Monday, August 28, 2017

Jeremiah 15:15-20: Speaking Up for Truth & Integrity


KEY TEXT: Jeremiah 15:19-20 Therefore thus says the Lord: "If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them. And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord.

KEY THOT: In the pluralistic world we now live in, multiculturalism is the battle cry of moral relativists. In such a relativistic climate, we may feel embarrassed or even intimidated to voice the biblical worldview as "truth." We may find it hard to stand up and speak out for moral integrity against the mainstream culture that is essentially marked by opportunism rather than righteousness. Our workplace is now largely secularized by business corporations coming from the West with their built-in humanistic worldviews. Like Jeremiah, we may find ourselves being isolated and persecuted if we challenge the reigning humanistic paradigms of the day in our workplaces. 

We may feel like Jeremiah complaining being persecuted because we stand up for God's truth among God-rejectors: "O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance take me not away; know that for your sake I bear reproach. Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15:15-16). It is therefore tempting to just keep quiet and save ourselves needless rejection from our colleagues and friends who do not share our worldview.

But God's word to Jeremiah should also be addressed to us who struggle with speaking God's truth in ungodly places: "If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them" (v.19). In other words, we should always remember we don't stand before our bosses or superiors when we speak. Rather we stand before God whenever we stand for truth and integrity. We should turn to God in such challenging situations so that He may restore our confidence. If we continue to speak His truth, then we can be His mouthpiece. When it happens, people will ultimately turn to follow us, not we turning to follow them. As God's witnesses, we are to help people follow us so that they may ultimately follow the God who backs us up.

As for those who continue to sabotage you because you stand for truth, God's promise is that He will fight for you: "And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, declares the Lord" (v. 20). God's promise to you who want to speak up and stand up for truth is that he will make you like a fortified wall of bronze--solid, unbreakable and immovable. In short, you will become a person with spiritual and moral backbone. Furthermore, God promises to fight for you, to save and deliver you from the office politics that is seeking to undermine you and your reputation. There is one phrase in Scripture that always guarantees success: "I am with you".

In whatever work or ministry we do, the key to success is: "I am with you". The OT saints like Joseph, and David experienced success because "the Lord was with him":
  • Genesis 39:3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord  caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.
  • Genesis 39:23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph's charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed
  • 1 Samuel 3:19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.
  • 1 Samuel 18:14-15 And David had success in all his undertakings, for the Lord was with him
  • 2 Kings 18:7 And the Lord was with him (Hezekiah); wherever he went out, he prospered.
And in the Great Commission given to the Church in Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus guarantees us success in our mission because he says, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). Those who engage in doing God's work God's way will always be successful, for Jesus himself guarantees it with His personal presence of the Holy Spirit.

Abba-Father, help us be bold and courageous to stand up and speak up for truth and integrity. May Your presence be always with us as we remember we speak and stand in Your presence, not before people. Amen.

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