Don’t Shoot the Messenger
The threat of injury or death was an occupational hazard for the bearer of bad news in classical times. Sophocles wrote, “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news” . Similarly, Shakespeare wrote, “Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news hath but a losing office”  and, “Though it be honest, it is never good to bring bad news” .
The Prophet as Messenger
No one knew this better than the prophets of the LORD. Some were threatened and even killed for communicating God’s unfavorable message to His people after they repeatedly denied Him . The LORD called Jeremiah to communicate a harsh message to His unrepentant and stubborn people.
- If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened; then I will make this house like Shiloh, and this city I will make a curse to all the nations of the earth. .
As expected, the people hated and even wanted to kill him.
- You must die! … A death sentence for this man! For he has prophesied against this city as you have heard in your hearing.” .
Although Jeremiah is spared from a death sentence in this instance, the people later imprison him  and even throw him in a well to die of starvation in another instance .
The Spirit as Messenger
How ludicrous that those who don’t like the word of God don’t like its messenger! If someone calls with bad news, does it make sense to hang up or take out the hearing aid? Does it make the news any less bad?
Yet, this is what we do. Rather than embracing a pricked conscience, we silence it. We turn on the TV, go to the gym or grab a drink at happy hour. But one day, as Israel discovered, we will hear the Lord’s message – either for healing or for judgment – even if we silence the Spirit.
Do you silence those who speak uncomfortable truths into your life? Have you made peace with your sin and set up camp so that you’ve thrown the Word into a “prison” or a “well”? How have you recently responded to criticism? Do you pray for a teachable and humble heart to hear the Spirit?
 Antigone (c. 442 BC) |  Henry IV, Part 2 (1596 – 1599) |  Antony and Cleopatra (1606-07) |  e.g., Micah of Moresheth, Jeremiah 26:18-19, and Uriah the son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim, Jeremiah 26:20. |  Jeremiah 26:4-6 NASB |  Jeremiah 26:8, 11 NASB |  Jeremiah 37:11-21 |  Jeremiah 38:1-16