When the Lord speaks, there will be confirmation.
In Jeremiah 26, Jeremiah was almost put to death for speaking the truth, which are words that came directly from the Lord. The priests were unhappy because Jeremiah prophesied disaster on Judah and to this, the priests as the spiritual caretakers of the city, may have been rattled because in all likelihood they have never dared preach anything close to “destruction”.
Jeremiah 26 (New International Version)
4 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen to me and follow my law, which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh and this city a curse among all the nations of the earth.’”
7 The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. 8 But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, “You must die! 9 Why do you prophesy in the Lord’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?” And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.
11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, “This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!”
The words of the Lord, as prophesied by Jeremiah, was however confirmed by some elders that similar prophecies have been uttered long before. This was during the time of King Hezekiah of Judah when Micah of Moresheth said Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble and Zion will be like a plowed field. But was Micah put to death?
17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, 18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“‘Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.’
19 “Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah fear the Lord and seek his favor? And did not the Lord relent, so that he did not bring the disaster he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster on ourselves!”
Micah, in speaking the truth of the Lord, was able to compel King Hezekiah to fear the Lord and change his ways. This change of posture by King Hezekiah averted the disaster that was already pronounced by the Lord and saved the entire city. From here we can see that when one finally repents and sets out to follow God again, it is strong enough a reason that may find God halting the disaster from coming.
3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.
13 Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you.
Jeremiah’s honest relay of God’s words were also confirmed by yet another from a time before him by someone known as Uriah son of Semaiah from Kiriath Jearim. In the same way, Uriah prophesied disaster upon the city but unlike Micah, his fate ended tragically when he was put to death after escaping to Egypt only to be dragged back by King Jehoiakim.
20 (Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his officers and officials heard his words, the king was determined to put him to death. But Uriah heard of it and fled in fear to Egypt. 22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Akbor to Egypt, along with some other men. 23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)
It is important for us to note that when God speaks, and when we listen and try to obey, we may find ourselves crossing swords with others. What’s more interesting is that just as Jeremiah and Uriah have experienced, the seemingly more learned people who come to know of it will come to stop us, some even attempt to convince us otherwise about God’s message. But how are we to know that the Lord has truly spoken to us and that it is real and true? Jeremiah 26 gives us some clue.
Whenever the Lord speaks to us, we must remember that like how it has been written in Jeremiah 26, the same words may have been spoken by someone else to another set of audience and at a totally different time and place. The message may not come to us as clear and obvious in the beginning but it will nevertheless reach us at the right time. It may come in the nick of time to probably save our skin just like Jeremiah’s personal encounter when his life was spared in the end.
24 Furthermore, Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
We must not forget this because when the Lord speaks to us about something, we tend to want to race forward with that thought alone thinking we’re the only one who have heard of the message. But from the teachings of the church and some good bible examples, we see that in the most extreme situations, even prophets like Jeremiah had confirmation from others to justify to those who were persecuting him.
The lesson for us is not to proclaim immediately what the Lord has spoken to us but to always seek confirmation from the elders and the more experienced as to what we heard and thought to be from the Lord is right and true. Because the very example in Jeremiah 26 has displayed to us about the merit of having such confirmations.
So in this season of Covid-19 when people around the world are being floored by the virus, it is more important for us to huddle together to hear God’s word. Let it come to our hearts when we pray and let it also come to the priests and pastors when they prophesy. This way, we shall know we’re not the only one who have heard from the Lord but also be convinced with examples of a similar message heard by these “higher authorities” who have been ordained to be in the appointed places to lead us and guide us spiritually, bounded always by the word of the Lord.
I pray that you will hear from the Lord and also receive confirmation for the message you have heard. May it your heart be convinced too that the Lord is truly our real and one true God. Pray that He will lead you and guide you with His words so you’ll be safe from disasters even in the technology driven modern days like now. Pray that you will be protected from Covid-19 and that your family is also protected by His holy spirit, in Jesus name, Amen!