As our country careens further and further from the freedom and liberty of the American Revolution and lurches toward the anarchy of the French Revolution, these times can be very discouraging for those who want to be followers of Jesus. Evangelical Christians have enjoyed a home field advantage in the United States since the founding. But now the culture and even the laws are becoming more and more hostile to religious liberty in general and Christianity specifically. It can be disorienting to lose home court advantage, yet it should not be surprising. Our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are still paying a higher price for their faith than we are. We surely have little appreciation for what we had, but that is about to change.
The prophet Jeremiah knew what it was like to lose home field advantage. When God called him to be a prophet, the righteous king Josiah was on the throne (1:2-3). While idolatry still persisted, the official god of Judah was the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thus, Jeremiah could preach with freedom under the protection of a monarch who also desired a revival. However, after a misguided military campaign, Josiah was killed and his son was taken into exile, leaving the kingdom in the hands of another son, Jehoiakim, a ruler who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (II Chron. 36:5). Suddenly it was no longer comfortable or safe to be a prophet of God.
Home field advantage had been lost.
How did Jeremiah respond?
I believe there are at least three lessons we can glean from how Jeremiah reacted when he lost home field advantage that can be of benefit to Evangelical church in America.