Jeremiah was a faithful servant of the Lord. He strove for the highest good of his nation following the direction of divine wisdom. His driving force was “God First”. He encouraged worship and morality.

Judah was in great moral decline. The practices of the Jews included dishonesty, slander, murder, adultery, false swearing and open licentiousness. This was all under the evil rule of King Jehoiakim. God directed Jeremiah to prophesy of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and temple. Jeremiah 26:2, 3 (ESV), “Thus says the LORD: Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the LORD all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds.”

This should have led the people to examine their behavior and return to loyalty to God. But instead, the priests led the people in an angry attack on Jeremiah. Afterward, Jeremiah was arrested and charged with evil speaking. The priest stated that a prophet couldn’t bring this to pass just by saying it.  Jeremiah was shut up in prison. But even in prison, Jeremiah dictated his prophesies which were written down directing the people to repentance and worship. See Jeremiah 37:15-17.

One lesson we are to learn from Jeremiah is that his persecution and even our own persecution may come from those who profess to be followers of the Lord. Most of the persecutions on Jesus and the Apostles were from the Jewish leaders: the scribes, priests, and Pharisees. Jeremiah had the courage to follow God and to speak His word even when the religious leaders opposed him.