Today I was reading in Jeremiah 21. The chapter begins with Pashur, a priest in Jerusalem, incarcerating the prophet. One of the most popular means of silencing anyone who insists on speaking the truth of God’s Word is to lock them up, thereby taking them out of circulation. In Jeremiah’s case he was put in prison and on another occasion thrown into a cistern of mud and left to die. In the early chapters of Acts we see Peter jailed for preaching the gospel. Paul wrote many of his epistles from Roman dungeons.
Another way of silencing people is to threaten them or make them look foolish. Jeremiah was put in stocks and humiliated publicly to where he wanted to give up proclaiming the Word of God. But the compulsion to speak truth was like a fire in his bones and he was weary of holding it in. Elijah ran for his life to get away from Ahab and Jezebel, fearing that if they apprehended him they would kill him, thereby ridding themselves once and for all of his message of judgment.
When imprisonment, threats, and ridicule failed, King Zedekiah tried to get Jeremiah to change the message–make it more positive and uplifting. For every true prophet like Elijah, there were 450 false prophets on the payroll ready and willing to scratch sinners where they itched. The problem is that such false feel good-ism is like a sugar pill that tastes sweet but cannot deliver the needed remedy. We must hear the bad news before we can hear the good news. Against the backdrop of the bad news that we are lost sinners the good news of the gospel seems even better.
On this site I deal almost primarily with men–men who have turned a deaf ear to the Lord, often for decades. They have wasted their lives and fallen for devil’s three trump cards of lust, laziness, and lies. They bave burned through jobs, money, churches, marriages, and children. They have traded away their birthright of blessing for a lousy bowl of soup in the form of booze, dope, sex, porno, and bad counsel. These fellows need the hard truth delivered right between the eyes.
Our whole culture, pop–evangelicalism included–does not need to be coddled any longer with the pabulum of positivism. The truth our nation needs to hear right now will not be addressed by either political party because it cuts against the grain of the flesh. The gospel stinks like a rotting corpse to those who know not the Savior. They want it out of the public square and once they have removed it from the schoolhouse (as they have already) they will head for the churchhouse and work their way all the way down to the outhouse.
Perhaps you have noticed over the past few years that the world is attempting to silence Christians. Mostly by making them feel like slack-jawed jerkwater imeciles living back in the unenlightened Dark Ages. The day will come here in America when preachers will be thrown into jail for spreading harassment ant hate from the pulpit. Our president has already stuffed a gag into the mouths of our Christian chaplains in the armed forces, while making every accommodation for Muslims, Hindus, and Druids.
It used to be easy to stand for the truth of the gospel. It seems to be getting a little more difficult every day. May God raise up a few more Isaiahs, Elijahs, and Jeremiahs for the present hour.