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The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost A, June 25, 2023

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The Fourth Sunday after Pentecost A, June 25, 2023

Jeremiah, known as the prophet of doom and gloom, prophesied the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army that had laid siege to it.  His fellow city dwellers weren’t pleased with his prophecies and regularly persecuted him, even to the point of stripping him down to the ancient equivalent of underwear and dropping him into a cistern (cf. Jer. 38:6 & 11).  Jeremiah, though, was not left to his own devices in dealing with these persecutors.  He had the Lord on his side… the Lord as a “dread warrior” (vs. 11).

Jeremiah did not take up the struggle to deal with his persecutors.  He already had a calling:  that of prophet.  He committed his cause to the Lord (vs. 12).  That commitment did not prove to be in vain.  Jeremiah has cause to sing to and praise the Lord.  The Lord did not disappoint; he delivered the needy person’s life… that needy prophet’s life… from the hands of those evildoers (vs. 13).

There are many avenues of persecution that beset you, some conscious and intentional and others not so much.  The conscious and intentional persecution comes from a world that does not want to hear the words you deliver in what could be called your “prophecy.”  Those words become fighting words in the ears of the world… words like the exclusiveness of Jesus Christ as the way, the truth, and the life… words like the forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name.  The other sort of persecution comes from the seemingly mindless and random afflictions of illness, accident, etc.  No matter the persecution, your cause is already committed to the Lord.  He is your “dread warrior.”  He will bring you to sing of and praise him for he will deliver your needy life… deliver it right out of the hands of both evil and evildoers.

Table Talk:  Discuss the words and ways of Christians that put them at odds with the world.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, as I bring my cause to you and commit it to your hand, give me the trust and confidence that you will not disappoint me.  Amen

Jeremiah 20:7-13

7 O Lord, you have deceived me,

and I was deceived;

you are stronger than I,

and you have prevailed.

I have become a laughingstock all the day;

everyone mocks me.

8 For whenever I speak, I cry out,

I shout, Violence and destruction!

For the word of the Lord has become for me

a reproach and derision all day long.

9 If I say, I will not mention him,

or speak any more in his name,

there is in my heart as it were a burning fire

shut up in my bones,

and I am weary with holding it in,

and I cannot.

10 For I hear many whispering.

Terror is on every side!

Denounce him! Let us denounce him!

say all my close friends,

watching for my fall.

Perhaps he will be deceived;

then we can overcome him

and take our revenge on him.

11 But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;

therefore my persecutors will stumble;

they will not overcome me.

They will be greatly shamed,

for they will not succeed.

Their eternal dishonor

will never be forgotten.

12 O Lord of hosts, who tests the righteous,

who sees the heart and the mind,

let me see your vengeance upon them,

for to you have I committed my cause.

13 Sing to the Lord;

praise the Lord!

For he has delivered the life of the needy

from the hand of evildoers.

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