This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah. “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.
“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them—then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.’”
The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple. But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. “What right do you have to prophesy in the Lord’s name that this Temple will be destroyed like Shiloh? What do you mean, saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed and left with no inhabitants?” And all the people threatened him as he stood in front of the Temple.
The events described in this chapter took place in 609–608 b.c., before the events described in chapter 25. Jehoiakim was a materialistic and self-centered king who persecuted and murdered innocent people (Jeremiah 36:22-32; see also 2 Kings 23:26–24:6). Chapter 26 describes how and why Jeremiah was on trial for his life.
God reminded Jeremiah that he wanted his entire message given—“Include every word.” Jeremiah may have been tempted to leave out the parts that would turn his audience against him, would sound too harsh, or would make him sound like a traitor. But by God’s command, he was not to delete parts of God’s message to suit himself, his audience, or the circumstances in which he found himself.
Have you ever been tempted to water down the gospel message to make it “palatable” for your audience? Like Jeremiah, we must never ignore or repress important parts of God’s Word to please anyone. Pray for the courage to tell it like it is.