Jeremiah 20:1-4   
When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the chief officer in the temple of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD’s temple.  The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD’s name for you is not Pashhur, but Magor-Missabib.  For this is what the LORD says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will hand all Judah over to the king of Babylon, who will carry them away to Babylon or put them to the sword.

Jeremiah’s play on words regarding the name of this apostate ‘Priest’ and ‘Chief Officer in the Temple of the L
’ was significant at the time, and is also significant for us.  ‘Pashhur’ means ‘freedom’, and ‘Magor-Missabib’ means ‘terror on every side’.  The irony of all this is that the priest’s function among the L
’s people was to bring them into the L
’s presence through the sacrificial system that dealt with their sin.  This would allow them to experience the true ‘freedom’ from the burden of their sin.  “Would you be free from your burden of sin? There’s power in the blood …”.

Contrary to this, Pashhur had constrained Jeremiah in stocks for the ‘sin’ of faithfully proclaiming God’s liberating Word to the people!  This, in turn, meant that they persisted in pursuing their own idea of ‘freedom’ by making up their OWN rules for living, and not submitting to what seemed to them to be the ‘restrictions’ of God’s Law.  Not surprisingly, the result of this was to experience the terror of God’s Judgement – in their case the Babylonian Conquest and 70 years of captivity, with ‘terror on every side’…

How sad it is that our own society has committed itself to a culture that increasingly denies God’s ways (and even his existence!) in order to be ‘free’ to be in control, with ‘freedom’ to define for ourselves what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.  Anyone who dares, today, to follow Jeremiah’s example and proclaim God’s Truth stands a fair chance of finding themselves in the stocks with him!  As our culture persists in atheistic humanism, and even as it experiences a foretaste of the ‘terror on every side’ of God’s judgement in the events around us while arrogantly ignoring his gracious warnings, we will discover the truth of his Word too late!

Let us pray with George Matheson: “Make me a captive, Lord, and then I shall be free, force me to render up my sword and I shall conqueror be.  I sink in life’s alarms when by myself I stand; imprison me within thine arms and strong shall be my hand.  My heart is weak and poor until it Master find; it has no spring of action sure, it varies with the wind.  It cannot freely move till thou hast wrought its chain; enslave it with thy matchless love and deathless it shall reign.  My power is faint and low till I have learned to serve; it lacks the needed fire to glow, it lacks the breeze to nerve.  It cannot drive the world until itself be driven; its flag can only be unfurled when thou shalt breathe from heaven.  My will is not my own till thou hast made it thine, if it would reach a monarch’s throne it must its crown resign; it only stands unbent amid the clashing strife when on thy bosom it has leant, and found in thee its life.”

– Bruce Christian