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. Connie says:

    Thank you to all who have posted. I have been so blessed by all of you. I am reminded that my struggle is shared and we can cover each other in prayer.

  2. PAM G WILLIAMS says:

    My, how our God’s co-ordinates all he is trying to teach us. This morning I read my devotional, Gentle Spirit, which today was written by Twila Paris. She quoted Psalms 40:1-3, saying her song Running to the Rescue was based on it. Then I read the passages in Jeremiah and Psalms today. There is was again. I have prayed this Psalm many times before. I looked up the lyrics to the song. May they bless you:
    “Running To The Rescue”

    Running to the rescue
    He will come to save you
    Running to the rescue
    He will come to save you

    Listening every time you cry
    He delights in you
    Scattering evil left and right
    Just to get you through

    Running to the rescue
    He will come to save you
    Righteous anger flaming
    Little child reclaiming

    He is a Father to his own
    Ever watching you
    Said, “You will never be alone”
    Every word is true

    Call on the Lord who is worthy of praise
    You will be saved from the enemy
    He is your Shield and Salvation always
    You will be saved from the enemy

    Running to the rescue
    He will come to save you
    Righteous anger burning
    Victory returning

    Can you see Him coming?
    See your Father running
    Running to the rescue
    He will come to save you
    Running to the rescue

  3. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I pray that I would be able to follow the instruction of the Lord, even when it’s not what I want to hear. I’m so thankful that when I do stray and disobey, God forgives me and brings me back to himself.

  4. Dorothy says:

    Tricia Cavanaugh praying for you and right there with you being a nurse.
    Tina, Churchmouse, Angie love what you said.
    Amen NanaK, Claudia, Loana Colpitts, Jenna and Bridgette Alvarez
    I am praying for you Jessica Brink.

    1. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Thank you Dorothy. May we continue to lift each other up in prayer.

  5. Bridgette Alvarez says:

    Like in the scriptures today, I struggle with making the right decisions because I worry about what others will think or what they will do to me. I don’t like being made fun of or pain in anyway. But God’s word says, “ And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28. I would love to say that when troubles come my first and only reaction is to seek God but it’s not. There’s still a period of panic and confusion. So my prayer is for immediate obedience. In praying this I know my faith will be tested in order to get there.

    1. Amy L says:

      This comment is so similar to what I am struggling with. I am dealing with so much confusion, panic, and feelings that I need to do something to control things around me. I pray that I am able to more quickly seek God and ask for help…it has been taking me way too long to get there!

  6. Jenna says:

    Today’s passages reminded me that obedience is rarely (if ever) glamorous. Jeremiah is beaten, imprisoned, and thrown into a cistern. Yet God calls us to daily make small decisions over and over again to follow him. I have to daily make the decision to die to myself. Lord, help me to be obedient in the little things today: in how I speak to my family members, in serving others and not just myself, and in where I give my time and attention. Holy Spirit, help me to do these things unto the Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen

    1. Carolee Moore says:

      ❤️

  7. Haley Z says:

    Wow Melanie! Your message truly hit home for me as I can assure you that you are not alone! I, too, have prayed endlessly for clarity and God’s voice to direct me exactly what to do…but even if he did I probably wouldn’t follow it and maybe do the exact opposite. Our free will may be the most sinful thing because often we choose the wrong thing whether it be something that seems insignificant or a major dishonoring decision. I pray that I choose God-honoring actions, words, thoughts and that I truly want to follow God’s word because it is good and just to do so.

  8. Loana Colpitts says:

    WOW so good … I know I need to do better, be better. With your transparency and authenticity I don’t feel alone today … thank you !
    Like Paul said “I will press on towards the prize… “

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