Faithfulness and Success
Wonderful and loving God, I praise You, I worship You, I thank You, I wait for Your Word to me.
Read JEREMIAH 26:1-24
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“God’s agenda for our lives may be different from our own. He cares more about our character than our convenience, comfort, or cash” (Joseph Stowell).
Yesterday we noted the hand of God in the affairs of nations. Discerning that hand at work, though, is easier said than done. Sooner or later, therefore, the prophet comes into focus as part of the message. In a flashback to an earlier time in Jeremiah’s ministry, this chapter brings a change in pace from the unrelenting oracles to a moment with the man who finds the energy to keep delivering them. Several things stand out about him. First, he is obedient to God even if that leads to challenging the heart of the establishment in “the courtyard of the Lord’s house” (2).
Second, Jeremiah stays “on message.” It is so easy to become distracted by our own circumstances and interests and our desire to please or get ahead. Any preacher is aware of all the little cross-currents that so easily dilute a message. When Jeremiah inevitably comes to the attention of the officials whom his message insults, he takes his stand in his confidence in the justice and truth of God (15). When a leader is able to maintain purity of motive, this in turn enables him or her to hand the results of ministry over to God. It is ultimately God’s work, not Jeremiah’s.
Third, personal integrity and faithfulness turned out to be Jeremiah’s best defense. The “secular” officials could see the transparency of God’s message embodied in the prophet, even if their religious leaders could not (16). Some of the old-timers then noted from history the folly of rejecting a message because it is unpopular or unpleasant (18,19). At the same time, either the narrator or the elders themselves remember from the experience of the obscure Uriah (20-23) that faithfulness does not guarantee success. Yet faithfulness is still what God asks of Jeremiah and of us.
Pray for and encourage somebody you know whose faithfulness seems to be leading him or her into trouble. Pray to stay faithful yourself.
Lord, I know You’re working to form me more fully in Your likeness. Form peace from my frustration, courage from my struggles, and love from my relationships.
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