Human beings have a long history of wanting to blame others for their own mistakes. As far back as the first sin, we see Adam blaming Eve and Eve blaming the serpent.
This ‘blame-game’ has led to the saying, ‘Don’t shoot the messenger!’ because often we want to attack the bearer of bad news rather than deal with the news itself.
Jeremiah had much bad news to bear. In Jeremiah 26, he was given clear instructions of what to say by the Lord. The Lord told him, ‘all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word.’ (v.2)
And so the people’s immediate reaction was, ‘This man is worthy to die…’ (v.11) They wanted Him dead, even though they really did not have cause to excute him.
When they looked at it further, they agreed that ‘This man is not worthy to die…’ (v.16) They didn’t know whether to kill or or not to kill him. They could not deny his integrity, but they sure didn’t like his message.
How often, we do the same. Instead of listening to the content of a preacher’s message when it is clearly in Scripture, we want to attack the preacher himself.
All of us who are called to be witnesses for Christ must accept this reality. We will be hated and rejected simply for the content of our message. Just as they wanted to attack Jeremiah for speaking God’s Word, so they will want to attack us.
In the face of such rejection, we must be clear, patient, courageous, and trusting. We must trust the Lord to deliver and not allow any threats to keep us from doing what God want us to do (v.14).