At the beginning of evil King Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah, Jeremiah stood in the court of the Temple and prophesied a stern message to the people of Jerusalem:
“If you will not listen to me, to walk in my law that I have set before you, and to listen to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send to you urgently, though you have not listened, then I will make this house like Shiloh, and I will make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth.” (Jeremiah 26:4-6)
God caused His tabernacle to first be set up in Shiloh during Joshua’s days. It remained there until Eli’s two evil sons decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh into Israel’s army camp in hopes God would help the nation defeat the Philistines. The Philistines then defeated the Israelites and captured the Ark of the Covenant. God’s tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant never returned to Shiloh again.
Shiloh represented a time when God’s glory departed from Israel.
Jeremiah’s words instantly stirred up the prophets and priests of the Temple. They demanded that Jeremiah be killed for his blasphemous words.
Some wiser officials compared Jeremiah’s words to the prophet Micah who prophesied stern words against Jerusalem during King Hezekiah’s reign. Micah’s life was not threatened. Thus, Jeremiah’s life was spared for the same reasons.
Yet at the same time, another prophet named Uriah prophesied almost the exact same words about Jerusalem. He was hunted down by King Jehoiakim’s warriors, captured, brought before the king and killed by a sword. His body was dumped into a common grave, which was not the usual burial place for prophets.
Now think about this for a moment. Both prophets – Jeremiah and Uriah – stood before the Lord, heard His voice and then spoke the word of the Lord to Jerusalem. Yet Jeremiah’s life was protected and spared, but Uriah’s life was not protected. He was killed.
Why did God allow this to happen?
I can’t say for sure, but I do know that God uses martyrs as His witnesses to nations, groups of people and before His throne. The blood of the martyrs cry out to the Lord and says, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood…”
Can we expect something like this to happen in America’s inner cities?
(Continued in Part 9…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)