Persecuted for truth

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Jeremiah 19:1-21:14; Proverbs 25:9-10

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Jeremiah 20:1-2 “Now Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer, who was chief officer in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. Then Pashhur beat Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the upper Benjamin Gate of the house of the LORD.”

Jeremiah spoke to the people about what he heard from the Lord. For that, he didn’t get any praises for being courageous in speaking the truth; instead he was beaten and locked up so that he could be silenced. Yet, when Jeremiah was released from the prison, the crying prophet did not stay mute. Instead, he prophesied about the destruction of the one who jailed him as well as the bleak destiny of Israel. Jeremiah was persecuted because the words that came from his mouth were not soothing to itching ears. Jeremiah was persecuted because what he prophesied wasn’t the words that the people wanted to hear. How sinful our hearts can be! We know the truth but chose to suppress it by becoming more sinful.

There are some who claimed that they are followers of Jesus Christ but chose to have itching ears. They chose what they want to hear and discard that which do not suit their current lifestyle. They could even persecute those who dare to speak forth the truth; especially truths that make them uncomfortable. Yet, our Lord Jesus is not one who “mince his words” or try to be “politically correct” (a term which has unfortunately crept up in the church). Quite often, He spoke boldly and plainly against the hypocrisies of the religious leaders, spoke about the evil and destructiveness of sin as it is and made very “threatening” statements with regards to discipleship.

Have we in anyways, persecuted anyone for the truth? We might not have put prophets into the prisons; but we might have encaged God’s faithful servants in the jail of our hearts. When someone is used by God to speak forth the truth into our lives; how have we responded? Have we responded in humility? Or have we chose to persecute the messenger in the fear that we have to change? May the Lord help us to confront our inner man and bring to the feet of Christ whatever that holds us back from following Him all the way.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
Let that grace now, like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above!
(3rd stanza of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing)



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