Stand By What You Say If You Say What God’s Word Says

Jeremiah 26:20 – And there was also a man that prophesied in the name of the Lord, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 26:21 – And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men, and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death: but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid, and fled, and went into Egypt;

Jeremiah 26:22 – And Jehoiakim the king sent men into Egypt, namely, Elnathan the son of Achbor, and certain men with him into Egypt.

Jeremiah 26:23 – And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him unto Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.

Jeremiah 26:24 – Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death.

Hello readers, I want to introduce you to a character called Urijah today. You may have missed him, I sure had, but he’s got a HUGE lesson for us… for me. His lesson for us is to stand by what we say if what we say is what God’s word says. I for one am sick of Christians apologizing for what the Bible says. There is nothing to apologize for or be ashamed of, the Bible is the word of truth, and the truth is what we need and in our lives and society now more than ever.

But we get to know Urijah in the book of Jeremiah… and it is in the context of Jeremiah being tried for his faith and for speaking the truth… and oh boy was it an unwelcome and inconvenient truth… but it was the truth nonetheless, despite what all the fakes and phonies and glad handers and man pleasers in the country were saying. And the context is important! Jeremiah and Urijah had the same message, God’s word, but Jeremiah experienced deliverance while Urijah did not.

Don’t be a Urijah. But please note, he at least did say what God’s word said. So he did a bit more than the rest were doing. But he had a tragic end, an end we can avoid if we learn from where he went wrong. Urijah had been saying what Jeremiah was saying… he was in tune with God’s word. That’s good. But he should’ve stood by what he said when challenged, and continued standing under pressure, because it was God’s word… it was the truth. But instead he got afraid and he declined to stand by the truth… and furthermore he disobeyed God’s word and the wicked king got him.

Urijah fled to Egypt, and it was from there that he, in shivering fear and false security, was fetched and put to death by the king for what he had said. It’s a pretty sad story. And you may say… poor Urijah. But let’s consider that it didn’t have to be so. Sure, the prophets of God, a lot of them got killed in the end, but they weren’t meant to die hiding in a hole in Egypt. And they didn’t die before their message was delivered and God’s job for them fulfilled. And we are all going to die, so would you rather die standing for truth or die in retreat? There was a worse way to go, and he went that worse way, if the king is gonna kill you, at least let him kill you standing by truth rather than dragging you out a hole in Egypt.

And think about it… we know that God’s word was never to go to Egypt. The Hebrews had been delivered from Egypt never to go back. Egypt was not the answer, and particularly not in this case as part of Jeremiah’s message was not to go to Egypt for help. Urijah should’ve trusted in the God who’s word he had said. He shouldn’t have shrunk away from the truth just because someone got upset. And whether he truly believed what he said is debatable, but that’s the same for us. It’s scary how deep our unbelief really does run when push comes to shove. Maybe he had just not considered that standing for truth will cost you, and that was a price he hadn’t bargained on before shooting his mouth. Maybe he just did stupid things  in fear. Fear should never make decisions for us, it should not be on the throne of our heart… that seat belongs to the Lord.

By the way, of course nobody wants persecution. I don’t see Jeremiah leaping for joy getting chucked in prison… he wanted out of the prison. Understandably. But we see the flame get turned up on Urijah, and he shrinks away. Like so many of us do. And how much worse it goes for us when we shrink away from what we know is right.

Yeah, yeah all this is easy to say now perhaps, but Urijah should have trusted God to deliver him. You see, if you wind back all the way to Jeremiah 1, God had promised to be with Jeremiah to deliver him. God knew, and Jeremiah knew what he was getting into. He wasn’t expecting thank you and amens. But nevertheless, God promised to deliver him… and deliver him here he did.

Urijah should’ve stood by what he said. What he said was right. Why not stand by it?  And today, the problem is that many people know the truth, but they’re not willing to stand by it and trust God to take them through the fire of persecution that comes as a result of standing by what is right. And that’s the essence of what I am talking about today. Christians have run away, retreated from and shrunk away from… rather than standing by, and they do not trust God to deliver them from whatever consequences come for standing by what God has said. And next minute, they’re grovelling to this world for forgiveness because they can’t change enough to accommodate them and their sin and lies. Oh please forgive me for telling the truth!

We are in a time of all times where we should be and are commanded to stand by the truth as Jeremiah was… and not be backing away and retreating from the truth that we have professed until the heat came. And it will come. But God is well able to take you through the fire, but what he will not honour is you not standing by what he said and disobeying him in your fearful retreat from truth just because it’s not popular or well received by this untoward generation.

Perhaps I raced to the point to quickly, but the context is important to get this contrast between Jeremiah and Urijah. If you read the chapter, which is most recommended, you will see that Jeremiah had been preaching the word of God and a lot of people had heard it. But it’d been a bit negative, a bit harsh, and it’d been called hate speech, and it sure wasn’t politically correct… and so the religious dudes wanted to put him to death. Funny that, just like today, the religious big shows back then were also quite out of touch with the God they were supposedly representing in their Holy Spirit devoid vocation.

Anyway, Jeremiah was put on trial, and during this trial, some fellas cited some precedents, that is, previous examples of other prophets who had spoken up like Jeremiah had done. And this is where we hear about Urijah. And I really don’t want to run Urijah through the mud, but it just hit home that we must stand by truth rather than retreating from it or saying it and regretting it later. There is nothing to regret or apologize for or distance ourselves from. There is no retreating from truth. So often we say stuff and when the heat comes, we reneg and distance from it.

And that end is just so far worse than just saying like Jeremiah said… hey guys, I’m not backing up an inch, I’ve said what God has said, do what you gotta do, but I ain’t changing it, I ain’t backing down. And guess what… God kept his end of the deal, God did deliver him time and time again. See, Urijah got something worse than death, he got remembered for being a coward, and being that guy who ran away from what he said, unwilling to face consequences or own it. That’s a worse death. Wouldn’t we rather die for the right thing than die anyway as someone who has snivelled and sold out on all points along the way?

The worst mistake Christians make which destroys their own lives is beating a retreat from the truth when the heat comes on. How many Christians are a case of “once stood for what the Bible says on this and that issue but don’t anymore”. There are consequences to living your faith in the public sphere… accept it and own it. Hey, and Jeremiah wasn’t out there saying I hope you all die… he was preaching so that they all could be saved. He was the best friend they ever had, the rest of their prophets got them all killed. Jeremiah had a heart for these people, he wanted to see salvation, he could see the judgment and wrath coming,  and he was blowing the trumpet in Zion trying to warn them… as we should all be doing.

We’ve gotta be like Jeremiah… guys, do what you gotta do… but this is the truth, God has spoken, and I stand by it. You can’t just stand by truth when it’s well received. You’ve gotta stand by it when it ain’t too. Because it is the truth after all, no matter the audience. When will we get that through our thick head? The reception doesn’t validate it, what validates it is was it what God said. If so, that’s the truth like it or lump it.

You just see it so much today, Christians endlessly making concessions on truth, and does it make them more loved and accepted? No. Newsflash… people are gonna hate you no matter how many concessions you make where you give all the ground. Best to stick to your guns and let em hate.

Have you ever heard the saying “stick or twist”? It’s better to stick than twist, particularly if you stick on God’s word. And Jeremiah stuck… he stuck with the truth. He stuck with what God said. He stuck to his guns. Urijah twisted… he turned and ran. He shrunk away, he retreated, he damaged his credibility and the credibility of what he said.

This world is watching to see if there really is something to what we are saying. They’re watching to see if we really believe what we are saying. And Urijah was found out. He spoke against the country, and it was a tough message, and he’s talking about others repent or dying… but when the king seeks to put him to death… he runs away. They figured out there wasn’t much to this guy, he discredited his own sermon and his own life. They figured out he didn’t believe what he said. And it cost him his testimony and life. Man we’ve gotta learn from this.

Just how much more retreating are you gonna do in your life? Maybe you’ve cautiously tried living for God and then shied away when some pushback came? You know how backed up against the cliff Christians seem to be now? But God draws the line, remember how Moses did… and ask who is on the Lord’s side? Let’s be like I’m on the Lord’s side on this issue, this issue and that issue. This is what God says… hey you may not like it, you do what you gotta do, but you gotta know I love you and it’s the truth and I’m sticking by it and not apologizing for it. Don’t twist, stick it out, and remember, God will be with you.  It’s not worth it to not stick by the truth… stand by what you say if you say what God’s word says.


Joseph View All →

Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – :)

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