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Confronting Authorities – Applying Jeremiah and the Prophets

The prophet Jonah confronted pagan priests and rulers in Nineveh when he told them the words of God and all the kingdom’s leaders and people repented. Jeremiah and the Old Testament prophets confronted kings and priests in Israel and Judea who had become autocratic and pagan instead of submitting to the law and will of Yahweh (Jehovah), the Creator and Absolute King over creation and all nations. These kings, with the support of the leading priests, wielded absolute power over their subjects and disregarded God’s commands in the Bible. Therefore, God sent them many prophets to call them to account and to warn them and the people of the consequences that will follow from disobeying God. In almost every case, the kings and priests refused to repent and return to obeying God; therefore, they and their unrepentant subjects were punished and eventually their kingdoms were destroyed. Jeremiah watched his words of warning from God being fulfilled when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and the Babylonians killed or carried many of the nation’s people and leaders into exile.

Notice: God’s prophets did not give the kings and priests their personal or studied opinions on how to rule or pursue war or defend a city. They gave the kings and priests the revealed words of God, which God had given them, and the words of God called the nation’s authorities and people back to obeying God and God’s words in the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament).

Today, the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, can follow the example of Jeremiah and the prophets when confronting political and religious authorities and leaders. The Word of God, Jesus Christ in word and deed, provides an example of how to confront authorities as well as gives the words of God that His followers can use when confronting political and religious authorities. The suffering and death of Jesus Christ also illustrates what can happen when the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ courageously confront authorities with the words of God. Of the twelve apostles, only John avoided a martyr’s death, and he was exiled to the island of Patmos where he received the Book of Revelation.

As Bible teachers and students, we can prayerfully think about what words from the Bible need to be shared with what authorities and how to share them in the most effective ways. In doing so, we should not be surprised if the words of God are received in ways similar to the days of Jeremiah and Jesus.

Go to the International Bible Lesson Commentary and International Bible Lesson for additional Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series Resources.

For the love of God's Word,
L.G.


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