08/21/16 Freedom to Worship

READING: Jeremiah 35-37

I cannot understand the price others pay when they speak the Word of God. Today, many of us will be privileged to stand before God’s people, proclaim His truths, worship with a loving congregation, head to lunch, and simply enjoy the Lord’s day. At no point will we have fear or dread; we will speak with freedom and worship with passion. We will want our neighbors to hear the songs of Zion reverberating from our buildings. 

Not so for so many other believers. Around the world today are believers who will speak truth even though they know that doing so could cost them their freedom — perhaps their lives. They, walking in the footsteps of Jeremiah, will speak prophetically, and the result could be their imprisonment like the prophet experienced: “They [the officials] were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison” (Jer 37:15). Jeremiah simply told the truth of God’s message, and he was arrested; the false prophets who said that Jerusalem would not be attacked somehow avoided the king’s ire. No wonder Jeremiah asked the king, “What crime have I committed against you or your attendants or this people, that you have put me in prison?” (Jer 37:18).

That’s the way it works for some believers. Truth leads to trouble. Obedience brings opposition. Preaching produces persecution. Service ends in suffering. Today, it’s quite possible someone who stands on God’s Word will land like Jeremiah did — imprisoned for doing nothing wrong. 

The rest of us who are privileged to preach, teach, or worship without fear must not take that gift for granted. We are blessed indeed. 

ACTION STEPS: 

  • Before you go to church today, thank God for the freedom He gives you to worship and lead.  
  • Say a prayer for persecuted believers around the globe.                   

PRAYER: “God, I too often take Your gifts for granted. Remind me today that only Your grace allows my family to worship You without fear.”   

TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 38-42