Jeremiah faced similar odds to that of Paul and Abu (see part 2) and was given the opportunity to be brave (for definition, see part 1). Jeremiah was ready to die in order to deliver the true message God had given him and no matter how much the people of Judah threatened to kill him, he was determined to hold to what God had given him to say. To skip ahead a little bit as we go through chapter 26 of the Book of Jeremiah, we see the story of Uriah the prophet (not to be confused with the Uriah of King David’s time):
“(Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king was determined to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Akbor to Egypt, along with some other men. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)Jeremiah 26:20-23
While all who were surrounding Jeremiah knew of or what happened to Uriah or not — the verses do not say — God had sent two prophets to speak against Judah. Uriah, though, was not ready to give over his life. Some of us can’t blame him; when faced with the hopes of escape, some will choose to leave a dire situation. Unfortunately, Uriah ends up losing his life, but what about Jeremiah?
“Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man should not be sentenced to death! He has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.
“Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, ‘Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, “This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“‘Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.’
“Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? And did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!…
“…Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.”Jeremiah 26:16-19 & 24
Jeremiah didn’t care whether he lived another day or died by the hands of the people, as long as he was able to get someone to listen to what God had given him to say so that they would repent and be saved from the things to come. Uriah, on the other hand, focused on living another day instead of going all in. These two stories, when placed side by side as they are, remind me of what Jesus said in both Matthew 10:39 (“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it”) and Matthew 16:25 (“For whoever wants to save their life will lost it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it”). While Jesus was speaking of laying down our old life to receive a new life in Him, Jeremiah and Uriah lived in a time when people didn’t yet have the saving grace of Jesus.
Another man from the book called “I am N” has an amazing testimony that is incredibly inspirational. In the book he is named Hussein and he was once a drug addict ready to kill himself when a friend secretly told him about Jesus. Upon hearing his friend’s testimony, he began to focus on life instead of suicide. A few days later, he accepted his salvation through Christ and eventually began to help smuggle in Bibles to the area he lived in. The authorities found out what he was doing, arrested him, threw him in prison, and beat him during interrogations.
Throughout his transport to the prison, he prayed that the authorities would not find the Bibles in his apartment and destroy them so that no matter what happened to him, someone could still get a Bible and find Christ. He also worried about his fellow church members for two of them had be captured with him. While sitting in an isolated cell with two flood lights constantly on to weaken his mind, he heard out of no where, “Let’s pray together” (p178).
“Hussein believes they were the words of Jesus: ‘I felt like Jesus put everything aside — the whole world aside — to come whisper in my ear. He said to me, ‘There is no need for you to say anything because I am going to tell you what to say. Why are you afraid? At the end you are going to die, right? So why don’t you just serve? Don’t you have faith that when you close your eyes, you will be in my arms?’ ‘” (p179).
Do we have that faith? To live without fear, to be courageous in the missions God gives us to tend to? To be brave and speak the truth of God even when the odds are against us? To be brave in the face of death? Let us be confident that Jesus is with us every step of the way and trust in Him to guide us true, even if it means He is leading us into His arms. And if you don’t know Jesus, please pray to repent of sins, believing God raised Him from the dead, and welcome Him into your heart. He is waiting to have a relationship with you so that you may be comforted no matter what you may face. Be brave!