Day 31

Zedekiah’s Final Meeting with Jeremiah

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Jeremiah 37:1-21, Jeremiah 38:1-28, 2 Kings 24:8-9, Psalm 40:1-3

BY Melanie Rainer

I have two daughters, ages five and two. My two-year-old loves to eat and doesn’t understand boundaries, and my five-year-old likes to be busy, which means she leaves her food lying around in her wake. I’ll let you guess what happens more often than not. And despite my repeated warnings to my eldest—that if she leaves her uneaten food lying around, her sister will likely find and consume it—she continues to do the same thing, over and over again. Needless to say, tears ensue. I realize it’s probably not great parenting to say, “I told you so!” But really, what else is there to say? It’s a cause-and-effect problem, a black-and-white (and no gray) situation.

When Jeremiah speaks to Zedekiah in today’s passage, there’s a similar sentiment behind the message, one in which a half-hearted response just won’t do. There’s really no gray area to wonder, Well, maybe that’s not really what Jeremiah meant, or Maybe the consequences won’t really be as bad as he says they will. But what did Jeremiah actually say? Surrender to the Chaldeans, and you will live. Don’t surrender, and you will die (Jeremiah 38:2,18,23). Over and over again, Jeremiah relays this message, then gets thrown down a well for saying it, only to then say it again.

I find myself wishing that God always spoke this clearly. I couldn’t possibly count up all the seasons in my life when I have prayed desperately for clarity, for a sign in the sky, for a prophet to appear and speak with such thorough conviction. But even if God were to act in this way, would I actually believe Him? Would I, like King Zedekiah, come up with a list of reasons why I might possibly do the thing I was so clearly instructed not to do?

Zedekiah listened to the officials who said Jeremiah must be wrong, allowing them to throw him down the cistern. Later, Zedekiah was afraid of how the Judeans would treat him if he listened to Jeremiah and surrendered, and so he told Jeremiah to not tell anyone about the conversation. You can probably guess the outcome. The Lord spoke with conviction, but the king did not listen.

While I wish I were more like Jeremiah, the truth is, I probably live my life a lot more like Zedekiah. I’m able to read God’s Word and then turn around and act in the complete opposite of its instructions. My conversation is not always gracious nor is it seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6). I love money (Matthew 6:24) and put my hope in all sorts of things other than God (1Peter 1:13). I have very little self-control (Proverbs 25:28), and my heart is often bitter and angry (Ephesians 4:31).

The reality is that I want God to be clear in His instruction, but only when it benefits me, when His Word aligns with my self-interests and goals. When He is clear and it stings a little, or when He asks me to sacrifice or change for my good and His glory, I pretend that’s not really what He’s saying. But even though I see myself in the willful, self-justifying defiance of Zedekiah, I can rest assured knowing that his fate is not mine, because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. When I look to Jesus, there is no cost too great to follow Him.

Post Comments (74)

74 thoughts on "Zedekiah’s Final Meeting with Jeremiah"

  1. NanaK says:

    Psalm 40:1–3 (CSB):
    1 I waited patiently for the LORD,
    and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
    2 He brought me up from a desolate pit,
    out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock,
    making my steps secure. 3 He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and they will trust in the LORD.

    How many times has the LORD heard my cry and brought me out of the pit? Countless!!! How many more times is He willing to do this for me? COUNTLESS!!! And when (IF) I open my mouth to sing His praises…MANY will see and fear, and they will trust in the LORD!
    WOW—I needed this reminder today. Even during this time of “social distancing,” I can still sing of HIS praises!
    Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
    to be happy in JESUS,
    but to trust and obey…

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      Yes yes yes, Nanak! Love that hymn and your encouragement ❤️

    2. Leslie Warnick says:

      ❤️

  2. LeAnn Schmitt says:

    Thank you for sharing that testimony, Tina! Priceless.

  3. Cathe says:

    Truth is in the Word of God. I too am a Paul, not doing what I should do, and then doing what I know I shouldn’t do. If I stay in the Word I am convicted and it gets easier to follow it.

  4. Melissa Graves says:

    Yes to saying “yes” to God! How many times have I turned a deaf ear to Him when obeying would be as simple as saying a kind word or executing a kind gesture toward my 92 year old fil who suffers from dementia? God forgive me and turn this heart of stone into a heart of flesh! Thank you, ladies, for sharing your lives on this community page. Have a blessed and obedience filled day!

  5. Rebekah C says:

    See, I agree with everything the woman says in her reflection except the last part.

    Yes Jesus saves us from eternal damnation, but has she not read Hebrews 12, the entire chapter?!?

    When I read Hebrews 12, I see that God does discipline us because He loves us. That we are chastised, even to the point of being wounded, for our own benefit. Hebrews 12 is a bitter reality, not all that we suffer is because of someone else, sometimes we suffer because of our own doing.

    Do we accept suffering when it comes our way, trials and tribulation?

    Those temper our faith, test us, mold us, and refine us.

    Do you run from suffering or count it all joy?

    1. Pamela Moretz says:

      Spanish Eyes

      The king chose to hide the truth and God chose to hide the king because of truth.

  6. Angie says:

    Jeremiah spoke God’s message, period.
    King Zedekiah didn’t like it. It was not what he wanted to hear. He kept asking for it to be repeated, but it didn’t change. Jeremiah did not placate the king with a gentler message, because the words were not his own, they were God’s.
    King Jehoiakim earlier burned the Word of the Lord when he didn’t like it. Trying to destroy God’s Word didn’t change it either.
    “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
    …all have sinned (you and I, a lost world)
    A lost world hungry for answers.
    A lost world hungry for hope.
    God’s message of salvation is the answer.
    God’s message of salvation is hope.
    When God puts His message on our lips, we need to speak His message, period.
    Nothing more, nothing less.
    It may not be accepted. It may be met with ridicule.
    We may suffer, but what if…
    one seed is planted, and that seed sprouts, and a single person is brought into the kingdom?
    That one seed: a son, a daughter, a grandchild, a neighbor. The seed matters, always, to God.
    Throughout scripture, (Old and New Testament) we are told to Love the Lord our God with all our hearts, our souls, our mind, and our strength.
    2 John 1:6 reminds us, “And this is love; that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.”
    Loving God is a walk of obedience.
    Simple obedience. Obedient words, obedient actions, pouring out of a heart, soul, and mind redeemed.
    Purify our hearts Oh God.
    While we isolate ourselves, do not let us isolate the message of the gospel!
    Instead may it spread, first through the good soil of a pure heart, grounded in prayer, rained upon in worship, sprouting forth in glorious praise, blossoming in sinners set free.
    Me.
    You.
    Them.
    A garden of fragrance to honor our King.

    1. Julie Murray says:

      Beautiful

    2. Jen Brewer says:

      Beautifully said. Agreed ❤️

  7. Rachiel says:

    Thank you, Tina, for sharing.

  8. Ariel Harris says:

    Praying for you all. Pray for me too! Anxiety knocks at my door and I just need to run back to God!

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