Bible In One Year-Day 150 (Friday, May 30, 2014)
Commentary: Jer37-39. The life Zedekiah lived is the life many Christians are living now; living between two opinions;
Jeremiah 38:19 “And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.”
On one hand, he feared what the people would say or do and on the other hand, he wanted to hear God’s opinion about his life; whereas, the comfort of the Holy Spirit (revelation and visions presented in prophecies) are for the upright in heart.
Psalms 97:11 “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.”
Deep within him, it was not his intention to jail or kill Jeremiah; he only succumbed to pressures from his people. Zedekiah had no mind of his; he was being ruled by his people;
Jeremiah 38:4-5 “Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.”
This is the weakness of the King in his capacity. Three times Zedekiah went to Jeremiah to know God’s opinion but, unfortunately, he did not abide by what he heard and this is exactly the point of our discussion today. People seek for spiritual help but with a set mind. God is not found in the pride of a man’s dignity or achievement but in the humbleness of his heart. A set mind seeking a word from God simply means that such wants God to say what his flesh prefers and not the will of God. It simply means that such wants God to approve the conclusion of the flesh. One thing we need to know is that God remains the same; whatever He says remains the best. Though, for Zedekiah to go and submit to the king of Babylon looks ridiculous, yet it remained the best option for him and for his kingdom to live. All that God wanted to achieve in the life of Zedekiah was to humble him. Shedding of tears, as they say, is not a sign of weakness but simply means that the person has a compassionate heart. God will not change His word at the face of any disobedience because there is no disobedience in heaven. Disobedience was the sin that cast man out of the most beautiful garden that ever existed on earth and until now, the gate leading to that garden is yet to be re-discovered by any man in the flesh. Thank God for the Lord Jesus, the Gate to the beautiful garden.
John 10:7 “Then said Jesus to them again, Verily, verily, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”
Matthew 7:13 “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in by it.”
Zedekiah’s reign was a reign of absolute disobedience to God’s word;
Jeremiah 37:2 “But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah.”
On the side of the followers, they tried to silence God by plotting to kill Jeremiah. On the side of the king he tried to change the mind of God by seeking His opinion again and again. This is the life of many Christians; they run from one prophet to the other seeking for the God of tomorrow when they have not obeyed the God of today. Zedekiah was seeking for the God of victory with an unacceptable mindset;
Ezekiel 14:4 “Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;”
A genuine prophet of God will never judge by what he hears from you, rather, he talks according to God’s opinion. Prophets that are called into the office of the prophet don’t walk or work by sight but by the Spirit of the living God. The Spirit judges, whatever the judgment, that is final and is right. Many people go about seeking for the prophet that will tell them what they want to hear and, by this they defect from the just course. Problems are not solved by defecting from the truth. The prophets who prophesy lies will disappear with time and you will be left with the truth. I will humbly like to say this to us, that whatever difficulty we find ourselves, God has something to tell us, and for us to see our testimony over the dark situation, we need to totally yield to God’s opinion. Zedekiah’s case was so pathetic that his sons were killed before his eyes and his eyes were put out after seeing evil;
Jeremiah 39:6-7 “Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.”
This was not God’s fault but his, because he bargained for it. When a person disobeys God, such is bargaining for the consequence of the alternative. Just before this evil befell Zedekiah, Jeremiah begged him to obey God’s word;
Jeremiah 38:19-20 “And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.”
The enemy did not kill Zedekiah but his disobedience killed him. All disobedience is death in the spirit. Adam and Eve opted for death instead of life;
Genesis 2:15-17 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
The penalty for disobedience is still valid. It was Adam’s choice that brought death into the world today; there was no death hitherto. It was his choice that brought corruptions, sicknesses, diseases, discomfort, confusions, hatred, murder, despair and all other horrible things you could think of.
Where Zedekiah was bargaining for doom, his Eunuch fearlessly confronted the king (Jer38:7-13) concerning Jeremiah not knowing he was making a good bargain for his dear life;
Jeremiah 39:15 “Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying,Go and speak to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee.But I will deliver thee in that day, saith the LORD: and thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid.For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.”
Hear this very well, beloved; the race of grace is the race of last chance. We are in the last part to make eternal decisions. God will not force anybody to heaven; it is a matter of choice. The devil, on the other hand, will not force anybody to hell fire; it is a matter of choice. What is your choice today? God’s opinion or the opinion of the populace!
Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
Zedekiah became wise eventually but it was too late. We shall all be wise in the long run; on earth now (good decision if you repent), at the point of death (grace if the opportunity to repent comes like the thief on the cross beside Jesus’) and after death (too late). It was too late for Zedekiah. I pray it will not be too late for you.
Let us seek for the old path where we could find rest. Let us listen to the trumpet’s sound, wherewith we could escape the calamity to come. It is not those you think will make heaven that will make it; there shall be surprises that day. ONLY GOD’S STANDARD is the perfect condition to enter the beautiful garden, the new Jerusalem. Our reading for today is Jer40-42. Keep the fore burning and alive.
Jeremiah 21:14 “But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it.”
Matthew 25:30 “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into utter darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Luke 13:28 “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.”
John 10:9 “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”