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. Dorothy says:

    King Zedekiah’s response to his officials reminds about Jeremiah of Pilate’s response to the pharisees about Jesus when the asked Pilate to crucify Jesus. Then when I read, “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.” Melanie Rainer made me realize how right I was. I, also, recognized how true these last two sentences of Melanie’s are. I don’t know about the rest of you my SRT sisters but I can see some truth about myself in what she wrote. Have a blessed day.
    So my SRT sisters satan was trying to get to me, first I was having trouble with my internet, then I had to change my usual browser but I got through and didn’t let him get the best of me.
    Lord thank for sending Your Son to die for us. I praise You and look to You for guidance in these troubled times. Amen

  2. Claudia says:

    Melanie, thank you for your honesty and being real with us! I think if we are honest, we are all like Zedekiah. I will be forever thankful for the mercy and grace provided to us by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.

  3. Kristina says:

    Wow. Today’s reading really hit home for me. The past few months I’ve been struggling to be with God. Refusing to make him a priority. This quarantine time I made a commitment to the Lord and myself that I would find Him again. I began with simply reading my Bible and SRT and praying daily and today His word just jumped out at me. It left me hungry for more. I have been Zedekiah too. hearing God but not wanting to listen. I’ve just wanted to keep “ doing my thing”. But today I heard him and I felt him through this text, and I surrendered ❤️

    1. Jennifer Anapol says:

      That’s amazing!! I pray you would continue to walk in the Lord!❤️ thank you for sharing!

    2. Krystyn Carey says:

      Surrender is amazing!

  4. Kelsey . says:

    “When I look to Jesus there is no cost to great to follow Him” that is my anthem today, nothing is worth more to me than Jesus

  5. Kelcy Pryor says:

    Melani has a lot of good points. A lot of times in my life when I know there’s been many signs not to do something I do it anyways. What is to say I would do different than the king? King Zedekiah’s fear to be capture by the Judeans is greater than his faith to God. What fear are we being kept back from that we cant see God’s faithfulness and love for us? My God is greater than my fears!!! I hope we can always see that God will be with us always and not let fear control us.

  6. Kerry Rowley says:

    Praying for all of my SRT sisters today whatever your situations may be. God called us here for “such a time as this”. I read each of these posts and know that these are challenging times. Thanks be to God that we are daughters of the King.

  7. Jessica Brink says:

    Wow this really hit me hard today. I’m so angry and sad at life right now. I know I have good things and God is in control but he feels very far away and silent. Praying that my heart will be softened and I’ll be able to trust in Him as this current season unfolds.

    1. Helena Rose says:

      Praying for you Jessica!!

    2. Mari V says:

      Praying for you Jessica.

  8. Rachel Anne says:

    Thank you, Rebecca, I’ll check it out! ❤️

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