18/8/11 Jeremiah 26-36; John 20
S: Jeremiah 26:20-23 At this time Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim was also prophesying for the LORD. And he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did. When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him. But Uriah heard about the plan and escaped in fear to Egypt. Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim. The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.
O: In an earlier reading, we saw how God had promised to protect Jeremiah physically. However, Uriah ben Shemaiah didn't receive the same promise although he was giving the same prophecies from the LORD as Jeremiah did.
A: As Habakkuk observed, even if things are not working out temporally like we want, we have to trust God anyway.
Why did God chose James to be martyred but his brother John to live to old age? We don't know the big picture. But we know that God loves us and is still in control. Uriah was martyred, Jeremiah was not. James was martyred, John was not. All 4 of them are now enjoying the presence of God in heaven. In fact, you might say Uriah and James had the better deal -- they skipped several decades of suffering on earth and went straight to their reward.
So, regardless whether we are chosen to die young for the Lord or chosen to live on earth longer, "for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21)
P: Father, help us to be faithful to you as along as we live, no matter how long that might be. Amen.