Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Friday, November 1, 2013


At another time there had been a man, Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim, who had preached similarly in the name of God. He preached against this same city and country just as Jeremiah did. (Jeremiah 26:20-21, MSG)

Fairly often in the posts I have talked about the theme of "why me? Why do I have to suffer?"

My mother used to ask, "Why not me? Why have I been spared natural disasters and illness and . . .?"

Today's passage reminded me of Mom. Earlier Jeremiah has spoken along the lines of Elijah, "I am the only one left who believes in God." Today, he talks about all the prophets God has sent who shared the same message: Doom is imminent if you don't repent! (Jeremiah 25:4-6)

In the next chapter, he gives us a small insight into one of those prophets, Uriah, son of Shemaiah.

The question of why God called Jeremiah to write His message and not Uriah or the other prophets intrigues me, but I won't chase down that rabbit trail.

Jeremiah and Uriah served the same God. They preached the same message and in the same place.

However, when a lynch mob formed. . .

  • Ahikam intervened and spared Jeremiah's life.
  • Uriah was killed even though he went into hiding.

The unspoken "Why me?" rings through Jeremiah's description of events:

The king had him killed. They dumped his body unceremoniously outside the city. But in Jeremiah's case, Ahikam son of Shaphan stepped forward and took his sidie, preventing the mob from lynching him. (Jeremiah 26:23-24)

Why Jeremiah, indeed. Why did God spare Jeremiah's life but allow Uriah to be killed? God lost a loyal servant (on earth, at least), but Jeremiah lost a friend and ally.

Why did God spare Jeremiah but not Uriah?

Corrie ten Boom asked the same question when her sister Betsy died in the concentration, while Corrie lived a long and blessed life.

I lived in Colorado at the time of the Columbine killings. Our churches overflowed in the ensuing weeks, as the stories of Cassie and Rachel's brave testimony circulated.

The death of one of our own. We hurt. Incredibly. We may put on brave faces and continue to work while our insides fall apart.

Their deaths might inspire others--to faith. To service. To spending more time with people they love.

We're not told how the people of Jerusalem or the other prophets responded to Uriah's death. But we can infer that was grieved.

Whatever ministry God has called us, Uriah also reminds us that we are not alone. A writer's life is often a lonely one, but we can count on our peers to encourage us, to come alongside with their message, stories, prayers.

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