Stand Up and Be Counted
Lord, I praise You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. May the Spirit give me guidance, strength, and comfort today.
Read Jeremiah 37:1-21
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.
“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me” (John 12:26).
Jeremiah predicted that Jehoiakim would not have any of his descendants on the throne of David (Jer. 36:30). When his son, Jehoiachin, was crowned in his place (2 Kings 24:8), it looked as if Jeremiah had gotten it wrong; and his enemies would no doubt have sought to discredit him as a prophet. Vindication came a mere three months later: Jehoiachin was taken to exile in Babylon while the victorious King Nebuchadnezzar chose his uncle, Zedekiah, to replace him (1). It is not surprising, therefore, that Zedekiah sought out Jeremiah for prayers and solace. This prophet, however, had a habit of telling it like it is! He made it clear that there would be no mitigation of the national disaster, and any respite would be temporary.
Imprisonment and torture were part of a prophet’s occupational hazards, and Jeremiah had more than his fair share of both. An innocent trip to regulate some private business affair led to false accusation and incarceration in solitary confinement in the equivalent of a maximum-security prison. Fortunately, the king agreed that his appeal had merit and lightened his sentence, even though he did not have the moral courage to set free the innocent man of God.
Every country in the world needs a Jeremiah to bring God’s truth to bear on its governance, while eschewing political correctness. That was the role which William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr. played in their times. Mahatma Gandhi was another, even though he was not a Christian–which is a particular challenge to us who are commissioned as agents of the word of truth. While the cost for us may not be as high as it was for Jeremiah, the apostle Paul warns us there is always a price to pay (2 Tim. 3:12).
What areas of our national life today call for prophetic utterances and what should we be doing about them? What role can you play?
Lord, I pray for those taking public stands on national issues. Give them discernment and courage. I pray for hearing ears among national leaders.
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