Jeremiah 37-39, Psalm 23
Things don’t always make sense from an earthly perspective. Though those who preach the prosperity gospel would lead you to believe if you give and dedicate yourselves you will be blessed with earthly riches, history tells a different story. Take the life of William Borden in the early 1900’s. Born into a wealthy family, he was given a gift of sailing around the world as a high school graduation present. After seeing the poor in China he decided that after college he wanted to be a missionary. His classmates at Yale said that he was the epitome of Christian character. He was offered many high paying jobs after college, but declined and set off to China by way of Egypt. While in Egypt, he died of meningitis at the age of 25, never having reached China. In the back of his Bible he wrote, “No release”, “No retreat”, and “No regrets”. Consider the life of Jim Eliot, missionary to the Auca Indians in Ecuador martyred at the age of 28 with no apparent converts while he was alive.
As we continue on in the story of Jeremiah, we see a prophet who was faithful to speak forth the word of God, but had few if any converts and was persecuted terribly for his stance. We read in Jeremiah 37:13 that he was falsely accused. In 37:15, he was unjustly beaten and imprisoned. In 37:18, he asks the king, “What offense have I committed against you, against your servants, or against this people, that you have put me in prison?” The story continues where they put him in a muddy cistern to die , though he is rescued. This was the situation with many men of faith in the Bible. In the famous chapter on faith in Hebrews 11 we read the stories of many such individuals. Many, are not even named in Heb. 11:35-40, where it says they were tortured, stoned, they wandered about destitute, afflicted and tormented. But it says in 11:38 that the world was not worthy of them. Jesus in Matthew 5:11-12, encourages those who suffer for Him, “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man does, that he will also reap.” If we sow the things of God, we, like those mentioned above may not receive earthly riches or acknowledgement. But we must never forget that we are citizens of heaven and ambassadors on earth. God has a plan for each and every one of us who belong to Him. So as we continue on this race may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not get distracted. If we hold fast to Him and draw near to Him there are abundant blessings waiting for us in eternity.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: