First Reading:  Jeremiah 20:10-13


Through Evil Times


10 For I have heard the defaming of many, terror on every side. Denounce, and we will denounce him, say all my familiar friends, those who watch for my fall; perhaps he will be persuaded, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. 11 But YHWH is with me as an awesome mighty one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail; they shall be utterly disappointed, because they have not dealt wisely, even with an everlasting dishonor which shall never be forgotten. 12 But, YHWH of Armies, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance on them; for to you have I revealed my cause. 13 Sing to YHWH, praise YHWH; for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evildoers.


What "dark times" have you lived through? How did you live through these times?


Jeremiah felt misunderstood. As a holy man who prophesied just before the Babylonian exile, Jeremiah faced the wrath of the king's court. For he could see the coming calamity and the blindness of the king's advisors


Judah was nothing more than a city-state centered around Jerusalem, a mere speck in the eye of the regional powers at the time. Egypt to the south. Babylon to the north and east. Playing one against the other was an invitation to disaster. In the end, Judah played that game and was destroyed.


How did Jeremiah live life in the face of a hostile leadership? He toyed with despair, as he mimicked the machinations of his enemies. [20:10] But, in the end, he remembered the One who caused him to prophesy. And the One who would save him. Jeremiah's enemies would see their shame and fall! [20:11-13]


Jeremiah saw the bigger picture. The success of those who lie and steal, spread rumor and slander will not last. In the end, their secret plans will be known. And their character will be revealed. The good will see the light of day. God will do this!


Have you ever been the target of gossip, rumor, or character assassination? How has God helped you these times?