In the Book of Jeremiah, it has been recorded that when prophet Jeremiah prophesied about the exile of Judah, another prophet Uriah also proclaimed the same message.
And there was another man who was a prophet of the Lord, Uriah, the son of Shemaiah of Kiriath-jearim; he said against this town and against this land all the words which Jeremiah had said. Jeremiah 26:20
Unwilling to hear anything negative, both prophets were persecuted, and their lives were threatened.
Prophet Uriah was Killed
When King Jehoiakim heard what prophet Uriah said, he wanted to put Uriah to death. The prophet, who was full of fear, went in flight into Egypt. The King immediately sent some men to go to Egypt to bring Uriah back, and killed him with his sword. After his death, even Uriah's status as a prophet was taken away, and his dead body was put into the resting place of the bodies of common people. (Jeremiah 26:21-23)
Prophet Jeremiah was Saved
Prophet Jeremiah, on the other hand, chose to face his persecutors boldly after proclaiming God's Words.
As for me, here I am in your hands: do with me whatever seems good and right in your opinion. Only be certain that, if you put me to death, you will make yourselves and your town and its people responsible for the blood of one who has done no wrong; for truly, the Lord has sent me to you to say all these words in your ears. Jeremiah 26:14-15
In the end, Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, gave Jeremiah his help, so that he was not given into the hands of the people to be put to death.
Jeremiah vs Uriah, Faith vs Fear
Why did God command two prophets to proclaim the same message? I believe God already knew that one would perish. And this story was recorded in the Bible for our meditation.
Jeremiah, who chose to trust in God when facing his persecutors was preserved. On the other hand, Uriah who was fearful and chose to flee, was put to death. Even his status as a prophet was taken away, and he was buried among the bodies of common people.
As it is written in Matthew 10:39,
He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Two Reasons Not to Fear
1. God's Assurance in Words and Actions
God has assured us numerous times in the Bible by His Words and His actions that He will protect those who depend on Him and trust in Him. Even before Jeremiah started his ministry, God already said to him, "Be not afraid of their faces; for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD." (Jer 1:8)
2. Jesus Has Already Overcome Death
In the New Testament, Jesus has defeated even death on the cross, and was resurrected on the third day! For martyr like Stephen, even though he was eventually killed, he already saw the heavens opened before his eyes, and knew for sure that Jesus would receive him into His Kingdom as soon as he gives up his spirit. (Acts 7:55-60) How can he have any fear?
..... that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them (children of God) who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15
Why is Fear Sinful?
Fear is unbelief. A person is fearful only because he does not truly believe in the goodness of God and His deliverance. The whole foundation of the New Covenant is based on faith. If a person does not truly believe, it is only a matter of time that he falls into bigger temptations.
..... unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. Titus 1:15
Remember In the Book of Revelations, the "fearful" and the "unbelieving" is put in the same category as murderers, idolaters. whoremongers .....
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Rev 21:8