Monday, January 28, 2013
“Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (John 7:13 KJV).
You are not alone in being shy about witnessing for Jesus Christ….
The LORD sends the prophet Jeremiah to warn Judah and Jerusalem of God’s impending judgment, that the Babylonians are coming to take them captive, and to carry them back to Babylon. Once Jeremiah preaches, he learns just how stubborn and wicked the Jews are.
“O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (Jeremiah 20:7-9).
The Jews, upon hearing God’s Word through Jeremiah, mock him. They do not want to hear what God has to say, so Jeremiah vows never again will he speak in the name of the LORD. Yet, notice, God’s Word had filled the heart of Jeremiah—it was like “a burning fire shut up in [his] bones”—and he could not stay silent for long. Soon, he was preaching God’s Word again! (Later, the Jews want to kill him, Jeremiah 26:8. Years later, he is thrown into a muddy pit and imprisoned, Jeremiah 38:6.)
Jeremiah is just one example in Scripture of God’s people being shy when sharing His Word with others. Sometimes, Jeremiah wanted to say nothing about God; other times, he spoke about God. Why is this? Why do believers not speak about God’s Word all the time? That is, why are we not bold all the time in witnessing? Why do we grow shy at times? One of the reasons is we fear the negative public reaction (see today’s Scripture).
But, there are other, more specific, factors involved, too.