August 1 | Bible in a Year: Psalms 57–59; Romans 4
Ahikam son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.
READ Jeremiah 26:12–15, 20–24
Clifford Williams was sentenced to die for a murder he didn’t commit. From death row he vainly filed motions to reconsider the evidence against him. Each petition was denied—for forty-two years. Then attorney Shelley Thibodeau learned of his case. She found that not only was there no evidence to convict Williams, but that another man had confessed to the crime. At the age of seventy-six, Williams was finally exonerated and released.
The prophets Jeremiah and Uriah were also in deep trouble. They had told Judah that God promised to judge His people if they didn’t repent (Jeremiah 26:12–13, 20). This message angered the people and officials of Judah, who sought to kill both prophets. They succeeded with Uriah. He fled to Egypt, but was brought back to face the king, who “had him struck down with a sword” (v. 23). Why didn’t they kill Jeremiah? In part because Ahikam “stood up for Jeremiah” (nlt), “and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death” (v. 24).
We may not know anyone facing death, but we probably know someone who could use our support. Whose rights are trampled? Whose talents are dismissed? Whose voice isn’t heard? It may be risky to step out like Thibodeau or Ahikam, but it’s so right. Who needs us to stand up for them as God guides us?
By Mike Wittmer
REFLECT & PRAY
Whom can you stand with? If you voice your support, what do you think might happen to them, to you, and to others?
Loving God, help me to love others as You’ve loved me.
Jeremiah, a truly tormented soul, was born the son of Hilkiah, of the priestly line, and grew up in the village of Anathoth (Jeremiah 1:1), to the northeast of Jerusalem. Often referred to as “the weeping prophet,” his season of ministry came at one of the darkest hours in the history of the people of God. Jeremiah prophesied and then witnessed the devastation of Jerusalem and the taking of much of its citizenry into captivity. Historians speak of the savagery of the conquest; Jeremiah’s reaction to those atrocities forms the substance of his second Old Testament book, Lamentations.