One of the priests in Jerusalem gets tired of Jeremiah's constant tirade against the citizens of the city and the nation of Judah. He has the prophet captured, beaten, and put in the stockade for a day. Afterwards, he threatens the prophet with harsher consequences if he does not shut his mouth. Jeremiah does just the opposite and condemns the priest and all his followers. He tells this religious leader that he will be called a terror by all those who follow him now, and he will watch "his people" fall by the sword. Once alone, Jeremiah laments the physical and emotional beatings he took in the name of Yahweh. He felt ashamed and awkward, but he did not give up or quit on his God-given mission. He had no doubt that the people needed to hear his prophecies and that each one would come true, because they came directly from the mouth of the Almighty. It does not surprise me that the prophet seems to grow through this painful time. God uses those kinds of situations to build our faith and to remove our fear. He walks with us through those "stockade" moments when we feel hopeless and helpless. He gives us strength in the battle and promises a horrible end for those who persecute His children. In the midst of his humiliation, Jeremiah focuses on his relationship with Yahweh and seeks His will and His way for moving forward. When we face those kinds of persecutions in our own life, how do we or how will we respond? We enjoy incredible freedom in the United States in 2020, but we all know that we have no guarantees of that same freedom in ten years or less. Even still, we face persecution, and we must learn to respond in faith and not fear. We must fight with the understanding that Jesus is fighting with us and not against us.

Help me, Lord, to grow in a relationship with You when I face public humiliation for my faith. Help me to humble myself before You in those moments so You can build my faith and strengthen my resolve.