Kill the Messenger

Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die.  Why hast thou 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…    …Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears.  Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying The Lord sent me…

Jeremiah 26:8-9, 11-12a

The New Testament tells us that the things in the Old Testament were written for us as “examples” and that they were written “for our learning.”  This is one of those passages from which we can learn something. 

We have all heard the phrase (and, in some cases, have spoken it ourselves) “don’t kill the messenger.”  That is exactly what the Israelites are wanting to do in these verses.  The nation of Israel was horribly backslidden.  They had rejected the Lord, and had refused His numerous offers to return to Him and be restored.  In light of that, God had sent Jeremiah to warn them of their coming destruction.  As such, most of the book of Jeremiah is a pronouncement of judgment. 

When faced with this pronouncement of judgment, instead of repenting and humbly returning to the Lord, the people decided to kill God’s messenger, Jeremiah!  They said “Thou shalt surely die” and “This man is worthy to die.”  Why?  “For he hath prophesied against this city.”  

While we would agree that this is a terrible thing, what lesson can we as Christians gain from it?  I think the lesson is this: what is our attitude toward those whom the Lord uses to bring conviction to our hearts?

 

4 responses to this post.

  1. Thank you, Ben

    When I read your extract “I think the lesson is this: what is our attitude toward those whom the Lord uses to bring conviction to our hearts?”, I also thought of a question … are we willing to carry the message even if it means our death?

    We have missionaries in Japan. I don’t know that anyone has heard from them since the earthquake. The whole thing made me wonder whether I would do what they did (go halfway around the world to share His love).

    What about my neighbour, my colleague, my local grocer? Am I willing to risk ‘social death’ by pronouncing what He said? Yes, His love is there in abundance but there’s also a reward of sorts for those who choose not to repent. Am I willing and equipped to pass the word along?

    Blessings and thanks for making me think (long and hard about why exactly He has me in this place at this time)

    Pondering,
    ann

    Reply

    • That is a very good point that I overlooked in this passage. “Am I willing to risk ‘social death’…” That is a great (and very, very convicting) statement. I would have to confess that, many times, the answer for me has been no. Now you have got me thinking…

      Reply

  2. I agree with Ann-full-of-grace, that last question really stopped me in my tracks. I think it is easier to receive conviction from the Holy Spirit when it doesn’t come from someone else directly. Like say, through His word or a situation. But receiving through others means I need to stay humble. Which I should be always anyway! ha! May I receive all the messages He knows I need to get today! God bless you and keep you always close to His heart!

    Reply

    • I seems to always come back to pride and humility, doesn’t it? If we are truly humble, neither application will give us much trouble. It’s often harder to take correction or reproof from another person because of our pride, and we often don’t tell others about the Saviour because of our pride. I have got to ask the Lord to help me keep my pride in check!

      Reply

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