10 March 2018Jeremiah 11:18-20
“But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying, ‘Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!’” (v. 19)
Psalm: Psalm 36
The work of a prophet was not one that many would choose without being called to it by God. For Jeremiah, it put him the firing line of an entire nation, but much more hurtful was that some of those that plotted against him were those close to him. If we read on to verse 21 we read that it is the people of Anathoth that plot against his life. These are the people Jeremiah grew up with and would have known. More than that they are a priestly people who served God in the temple yet here they plot to destroy God’s messenger. If we continue into chapter 12 the situation becomes even more desperate and in verse 6 we are told that even Jeremiah’s own family are in on the plot.
How does a young man deal with this kind of treachery and betrayal? Those people he thought he could trust and who would support him are the very ones that turn their back on him. He is like a gentle lamb unaware that it is being led to the slaughter by those it trusts. Many would wilt and disappear under this kind of pressure but Jeremiah seeks the help of God in dealing with these threats to his life.
These words remind us that a call to serve the Lord can often lead to opposition from the most unlikely of sources. Jesus finds his most vehement opposition in the Pharisees and priests. Moses clashes most often with the people he was called to lead out of Egypt. For those who give themselves over to a life of ministry and service in the Church can find it is those they serve that can also cause the most hurt.
- How can we find ways to disagree well?
- How can we support those who work and volunteer for our churches?