Most people place a high value on success. We judge ourselves and others by the things we have achieved, the house we live in, or the clothes we wear. If we’ve done well, we feel our lives should reflect our success. But the fact is that God defines “success” differently than we do. Jeremiah is a case in point: No one worried about the judgments proclaimed in his prophecies. No one repented in response to his faithful messages. He sparked no lasting revival. His enemies openly mocked him, plotted to assassinate him, threw him in prison, and tried to destroy his writings. Yet because Jeremiah was obedient, God considered him a success.
Today’s incident from 609 B.C. begins with a message we know well at this point in the study: The people can repent of their sin, or they can face God’s judgment (vv. 1–6). What does “like Shiloh” mean (vv. 6, 9)? Shiloh was the home of the tabernacle from the time of Joshua to the days of Samuel. In response to Israel’s sinfulness, God allowed Shiloh to be destroyed by the Philistines (1 Sam. 4; Ps. 78:59–61).
Since Jeremiah preached this message in the courtyard of the Temple, he’d walked right into the mouth of the lion! Angered, the priests and false prophets arrested him (vv. 7–9). A legal hearing followed (vv. 10–16). Jeremiah’s enemies accused him of prophesying against the Temple and demanded the death penalty. They’d confused a building with God. Jeremiah’s defense was that the Lord had sent him to speak the truth. He boldly repeated the message and called everyone to repent! The fickle crowd switched sides and he, as a genuine prophet under God’s protection, was found innocent.
>> As Christians, we should not be surprised when we face persecution (1 Peter 4:12–16). Today, pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are enduring suffering.
Lord, we ask for your mercy upon the persecuted church around the world. Sustain their faith and bless their faithfulness. Give them joy and hope, if not for this world, then for the world to come.