Witnesses important for God’s truth to be toldPublished 11:12pm Monday, March 17, 2014
One of radio commentator Rush Limbaugh’s oft-spoken remarks is that when Geraldo Rivera shows up, you know somebody has died. Since Mr. Rivera does a lot of on-site crisis reporting, Limbaugh calls him “the grim reaper.”
This might have been the reaction the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah got when he showed up in Jerusalem. He wasn’t popular with the leaders in the city.
Whereas Isaiah was known as a “court prophet,” who was welcomed by the king, King Zedekiah actually banned Jeremiah from returning to the palace.
The crux of the matter is that Jeremiah had a message viewed by leaders as unpatriotic.
The Assyrians had destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C. and now the Babylonian lion was on the prowl. Judah was no more than a vassal state to Babylon and forced to pay tribute. When King Zedekiah decided to challenge Babylon, God sent Jeremiah to dissuade him.
The prophet’s message was “submit.” He told the king to kneel before Babylon–God’s chosen object of punishment–and to make amends.
The prophet even used a visual aid when he wore a wooden yoke on his shoulders as a reminder to submit to the rule of Babylon. Jeremiah was challenged by another prophet named Hananiah and derided by the king’s military commander. His crime was speaking the truth.
The full force of Babylon came crashing down on Judah in 586 B.C.
Jerusalem was destroyed and Solomon’s temple razed. The Ark of the Covenant given by Moses was either destroyed or captured. And the last thing King Zedekiah saw was the murder of his sons before he wasblinded, shackled and taken as a slave to Babylon.
God has always had a witness so that humanity would know his truth.
Today we have the completed copy of God’s word and the gift of God’s son. And the Lord yet calls prophets to preach to his people the truth. These witnesses call us to hear the truth and to obey the Lord.
God’s will is that we receive his son in our lives and be saved, and the sooner the better. D. L. Moody used to say he’d rather see a single child converted than “10 gray heads.”
Now, we want “gray heads” to come to Christ, to be sure, but his point is that a child has the entirety of his or her life to make a contribution to God’s kingdom.
And God’s will is that we lead lives of holiness and obedience,willfully and happily serving him every day.
The truth of God’s will may seem hard, but it’s much harder to reject the truth and live our lives in disobedience to God.