Monday, August 18, 2008

A Very Sad Day!

August 18: Jeremiah 38-40, Psalm 74 & Psalm 79

14 King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah the prophet and received him at the third entrance of the temple of the Lord. The king said to Jeremiah, “I will ask you a question; hide nothing from me.” 15 Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I tell you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you counsel, you will not listen to me.” 16 Then King Zedekiah swore secretly to Jeremiah, “As the Lord lives, who made our souls, I will not put you to death or deliver you into the hand of these men who seek your life.”

17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. 18 But if you do not surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand.” 19 King Zedekiah said to Jeremiah, “I am afraid of the Judeans who have deserted to the Chaldeans, lest I be handed over to them and they deal cruelly with me.” 20 Jeremiah said, “You shall not be given to them. Obey now the voice of the Lord in what I say to you, and it shall be well with you, and your life shall be spared. 21 But if you refuse to surrender . . .

23 All your wives and your sons shall be led out to the Chaldeans, and you yourself shall not escape from their hand, but shall be seized by the king of Babylon, and this city shall be burned with fire.”
Jeremiah 38:14-21a & 23

A Very Sad Day!

Treason! That is the charge the men of the court brought against Jeremiah; in their own words: “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” (Hebrews 38:4)

For his "sin" of treason, Jeremiah was lowered into a cistern until his feet stuck in the mud; by the time the king heard of this and commanded him to be brought up out of the mire, he was so stuck that it took 30 men to pull him back out! I know that God has a special place in heaven for Godly saints like Jeremiah.

King Zedekiah is an interesting study--always trying to play both sides of the fence. He certainly did not want to be accused of treason, but he really did want to know what the Lord was saying to Jeremiah. After the king promised that he would protect him, Jeremiah spoke the words of the Lord. Even up to the very end, God was still allowing Zedekiah an opportunity to save the city; what a gracious God! Stubborn until the end, however, the king refused to obey the voice of the Lord.

What a very sad day! For almost 2 years the king of Babylon besieged Jerusalem; finally a breach was made in the city. Though the king of Judah and his officials escaped, the Chaldeans caught up with them in the Jordan valley.

Asaph, in Psalm 74 mourned for the fall of Judah and longed for the day of God's deliverance.

5 How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
Will your jealousy burn like fire?
6 Pour out your anger on the nations
that do not know you,
and on the kingdoms
that do not call upon your name!
7 For they have devoured Jacob
and laid waste his habitation.

Are we like King Zedekiah? Are we more concerned with the opinions of the people around us rather than our obedience before God? What a tragedy! We are so prone to lay hold of the things around us which we can see, rather than lay claim to the power and might of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What a very sad day for King Zedekiah--he waited too long! It reminds me of the words of Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 55:6 & 7:

"Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

God Bless You,

All Scripture is from the English Standard Version of the Bible.

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