An exposition of Jeremiah 28:1-14. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, August 17, 2008.
How do you handle confrontation? Do you enjoy it? How many of you like for someone to tell you, in front of other people, you’re dead wrong about something? Do any of you enjoy that? If you say you do…you probably lie about other stuff too. No one likes to be put on the spot in front of others – in particularly preachers don’t like it! Now let’s add to the drama of this situation. You’ve just preached a message at the church and another preacher stands up in front of the congregation and says that you are all wet. You don’t know what you’re talking about. And then precedes to preach a message that is the exact opposite of what you just preached. How would you handle that? I have to admit I don’t think I would react by saying, “Thanks brother. That was so kind of you to point out my mistake.” I wouldn’t say, “Gee, what else have I been wrong about?” Jeremiah was God’s faithful messenger delivering and increasingly difficult truth. Day after day; week after week; month after month and year after year – judgment, judgment and judgment. He was getting tired of it and the nation of Judah was growing weary of hearing this broken record. A prophet by the name of Hananiah was tired of hearing it so he took matters into his own hands and confronted Jeremiah in the temple and preceded to bring an entirely different message “from the Lord.” Our text this evening is found in the 28th chapter of Jeremiah. What is clear in the text is that this was not merely a difference of interpretation or a different way of looking at things – it was a different message and it got personal. One spoke for God the other spoke from his own, fertile imagination. How should you, as God’s spokesman, respond to lying prophecies and personal attacks?
Responding biblically to open hostility and confrontation demands humility, honesty, self-control and truth-inspired boldness. Let’s look at how these four characteristics are displayed in our text.
- A biblical response demands genuine humility. (28:1-6) This follows on the heels of Jeremiah’s “yoke sermon.” Hananiah is prophesying lies – how does Jeremiah respond? …and the prophet Jeremiah said, Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD make the words that you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the LORD, and all the exiles. This is not sarcasm as some have suggested. This is a sincere statement/prayer. I hope you are right. I’d be happy if what I’ve said is not true. Jeremiah’s concern was the well being of the nation – not his reputation.
- A biblical response requires honesty. (28:7-9) He doesn’t roll over and play dead. Rather he says, in the presence of those gathered, time will tell if you are a liar. If it comes to pass – you are a true prophet…if not…you are a liar.
- A biblical response demands self-control. (28:10-11) Now things get personal. He takes the yoke off Jeremiah and breaks it. “This is what God is doing with that yoke.” He walked away! It takes spiritual wisdom/discernment to know when to confront and when to walk.
- A biblical response demands truth-inspired boldness. (28:12-14) It was one thing for Hananiah to break Jeremiah’s yoke – another to take on God. God takes it personally when we put words in His mouth. Note – “Thus says the Lord…” God is commanding Jeremiah to deliver this message. And look at verse 17 – Hananiah was dead within 2 months! We live in a fallen world. We find ourselves at odds with the world around us. There will be those times when we are confronted by lying prophets. We are to respond with humility, honesty, self-control and truth-inspired boldness.