26 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: 2 “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.4 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse among all the nations of the earth.’”
(Jeremiah 26:1-6 NIV)
Before we begin Chapter 26, let’s take a quick look at the “map” of Jeremiah. We’re looking for the red dot on the map that says “you are here.”
Here is a recap of our journey so far:
- Chapter 1 – God’s call on Jeremiah’s life
- Chapters 2 – 25 – God’s Divine judgment on Judah and Jerusalem
There was obviously a lot of detail in chapters 2 – 25, but you get the “big picture” idea. Chapters 24 – 25 were an object lesson (remember the two baskets of figs?) and a summary of God’s judgment on Judah and all the earth.
Chapter 26 starts the next section that chronicles Jeremiah’s run-ins with the religious officials of his day. Chapters 26 – 29 recount several incidents where Jeremiah is at odds with his fellow prophets but unquestionably standing with the Lord and counting the cost.
The date of today’s text is clearly identified, as Jeremiah rolls us back to the days of King Jehoiakim. This passage is very similar to the account we studied back in 7:1-15. Scholars are unsure if these two passages are referring to the same event, or to two separate events. Regardless of whether these are two separate events or one in the same, the message from the Lord is identical: Judah must turn from its evil ways or suffer the consequences.
What separates this passage from the one in chapter 7 is the response to Jeremiah’s message here in chapter 26. As we will see in subsequent days, the cost of Jeremiah’s calling is high.
The Lord’s message through Jeremiah is clear: The Temple (where Jeremiah was standing and proclaiming God’s message) would be destroyed and desolated like Shiloh if the people did not turn and repent of their evil ways.
For Jeremiah to preach this message while standing in the Temple courtyard was to commit both blasphemy and treason in the eyes of his fellow prophets and countrymen. If you will remember our journey earlier in Jeremiah, the Temple was considered a “safe house”. The belief was that even the Lord would not touch it nor any who were there.
While the Temple was certainly a holy place, the place where God came to be among His people, it was not God’s home, and therefore, was not immune from the Lord using it for His purposes.
May we remember Stephen’s testimony before he was stoned:
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’
(Acts 7:48-50 NIV)
May we remember that the Lord stops at nothing to call His own to Himself, not just individuals, but an entire nation.
May we pray for repentance in the lands where we live, for a turning of the hearts of the people toward the Lord, and away from sin.
And may the revival start with us.