|A rock cliff in Montana|
The reader misses in the seven missing verses the confrontation between a frightened, vacillating king and his more conscientious, devout subjects. They remind King Jehoiakim that Jeremiah’s prophecies of doom are neither untraditional nor unfamiliar. In fact they’ve heard the same sorry predictions from the prophets Micah and Uriah, and the good King Hezekiah let them live. (We could add the name of Isaiah.) But Jehoiakim was not mollified. He arrested and executed the fugitive Uriah. He would have done the same to Jeremiah but Ahikam protected him.
Someone has said, “Politics is life.” And, to embrace life in all its beauty, we must be willing to live in this political world where everyone has needs, fears, expectations, opinions; and many have power. The creation of the Bible itself was more like making sausage than most weekday morning Bible groups.
The young man Jeremiah, idealist, iconoclast, poet and misunderstood prophet, felt deeply the disappointment of politics. He believed with all his heart that he spoke only the word of God, and many people respected him for it. The office of prophet, like today’s ministry, was recognized and honored by many people. But they didn’t necessarily follow his advice.
The word of God confronted the city of Jerusalem as it confronts us today. It comes from many voices with varying opinions and degrees of authority. Some will claim infallible authority, only to find that claim carries little weight. The right choice is rarely so obvious, and we must always pray to God for an obedient spirit, clarity, courage and confidence.
And even when you make the right choice after careful discernment, and with the assurance of moral and spiritual authority, it may be a hundred years before anyone agrees with you.