“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life and say, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord or you will die by our hand.”
So a little background here. Anathoth was Jeremiah’s village and the people of Anathoth had revolted against King David. They had been excluded from temple service. As a result they were disconnected from worship at the temple. They were disobedient to God’s word, they were not worshiping God’s way. It’s no surprise that when Jeremiah brought God’s word to them, they reacted negatively. They threatened Jeremiah and told him not to prophesy God’s word in God’s name and they said, “If you prophesy in the name of the Lord, you will die by our hand.” They’re threatening Jeremiah.
We have brothers and sisters all around the world who risk their lives to make the gospel known in difficult contexts. Let’s pray for boldness for them and for us to proclaim Christ.
I read this verse and I can’t help but to think about how brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world right now, if they speak the word of God, will be threatened with death. I think about brothers and sisters in North Korea right now who if they publicly share the gospel, that is an immediate death sentence, at least leading to a life of imprisonment in a labor camp that may end in death. I think about brothers and sisters in Somalia right now, Afghanistan. If our brothers and sisters proclaim the gospel in those places openly, then persecution is sure to come. And death, not even just calling others to believe the gospel, just saying that one believes the gospel will lead to having your throat slit in Somalia.
I am provoked to pray and to lead us in prayer for our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world in light of Jeremiah 11:21, God we pray for our brothers and sisters around the world right now in places like North Korea, in Somalia. God, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. God, in places where it is dangerous to proclaim your word. We pray that you would give them grace and boldness to proclaim it. Boldly, wisely, humbly, God, knowing that there is risk to their lives in that, please oh God, help them. Please strengthen them. God as persecution comes we pray that you would stand by them, be with them, deliver them. God we pray, please help them. Please, please help them, so that your word would go forth in North Korea. God, please help our brothers and sisters not to stay silent with your word in North Korea. Help them to know how to share it. I pray for the same in Somalia, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan and other places in the world and God, even as we pray for them and for strength and for boldness for them to speak knowing it may cost them greatly, God, we just praise you for the freedom we have to speak, the freedom I have to speak the gospel to anybody and not fear for my life.
God help me, help us to take advantage of that freedom, that opportunity. God, help us not to in this way dishonor our brothers and sisters in North Korea with the freedom we have, that we stay silent even as we pray for them to speak when it might cost them their lives. God, may it not be so. God, make us a bold people with your word. Not fearing rejection or awkwardness or whatever may come. God, please help us to proclaim your word, and help our brothers and sisters in persecution around the world to proclaim your word and help us to proclaim your word and we pray that in the middle of it all, you would draw people to yourself through us and our proclamation of your word in your name. You’d save people from sin and you would build people up in Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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