Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20050105.htm
JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part IV: Prophecies Concerning Judah
J. Properly Handling Vicious Reprisals From Colleagues For Doing God's Will
Lesson: If our heeding God exposes the hypocritical sins of colleagues, and if these colleagues do not repent, they will react with sharp, painful persecution to shield their sin. Our response to this difficult state of affairs is not to cease heeding God or to attack the colleagues, but ask God for His intervention.
- The Apostle Paul predicted that all who live godly lives will be persecuted for doing so, 2 Timothy 3:12.
- Well, facing persecution from coarse sinners with whom we have little or no personal ties is much easier than facing persecution from colleagues who know God's truth but who resist our obedience to the Lord.
- Jeremiah faced such opposition, and why and how he faced it well are given for us in Jeremiah 11:1-23:
- Properly Handling Vicious Reprisals >From Colleagues For Doing God's Will, Jeremiah 11:1-23.
- God sent Jeremiah to critique the hypocrisy of Judah's repentance during king Josiah's reform, 11:1-17:
- When king Josiah learned a copy of God's Law had been found in the temple and he read its message that revealed Judah was guilty of breaking the Law, he began a reform in the land, 2 Kings 22-23.
- Thus, Jeremiah's striking allusion to that Law and its curses for breaking it in Jer. 11:1-5, 6-8 reveal his message in verses 1-17 coincides with Josiah's reform, Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1143-1144.
- The message Jeremiah gave then critiqued the HYPOCRISY of Judah's false repentance, 11:9-17:
- God complained of a conspiracy in the land, the spiritual conspiracy that Judah would return to worship idols after having (apparently) turned from them (at Josiah's death?), Ibid., p. 1144; 11:9f.
- Accordingly, God claimed He would bring unavoidable calamity on the nation, Jer. 11:11-12, 13.
- In fact, Jeremiah was told by God not to intercede for Judah due to such wickedness, Jer. 11:14-17.
- However, Jeremiah's priestly colleagues who should have known better reacted to Jeremiah's message by planning to kill him to stop him from proclaiming it, Jeremiah 11:18-19:
- God revealed the men of his home town of Anathoth (11:21; 1:1) that was allocated to the priests and so was composed of priestly families (Jos. 21:15-19) planned to kill Jeremiah for his words, 11:18-19.
- However, as these colleagues who were priests were supposed to be experts in the Law; they should have known how true was Jeremiah's words that they must obey the Law for blessing, 11:1-5 with 2:8.
- What had led to their wicked opposition to him was that Jeremiah's message critiqued the hypocrisy of those colleagues themselves, a challenge similar to what Christ Himself later faced, cf. John 15:18, 21-23:
- Jeremiah's message in Jeremiah 11 was a critique on Judah's hypocritical repentance toward the Lord when her people were still holding onto idols, cf. Jeremiah 11:9-10, 13.
- Jer. 2:8 shows this hypocrisy was a problem among the religious leaders themselves, so they despised Jeremiah's exposing their sin like those who later hated Jesus for the same reason, John 15:18, 21-23.
- Jeremiah properly responded to this difficult hatred from his colleagues, asking God to take Biblical vengeance in his behalf upon such personally and thus painfully difficult opponents, Jeremiah 11:20:
- The Law commanded God's people to leave vengeance for God to perform, Deuteronomy 32:35.
- Jeremiah thus Biblically asked God to take vengeance in his behalf on his opposing colleagues, 11:20.
- God answered Jeremiah's request, promising suitably to have Jeremiah's foes in Anathoth who had planned to kill him for his God-given ministry of exposing their hypocrisy, Jeremiah 11:21-23:
- God noted the sin of his colleagues was comprised of their words to kill Jeremiah for his words, 11:21.
- Appropriately, God planned the vengeance to match the sin: as Jeremiah's colleagues had verbally threatened Jeremiah not to prophecy the Jeremiah 11 message or they would kill him, God verbally threatened to have the people of Anathoth killed in the Babylonian invasion, Jeremiah 11:22-23.
Application: (1) No matter how upsetting it may be, we must not change our ways if a colleague reacts to our obeying God by persecuting us; our obedience to God critiques his life, and he refuses to repent, so he naturally tries to shield his sin by making life difficult for us. (2) Rather, we should CONTINUE heeding God and COMMIT such a persecution issue to God for HIM to handle FOR us!