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We are living in a time when Christians need to stand for what is right and live for what is true, without the fear of man. In Jeremiah 26, the prophet Jeremiah was threatened with death at the hands of his own countrymen simply because he spoke the truth and stood for what was right. Nevertheless, Jeremiah remained faithful to God and stood his ground without regard to what it might cost him personally. God protected him and his life was spared.
But another prophet by the name of Uriah did not fare as well. While Uriah was a good prophet who spoke the truth like Jeremiah, he was fearful and fled to Egypt when people opposed him and threatened his life. In the end, he was killed. There’s a sharp contrast between those who stand for what is right and enjoy God’s protection and those who run in fear and are cut down.
There’s a sharp contrast between those who stand for what is right, and enjoy God’s protection and those who run in fear and are cut down.
The Prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah 26:2 – “This is what the LORD says: Stand in the courtyard of the LORD’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the LORD. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word.”
God knew that Jeremiah might have been tempted to do what even today some pastors are tempted to do, which is yield to the temptation of avoiding saying the tough stuff because they don’t want to offend people. The temptation would be to tame it down, keep the peace and don’t say anything remotely controversial or confrontational because you don’t want to inspire people to be angry with you.
Now, Jeremiah did get people angry. In our flesh we often don’t want confrontation or to get somebody upset. Jeremiah knew a little bit about what this was like. He was mocked, thrown into a cistern, and beaten. When he said things that were tough, people got upset, but he was faithful to say what God had put on his heart no matter how unpopular it was. He didn’t shy away from saying the hard truth.
The religious leaders and other “so-called” prophets, who were his own countrymen, sought to have Jeremiah killed because they were tired of hearing Jeremiah’s message, which was "repent and turn to God before judgment comes!"
Jeremiah was true to God and he always said what God wanted him to say, because he feared God more than he feared men, and God protected him.
The Prophet Uriah
Jeremiah 26:20–23–“Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the LORD; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king sought to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt, along with some other men. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.”
Uriah’s story is a sharp contrast to Jeremiah’s story, and his story is a strong warning to us. Both men were called by God. Both said the same things from God. Both were true to God and said the tough stuff that God directed them to say.
But when confronted... and threatened, one ran, and the other stood his ground. The guy that ran was tracked down and his head was cut off. The guy that stood his ground was saved.
I understand it doesn’t always work out that way. I get that plenty of people in the world have stood their ground for what is right, and they were still slaughtered. But if there’s one thing that stands out to me as to why God inserted this commentary about an unknown prophet right in the middle of this life-threatening situation for Jeremiah, I believe it’s this:
When you know what is right and you have convictions about things that honor God, and when truth burns in your heart like fire- no matter what others may do or what others may say or think, no matter where culture drifts, no matter how unpopular it is or how crazy people think you’ve become or how threatening the opposition gets- stand your ground and don’t run.
Honor God, speak the truth. Stand for what is right!
- Joey Baham