May 24, 2009 – May 30, 2009
“Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.” Jeremiah 26:12.
Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 430–437; Testimonies, vol. 4, 176–181.
“God will send reproof and warning to His people as long as they continue upon earth.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 180.
1 How did the priests, false prophets, and people react to Jeremiah’s message? Jeremiah 26:7, 8. Who else heard about the prophet’s declaration? Jeremiah 26:10–12.
Note: “When the priests and the people heard the message that Jeremiah delivered to them in the name of the Lord, they were very angry and declared that he should die. … Thus was the message of God despised and the servant with whom He entrusted it threatened with death. The priests, the unfaithful prophets, and all the people turned in wrath upon him who would not speak to them smooth things and prophesy deceit.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 167.
2 What positive appeal did Jeremiah make, and why was he not intimidated by those in authority? Jeremiah 26:13–16.
Note: “Had the prophet been intimidated by the threatening attitude of those high in authority, his message would have been without effect, and he would have lost his life; but the courage with which he delivered the solemn warning commanded the respect of the people and turned the princes of Israel in his favor. They reasoned with the priests and false prophets, showing them how unwise would be the extreme measures they advocated, and their words produced a reaction in the minds of the people. Thus God raised up defenders for His servant.” Prophets and Kings, 418.
3 What should we learn from Jeremiah’s attitude? II Timothy 1:7.
Note: “The unfaltering servants of God have usually suffered the bitterest persecution from false teachers of religion. But the true prophets will ever prefer reproach, and even death, rather than unfaithfulness to God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 167.
“God’s chosen servants should meet with courage and patience the trials and sufferings that befall them through reproach, neglect, and misrepresentation. They should continue to discharge faithfully the work God has given them to do, ever remembering that the prophets of old and the Saviour of mankind and His apostles also endured abuse and persecution for the Word’s sake.” Prophets and Kings, 437.
4 What should we always remember as we take a firm stand for the Lord? II Timothy 3:12.
Note: “God cannot use men who, in time of peril, when the strength, courage, and influence of all are needed, are afraid to take a firm stand for the right.” Prophets and Kings, 142.
“Those who stand in defense of the honor of God and maintain the purity of truth at any cost will have manifold trials, as did our Saviour in the wilderness of temptation. While those who have yielding temperaments, who have not courage to condemn wrong, but keep silent when their influence is needed to stand in defense of the right against any pressure, may avoid many heartaches and escape many perplexities, they will also lose a very rich reward, if not their own souls. Those who are in harmony with God, and who through faith in Him receive strength to resist wrong and stand in defense of the right, will always have severe conflicts and will frequently have to stand almost alone. But precious victories will be theirs while they make God their dependence.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 302, 303.
5 Who else agreed with the princes against the decision of the priests? Jeremiah 26:17–19.
Note: “The elders also united in protesting against the decision of the priests regarding the fate of Jeremiah. They cited the case of Micah, who had prophesied judgments upon Jerusalem. … Through the pleading of these men of influence the prophet’s life was spared, although many of the priests and false prophets, unable to endure the condemning truths he uttered, would gladly have seen him put to death on the plea of sedition.” Prophets and Kings, 418, 419.
6 What assurance did Jeremiah have from the Lord? Jeremiah 6:27. Wherein lay the secret of Jeremiah’s courage and the strength of his life? Jeremiah 20:11.
Note: “The children of God are wise when they trust in that wisdom alone which comes from above, and when they have no strength but that which is from God. Separation from the friendship and spirit of the world is needful for us if we would be united to the Lord and abide in Him. Our strength and our prosperity consist in our being connected with the Lord, chosen and accepted of Him.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 689.
7 Because the people of Judah did not hear the Lord’s messages, what sentence of doom was pronounced? Jeremiah 25:8–11. To impress those in leading positions of the coming calamities, what was the prophet instructed to do? Jeremiah 19:1, 10, 11, 15.
Note: “Although the sentence of doom had been clearly pronounced, its awful import could scarcely be understood by the multitudes who heard. That deeper impressions might be made, the Lord sought to illustrate the meaning of the words spoken. He bade Jeremiah liken the fate of the nation to the draining of a cup filled with the wine of divine wrath. Among the first to drink of this cup of woe was to be ‘Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof.’ Others were to partake of the same cup—‘Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people,’ and many other nations of earth—until God’s purpose should have been fulfilled. [Jeremiah 25:18, 19.]” Prophets and Kings, 431.
8 At this time of impending doom, what was Jehoiakim doing? Jeremiah 22:13, 14. What was Jeremiah directed to do, and what was the reaction of the king? Jeremiah 36:1–6, 20–23.
Note: “This message was a reproof of the many sins of Israel and a warning of the consequences that would follow a continuance of their evil course. It was an earnest appeal for them to renounce their sins. …
“When the king was told by the princes of what Baruch had read, he immediately ordered the roll brought and read to him. But instead of heeding its warnings and trembling at the danger that hung over himself and his people, in a frenzy of rage he flung it into the fire, notwithstanding certain ones who were high in his confidence had begged him not to burn it.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 177.
“When man has sinned against a holy and merciful God, he can pursue no course so noble as to repent sincerely and confess his errors in tears and bitterness of soul. This God requires of him; He accepts nothing less than a broken heart and a contrite spirit. But King Jehoiakim and his lords, in their arrogance and pride, refused the invitation of God. They would not heed the warning, and repent. The gracious opportunity proffered them at the time of the burning of the sacred roll, was their last. God had declared that if at that time they refused to hear His voice, He would inflict upon them fearful retribution. They did refuse to hear, and He pronounced His final judgments upon Judah, and He would visit with special wrath the man who had proudly lifted himself up against the Almighty.” Prophets and Kings, 435, 436.
9 How did the Lord protect His faithful prophet and strengthen him to persevere? Jeremiah 36:26–29.
Note: “The wrath of man had sought to prevent the labors of the prophet of God; but the very means by which Jehoiakim had endeavored to limit the influence of the servant of Jehovah, gave further opportunity for making plain the divine requirements.” Prophets and Kings, 437.
10 What should we realize today from this experience? Ecclesiastes 1:9.
Note: “Many now despise the faithful reproof given of God in testimony. I have been shown that some in these days have even gone so far as to burn the written words of rebuke and warning, as did the wicked king of Israel. But opposition to God’s threatenings will not hinder their execution. To defy the words of the Lord, spoken through His chosen instruments, will only provoke His anger and eventually bring certain ruin upon the offender. Indignation often kindles in the heart of the sinner against the agent whom God chooses to deliver His reproofs. It has ever been thus, and the same spirit exists today that persecuted and imprisoned Jeremiah for obeying the word of the Lord.
“While men will not heed repeated warnings, they are pleased with false teachers who flatter their vanity and strengthen their iniquity, but who will fail to help them in the day of trouble. God’s chosen servants should meet with courage and patience whatever trials and sufferings befall them through reproach, neglect, or misrepresentations because they faithfully discharge the duty that God has given them to do.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 180.
“Those who valiantly take their position on the right side, who encourage submission to God’s revealed will and strengthen others in their efforts to put away their wrong-doings, are the true friends of the Lord, who in love is trying to correct the errors of His people, that He may wash them and, cleansing them from every defilement, fit them for His holy kingdom.” Ibid., vol. 4, 181.
“Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged; and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master-worker.
“Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything. With the golden chain of His matchless love, Christ had bound them to the throne of God. It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the Source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.” Gospel Workers, 39.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58.
“Those who stand in defense of the honor of God, and maintain the purity of truth at any cost, will have manifold trials, as did our Saviour in the wilderness of temptation. The yielding temperaments, who have not courage to condemn wrong, but keep silent when their influence is needed to stand in the defense of right against any pressure, may avoid many heartaches and escape many perplexities, and lose a very rich reward, if not their own souls.
“Those who in harmony with God, and through faith in Him, receive strength to resist wrong, and stand in defense of the right, will always have severe conflicts and will frequently have to stand almost alone. But precious victories will be theirs while they make God their dependence. His grace will be their strength. Their moral sense will be keen, clear, and sensitive. Their moral powers will be equal to withstand wrong influences. Their integrity, like that of Moses, of the purest character.
“It will require moral courage to do God’s work unflinchingly. Those who do this can give no place to self-love, to selfish considerations, ambition, love of ease, or desire to shun the cross. … Shall we obey His voice, or shall we listen to the soothing voice of the evil one, and be rocked to a fatal slumber just on the eve of eternal realities?
“Our Saviour longs to save the young. … He is waiting to place upon their heads the crown of life and hear their happy voices join in ascribing honor and glory and majesty to God and the Lamb in the song of victory that shall echo and re-echo throughout the courts of heaven.” My Life Today, 320.
“The very contempt that is shown to the law of God is sufficient reason why His commandment-keeping people should come to the front and show their esteem and reverence for His downtrodden law.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 136.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.