Violent men clamored and snarled at them to back down. Instead, they relied on God for strength, and spoke words of hope.
This is an excerpt from The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Jeremiah-Ezekiel, Vol. 7, Revised, by Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland.
Jeremiah and Martin Luther King: From Jeremiah – Ezekiel
It is often easy for us to read millennia-old accounts that describe death and devastation, misery and grief, suffering and tears, and to remain unmoved… This is not the case, however, with the book of Jeremiah… The tragic events that unfold in this book [are] hauntingly real: the armies of Nebuchadnezzar inspiring terror as they make their approach, the starvation of a city under siege, the exiling of the people from their ancestral land, the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple, the slaughtering of the sons of David and the blinding of a king from David’s line, and the weeping women teaching their daughters how to mourn. And this is just a sampling. In this prophetic book one actually does hear the cries of the wounded and dying and one does smell the smoke rising from the flames.
Against this bleak and burning backdrop, the extraordinary faith of God’s prophet stands like a soaring, unshakable monument, as he never backs down in public and never refuses a divine commission. He speaks words of ultimate hope instead — including wonderful promises of restoration and a new covenant — and even makes a personal investment in Judah’s future by buying his uncle’s field as a down payment on his nation’s coming restoration at a time when its destruction is only moments away. A sacred transaction takes place between God and his servant — a transaction profound enough to carry Jeremiah through a terribly turbulent era and a difficult life, ultimately producing an extraordinary book with an extraordinary message for the ages.
A pivotal moment in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is striking in its relevance, taking us behind the scenes into the heart and soul of a very public and influential leader:
By January 1956, with the Montgomery bus boycott in full swing, threatening phone calls, up to 40 a day, began pouring into King’s home. Though he put up a strong front, the threats unsettled him. One midnight as he sat over a cup of coffee worrying, the phone rang again, and the caller said, “[We] are tired of you and your mess now. And if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your brains out and blow up your house.” King later described what happened in the next few minutes.
“I sat there and thought about a beautiful little daughter who had just been born… She was the darling of my life. I’d come in night after night and see that little gentle smile. And I sat at that table thinking about that little girl and thinking about the fact that she could be taken away from me any minute.