“Zedekiah king of Judah had shut him up …”Jeremiah 32:3
We use the phrase, “Shut up” to mean “be quiet” and that is the reason King Zedekiah had imprisoned Jeremiah. Zedekiah only wanted to hear good forecasts and no bad forecasts. The king’s own prophets only prophesied good things; they claimed they came from the Lord, but they were lying. Jeremiah did receive prophecies from the Lord – which was proven when his, and only his, prophecies came to pass.
The nature of sin has not changed since Adam, and remains the same now. People don’t want to hear that which is unpalatable to them. Fortunately God is pursuing people and some do relent and repent. I shudder when I think of what my destiny would have been had He not pursued me!
The Lord’s complaint against Judah was, “This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts … is profitable for nothing” (Jeremiah 13:10); they had forgotten the Lord and “trusted in falsehood” (Jeremiah 13:25). Unfortunately there are those who claim the name of Christ who refuse to take God at His word but distort, revise or spiritualise it with the result that they speak lies in His name. Jeremiah lived in this kind of society.
Because the king and other leaders of Judah did not want to hear the truth they moved to silence Jeremiah. If the general populace heard the truth they might believe it and that would undermine the authority and economics of the king. Their way to silence him was to imprison him. Many countries around the world are imprisoning God’s messengers and we are not immune. The upside is that the Gospel is being preached in prisons.
Jesus’ followers were tested when He was taken prisoner and even more so when He was crucified. Many stopped following Him. Those who later followed the risen Christ were often imprisoned, and faced or suffered death because of their faith in Jesus. The scribes and Pharisees wanted to silence Jesus permanently so they sought His death.
Jesus warned that we should expect similar persecution and tribulation. We don’t seek it – but because we faithfully speak His word some people will seek to silence us. We would be following a growing list of faithful men and women of which some are mentioned in Hebrews chapter eleven.