Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Lk. 9:24).
Our life is very dear and precious to all of us. Yes, the one life which God has gifted is very precious. But is the One who is the giver of our life more precious to us than our life? This crucial and challenging question is for all of us, including me. Are we really ready to lose/give up our life for Jesus and for His Word?
I am amazed to see the boldness in the life of God’s prophet Jeremiah towards delivering God’s message / Word to His people, whether it is blessing or curse. I just want to mention a few serious incidents from the book of Jeremiah, where Jeremiah was not afraid to deliver, what God had commanded him to do.
- In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, God commanded Jeremiah: “Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. DO NOT DIMINISH A WORD.” So Jeremiah spoke as per the Lord had commanded him that, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, to heed the words of My servants the prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending them (but you have not heeded), then I will make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.” “When Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people seized him, saying, “YOU WILL SURELY DIE! Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without an inhabitant’?” And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.But look at the response of Jeremiah in regard of his death, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city with all the words that you have heard. Now therefore, amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord your God; then the Lord will relent concerning the doom that He has pronounced against you. As for me, here I am, in your hand; do with me as seems good and proper to you….” He did not desire to save his life; he was willing to die for the sake of God’s Word (Jer. 26).
- In another incident, Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, by Zedekiah king of Judah because he had prophesied against the city. Still in prison, God asked him to take a scroll and write all the Words against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations. God’s very purpose, to save the city, was the reason He told to Jeremiah that, “it may be that the house of Judah will hear all the adversities which I purpose to bring upon them, that everyone may turn from his evil way, that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.”So Jeremiah called Baruch to write on a scroll of a book, at his instruction, all the words of the Lord which He had spoken to him and asked him to go and read in the hearing of the people of all Judah who come from their cities in the Lord’s house on the day of fasting. Baruch did so as per the instruction of Jeremiah. Scroll was read in the house of the Lord and later on in the palace also. But King Jehoiakim burnt the scroll in fire and commanded to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah, but it is written that, ‘THE LORD HID THEM’.
WORD of God is eternal, no one can destroy it. Lord commanded Jeremiah to “Take yet another scroll, and write on it all the former words….” And God brought judgement and doom on King Jehoiakim, his family, and his servants, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the men of Judah (Jer. 36).
- In Jeremiah 37, Jeremiah was in the dungeon and the cells, and remained there for many days, but he did not change the Word of God when Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, “Is there any word from the Lord?” So again Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah to the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread from the bakers’ street, until all the bread in the city was gone. Thus Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.
- In chapter 38, princes of the city heard words of Jeremiah which were discouraging to them, because they said to the king that, “Please, let this man be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.”So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the King’s son, which was in the court of the prison, and they let Jeremiah down with ropes. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire. So, Jeremiah sank in the mire. But Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian went and pleaded to the king and with king’s permission he took Jeremiah out with the help of 30 men and rope..
Jeremiah did not find his life dear to him in comparison to faithfulness of delivering the God’s Word. In the above incidents, we find that many times he was about to die because of the Word; still he spoke whatever God commanded him to speak.
Let alone life, we are not even ready to give up our relations, ambition, career, material things for the Lord when time comes to choose.
Jesus said, “he who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt.10:37)
Jeremiah cried out from his heart and said, O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded;You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.I am in derision daily;everyone mocks me.For when I spoke, I cried out;I shouted, “Violence and plunder!”Because the word of the Lord was made to me a reproach and a derision daily.Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,nor speak anymore in His name.BUT HIS WORD WAS IN MY HEART LIKE A BURNING FIRE, SHUT UP IN MY BONES; I WAS WEARY OF HOLDING IT BACK, AND I COULD NOT….” (Jer.20:9).
Is the Word of God like a burning fire in our hearts, like Jeremiah?
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