â€œFear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraidâ€
Welcome as we once again enter the Ordinary season of the year. This is a time of growth, a time to engage in the work of standing up as Godâ€™s faithful people. As we re-enter this season, we see a very pointed story. It is the story of those who stand up, struggle, persevere, and have victory.
We start with Jeremiah. Jeremiah, sometimes called the weeping prophet for very good reason. He did not want the job, the ministry of prophet. He resisted and argued with God, providing every excuse for not doing that work. God won. Jeremiah did the right thing. He submitted himself.
Jeremiah had no happy message. Sometimes it is said that Jonah was the joyous prophet, only reinforcing the good news of God while in Israel. Jeremiah spoke only of doom – of condemnation. He spoke against greed and in opposition to false prophets. For those strong words he was beaten and imprisoned, he was laughed at and mocked. The people shut their ears to Godâ€™s truth and their accountability before God. In the end he tried peaching from exile, again to no affect.
For Jeremiah, it was not the words nor even the suffering. His mission was to stand up to wrong, to speak truth to un-listening ears, so that Godâ€™s truth would be known. God does not count success as the mark of our faith, but rather our willingness to stand up, even in the midst of the failure and to still offer the message of hope – the intervention of God in the world. That message resounds with all who are abandoned, oppressed, and outcast, who know no justice. Sin will not win.
In Psalm 69 we hear David exclaim: Because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me. In other words, he takes it standing up for God above all. David relies on God rather than the world and personally feels every sin committed against God.
Paul reminds us that sin and death are not our destiny, the intervention of God in His Son Jesus has stood us back up.
Being lifted up, relying on God, speaking the truth, having zeal for Godâ€™s way are all markers of one who stands up. We will not be able to hide any shrinking back. So, stand today, stand always, stay strong and be acknowledged before the Father.