Jeremiah 26:1-2 reads, “In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word.”
In Jeremiah 26:2 the Lord our God instructed His prophet Jeremiah to stand up, speak forth, and diminish not. Jeremiah the prophet was called of the Lord to proclaim the message of God’s own Word unto God’s own people. Involved in the Lord’s call upon him, Jeremiah was specifically forbidden to diminish even a single word from the Lord God’s message unto His people. In like manner, we who possess any God-given responsibility to proclaim the message of God’s Word unto others must not shun to declare unto them “all the counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27) We must not keep back from them anything that would be spiritually profitable to them. (See Acts 20:20) Even so, we must proclaim all the truth of God’s Holy Word; for “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Yet what is involved in declaring all the counsel of God’s Word and in not diminishing a word thereof? Jeremiah 26 provides a four-fold answer.
As we have already noted, the Lord God Himself called Jeremiah to this task. The Lord God Himself instructed Jeremiah to declare all His message unto His people. The Lord God Himself forbade Jeremiah from diminishing a single word of that message. This was a responsibility that was given to Jeremiah directly from the Lord his God, and he stood accountable for that responsibility directly before the Lord his God. Unlike the false prophets (false teachers and preachers) of his day, who spoke a soft message of their own deceitful heart (See Jeremiah 23:16-17, 25-27, 30-32, 36), Jeremiah possessed the God-given responsibility to proclaim God’s own Word, all God’s Word, and nothing but God’s Word. Yea, the Lord instructed him to speak forth “all the words that I command thee to speak unto them,” and to “diminish not a word.” Even so, this remains the God-given responsibility for us today also. Everyone who is called of God to proclaim the message of His Word is also charged of God to proclaim His Word faithfully. Indeed, it is our God-given responsibility to declare all the counsel of His Word and to diminish not a single word thereof. “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
For the spiritual benefit of those who hear us, it is absolutely necessary that we declare all the counsel of God’s Holy Word without diminishing a single word thereof. Even so, in 1 Timothy 4:16 the apostle Paul gave counsel unto Timothy under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, saying, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” Indeed, it is only through the direct, undiminished proclamation of God’s own Word that sinners may be brought to repentance (whether lost sinners unto repentance for eternal salvation, or backslidden believers unto repentance for spiritual revival). In addition, it is only through such repentance under the piercing conviction of God’s Word that will allow sinners to be delivered from the wrath of our Lord God’s fiery judgment. Even so, in Jeremiah 26:2-3 the Lord continued his instruction unto Jeremiah, saying, “Thus saith the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: if so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings.”
However, when we do declare all the counsel of God’s Holy Word and do not diminish a word from it, we must expect to encounter significant, and even severe opposition. In the case of Jeremiah, those who rebelled against his proclamation of God’s Word actually sought for his death. In Jeremiah 26:4-11 the report is given, “And thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, to hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. 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. When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house. 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.”
In fact, a previous prophet of the Lord by the name of Urijah had already been hunted down and put to death for declaring all the counsel of God’s Word. Concerning this Jeremiah 26:20-23 gives the report, “And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the LORD, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah: and when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt; and Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt. And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.”
Indeed, declaring all the counsel of God’s Word without diminishing a word thereof can bring a great threat upon us, even unto the threat of our lives. This ministry is certainly not for those who are of a faint heart. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Rather, we are called unto spiritual fortitude, to be partakers “of the affliction of the gospel according to the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8) Certainly, there will be opposition, even as 2 Timothy 4:3-4 reveals, saying, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Yet we must remain watchful in all things, patiently enduring the afflictions of the ministry and faithfully making full proof of our ministry. (See 2 Timothy 3:5)
Now, if we remain faithful in declaring all the counsel of God’s Word without diminishing a single word thereof, then we can stand with full confidence, even in the very face of the opposition, that we have done right before the Lord our God. Even so, when Jeremiah the prophet was publicly challenged concerning the message that he declared, he stood with confidence in the face of the opposition. In Jeremiah 26:12-15 the report is given, “Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.”
This was Jeremiah’s spiritual confidence – not that he would certainly be delivered, not that he would certainly survive, but that he had faithfully fulfilled the Lord’s call in faithfully declaring all the Lord’s message. Indeed, this also was the apostle Paul’s spiritual confidence – “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” In like manner, this must be our spiritual confidence for our ministry efforts before the Lord our God.
Posted in Meditations in Jeremiah, Word of God, Godly Leadership, Godly Priorities, Spiritual Revival