The king said to Jeremiah, ‘I am going to ask you something; don’t hide anything from me.’ Jeremiah replied to Zedekiah, ‘If I tell you, you will kill me, won’t you?’ – Jeremiah 38:14b-15a

We don’t often stop and think about what it took to be an Old Testament prophet.  Often these messengers were tasked with delivering God’s pending judgments in the midst of trying circumstances, and rarely did they receive a friendly reception.  The words they were to speak were not always what the people wanted to hear, and it took a special kind of boldness to do what they had to do.

Take Jeremiah for instance.  He is not referred to as the weeping prophet for nothing.  His tenure as God’s prophet was not what one would call a “cushy” job.  Nevertheless, Jeremiah did not fail to proclaim God’s messages to His people.  Even when others contradicted his messages of coming judgment and wrath with messages of peace and prosperity, Jeremiah did not waver.  He told the truth though others called him a liar for it.

In the midst of a siege and with little to no bread available to eat, God told Jeremiah to tell the people that the city they lived in was about to be destroyed, and their only hope was to surrender to the army that was currently at their gates.  Of course this wasn’t a popular message and he was eventually accused of bringing down the morale of all the soldiers fighting to maintain the city.  This accusation led him to be thrown into a deep pit filled with oozing, sucking mud.  He was to be left there to sink into the mud, starve, and die.  If not for the daring intervention of another official that is exactly what would have happened. 

After having been rescued from such a horrible fate, it might have been tempting to give up on telling the truth.  Jeremiah might have said, “I’m done with this. I’ll just tell them what they want to hear from now on.”  Or he could have said, “Throw me in a mud pit to starve and die?  Fine, I’ll keep my mouth shut and just let God destroy every last one of you.  You don’t deserve to live.”  And if he had done either of these things we might have said, “Jeremiah, you are right.  You need to look out for yourself, and they should have to pay for what they did to you.”  Yet, surprisingly, this is not what Jeremiah did at all.

 

Shortly after the pit incident the king secretly summoned Jeremiah to him and asked him to be honest and tell him what God had said.  Jeremiah told him, “If I tell you the truth, you’ll have me killed, and you won’t listen to my advice anyway.”  But the king insisted he would do nothing of the sort.  Jeremiah, having no reason to trust the king, and having every reason to tell him a lie, told the king the truth.  He delivered the same message that had got him thrown into a deadly mud pit, even though he believed that it would lead to a similar fate. Ultimately, even though the king did not heed Jeremiah’s warning, Jeremiah’s life was indeed spared.

 

What would lead someone to behave in such a bold manner?  Jeremiah makes this statement about the message God had given him, “His message becomes a fire in my heart, shut up in my bones.  I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail” (Jer. 20:9), and then he says, “But the Lord is with me like a violent warrior” (Jer. 20:11).  Jeremiah loved and trusted God more than anyone else, and his boldness came from an overpowering need to be obedient to the One he trusted.  That’s why he did not flinch from telling the truth even when it was dangerous.

 

What about you and me? Are we willing to worship God with this kind of boldness?  Is the message of His Gospel like a fire in our bones that we simply cannot contain? Do we love and trust Him so much that no matter what He might ask of us, we will move forward in obedience?  Even if it means singing when we want to be silent, speaking out when we are afraid of rejection, or telling the uncomfortable truth that no one wants to hear, when the time comes will we be bold, or will the threat of our own mental mud pits keep us quiet and afraid?

NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Our Youth will be leading us in worship on Sunday morning, May 7th.  Pray for our students as they step up in boldness and serve.

  • We will have our annual Luau Sunday on May 21st.  Make sure and wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt and lei, and join us afterwards for a BBQ feast and fun inflatables on the lawn. 

  • Kid’s Praise continues to meet every Wednesday evening at 6:15 in the Element Kids room and we would love to have your child join us in singing, dancing, and praising God.

  • Remember, Wednesday May 3rd, 17th, and 31st will be the dates for our music lab sessions in the worship center at 6:30pm.  If you, or someone you know, would like to learn and/or practice an instrument this is a great opportunity to do so.  See Jonathan or Gary Addison for more details.

Thank you all for a wonderful spring here at ROS.  I’m looking forward to all that God has in store for us in this new season, and count it a privilege to serve alongside each of you.

In His Service,

Jonathan Hendrickson

Assoc./Worship Pastor

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4109 Guess Road
Durham, NC 27712

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