Summary: Jeremiah is called upon by God to respond to the sin of the Israelites. How would he respond? How would they respond? How would YOU respond?
March 7, 2004 Jeremiah 26:8-15
But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die! Why do you prophesy in the LORD’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the LORD and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD’s house. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!”
Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right. Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”
When Jesse and Janie got married they both decided that they wanted a dog. After a long time of searching, they finally decided on a basset hound - you know - the real sad kind of looking dog from the old Hush Puppy shoe ads. They decided to treat this dog like a royal king. Every morning they’d make him some bacon and steak to eat. They’d give him a walk two times a day, and even take him on a car ride whenever he wanted. The only problem with old Charlie was that he kind of smelled, and the bacon they gave him was known to give him some serious gas problems. As much as they loved Charlie, they didn’t want him sleeping in their bedroom. So they put his little doggy bed outside their room in the hallway. But old Charlie always wanted to sleep in their room. One night, when Jesse was gone, Janie was lonely, so she decided to let Charlie sleep at the end of their bed on the floor. However, when Jesse came back from his trip, Charlie didn’t want to go back to the hall where he belonged. As a matter of fact, he liked it at the end of the bed so much, that he decided one night to jump up and sleep on the end of the bed. Little by little, Charlie ended up sleeping right in between Jesse and Janie. They loved the dog, but this was getting a little bit much. They couldn’t sleep because of the little room they had left on the bed along with the odor the dog was giving throughout the night. As a matter of fact, they were beginning to really despise this dog that they once loved so much. Now they had the uphill battle of them of getting the dog back in the hallway where he was supposed to be in the first place.
This little story of Charlie is really a slice of what happens in peoples’ lives - even Christians’ lives, quite often - more often than we’d like. Only the issue isn’t with pet dogs, but with friends, families, or neighbors. With begging, sympathy, and downright boldness, people like to push buttons. Like Charlie, behavior and boundaries are pushed to the limit. It can happen with a teenage child not coming home on time, or a little child having a temper tantrum. It can happen with a married adult spending too much time at work or taking too much time with other friends. If you don’t say anything, they realize they can carry it a little further. The temper tantrums become worse. The family time becomes less. The drinking becomes worse. For the Jesse’s and Janie’s, the people just staying within their boundaries and wanting a good night’s rest, the stench can eventually become unbearable. Something has to be either said or done. When these things happen, what Jesus said often comes true - “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ”‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ (Mt 10:34-36) Instead of there being love in a household, there is only anger. It’s a battle of light versus darkness, good versus evil.