing and giving this message) like Shiloh (see 7:14 the ruins of the former Tabernacle) v 6.
I will make this city [Jerusalem] a curse to all the nations of the earth. Jerusalem will become a symbol of judgment instead of Gods favor. What a reputation!
Application: Our problem is we are willing to listen to competing voices against Gods Word. Like the garden ‘hath God said’. Questions, skepticism, argument. Unwilling to hear it but willing to change it.
STAYING TRUE TO ALL OF THE WORD OF GOD CAN BE PERSONALLY COSTLY
Verse 7-11: in chapters 7–10, Jeremiah did not record the response of the crowds to his message. Now we read, the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “You must die!” v 7-8. Their charges were that he prophesied in the name of the Lord that the Temple will be like Shiloh and Jerusalem will be desolate, without inhabitant v 9. Nobody wants that, but they do not like the remedy either. Obviously, they believed that such a prophecy could never come from God!
Application: What teaching today is believed that could never be from God? There are a bunch of them for sure. The theologians, pundits, pastors and teachers today say and believe this teaching or that teaching in Bible could never come from God. They peddle in misinformation!
When they heard what was happening, the princes of Judah...came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord. They sat in the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s house v 10 (Deut 21:18- 19; Ruth 4:1-11). The priests and the prophets charged, “A death sentence for this man!” The reason? “For he has prophesied against this city...” v 11.
NB: Sounds a lot like Jesus falsely accused before the Sanhedrin Lk 22:65 and Stephen falsely accused before the Council Acts 6:11-13. You can expect to be opposed by those who claim to be gatekeepers for God but are really charlatans in ministry for themselves and the people they want to please.
Verse 12-15: Jeremiah gave a threefold defense on his own behalf:
(1) The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you heard.
(2) His message was conditional. Amend your ways and... deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord….and the Lord will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you.
(3) Jeremiah warned them that if they put him to death, they would bring innocent blood on yourselves and this city and on its inhabitants. They would be guilty in God’s sight of murdering an innocent man.
Application: Notice three times it is all the words v 2, 8, 12. When the Word of God is your sole authority, it will get you in trouble with anyone who disputes those words from God. They dispute them because they disagree with them are offended by them or unwilling to receive the words. It comes with the territory and you will have to be willing to live with that like Jeremiah.
Verse 16-19: After hearing the case, the officials and all the people sided with Jeremiah against the religious establishment (the priests and the prophets) v 16. They said, “No death sentence for this man! For he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” This verdict was supported by some elders who quoted from Micah 3:12, a similar prophecy to what Jeremiah was saying about the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple given by the prophet Micah about 70 years earlier v 17-18. Yet instead of seeking to put Micah to death, King Hezekiah listened to Micah’s words v 19. Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and the Lord changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? If Judah does not now follow Hezekiah’s example, we are committing a great evil against ourselves.
Application: We are to learn from the examples of others and be examples ourselves. Part of the function of the Bible is to relate examples from which we can learn. For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Rom 15:4). Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps... (1 Peter 2:21). Paul told Timothy, show yourself an example of those who believe (1 Tim 4:12). The elders among us are ...to be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).
Verse 20-23: Although Jeremiah was spared, there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, Uriah v 20. Nothing is known about this man except for his father Shemaiah, that he was from Kiriathjearim, and his message was He prophesied against this city... words similar to all those of Jeremiah. When King Jehoiakim heard his words, he wanted to kill Uriah, who heard about the death threat and escaped to Egypt v 21. But the king sent men to Egypt. The delegation was led by Elnathan son of Achbor v 22. These men brought Uriah back to Jerusalem and the king killed him, and cast his body into the burial place of the common people v 23. So Uriah was killed and dishonored in his burial, yet he became part of God’s great hall of fame...men of whom the world was not worthy (Heb 11:38).
Verse 24: God had promised Jeremiah that ...they will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord (1:19). But the hand of Anikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, so that he was not given into the hands of the people to put him to death. The family of Shaphan played an important part in the final years of Judah. Shaphan was King Josiah’s secretary who reported finding the Law to Josiah (2 Kings 22:3-13). He knew the Law was something the king needed to read and know about. Shaphan had at least four sons, three of whom were mentioned in a positive way by Jeremiah (Ahikam, Gemariah, and Elasah). The fourth son, Jaazaniah, was the “black sheep” of the family, and his presence among the idol-worshippers in the Temple caught Ezekiel by surprise (Ezekiel 8:11).
Application: Here are three generations of a godly family, yet they have one person who is not godly. As a parent, be a godly example, teach the Bible, and pray, but there are no guarantees. On the one hand, you are not responsible for a bad child any more than you can take credit for a good child. Each person makes his or her own choices. On the other hand, both fathers, Shaphan and Achbor, heard the reading of the lost copy of the Law with King Josiah (Jer 36:11-12). Yet Shapan’s family chose to follow God, and all we know of Achbor is that his son was involved in killing one of God’s prophets (Jeremiah 26:22) whereas Shaphan’s son saved one of God’s prophets (26:24). It seems the father’s decision regarding God’s Law is evidently reflected in what their sons did. As a parent, you give your children (and grandchildren) an opportunity to choose God.
1. My college motto was ‘the word of God, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. That’s so true.
2. Marching to the word is counter to prevailing views of society and often the church. A battle ground.