I am Against You
Lord, this day is Yours and I am Yours. I praise You for Your gifts, commands, and grace.
Read JEREMIAH 21:1-14
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.
“Better, though difficult, the Right Way to go, Than Wrong, though easy, where the End is Woe” (John Bunyan).
The forces of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, are at the gates of Jerusalem and the last king of Judah, Zedekiah, is on the throne. These are difficult times for the people of Jerusalem and for Jeremiah personally as he continues to preach an unpopular message. We have seen in the preceding chapters the deep personal anguish that the prophetic call on his life causes him. Despite the anguish, though, Jeremiah continues to speak uncompromisingly of God’s purposes in the history of the nations.
Yet, in a move typical of ancient Hebrew rhetoric, the finality of v. 7 (“no mercy or pity or compassion”) suddenly softens and the people discover that they do have a choice: between “the way of life and the way of death” (8; Deut. 30:19). The “way of life” entails abandoning the besieged city and surrendering to the Babylonian forces. For this message Jeremiah is accused of disloyalty by his compatriots. Throughout his ministry the prophet stays determinedly “on message,” and it is not primarily a political message. Rather, it is about the way of life and the way of death, and discernment of the sovereign will of God. There are times when the path of obedience is a path of dissent within our own cultures. Such obedience is always difficult and usually costly.
Jeremiah is constrained to express God’s disappointment at the breakdown of justice within the kingdom (9), even going so far as to say, “I am against you, Jerusalem” (13). As Western Christians in an increasingly fragile global village, the responsibility to declare our failure to “administer justice” must not be diverted. For we are never excused from the possibility that God looks at aspects of our own countries and says: “I am against you.”
Pray for discernment to recognize and courage to stand against those things that defy God in our culture.
God of heaven and Lord of earth, I pray for the wisdom and the humility to know what is good in my culture and what I must oppose.
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