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. Kylie Ho says:

    but when we look to Christ, no cost is too great to follow Him. Wow. Indeed, amen. May our eyes be forever fixed on Jesus Christ our Savior, the author and perfector of our faith.

  2. Kristina says:


  3. Barbara Holland says:

    Tina, I loved your comment to today’s reading. You did not ‘speak’ too long…nor did you need to say more. “But God!” And “it was about God!” He is such a wonderful Savior. And like the song says, “the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows.” I have been His child for 48 years now and I can attest to those words with a HUGE Amen!!

  4. Catherine W says:

    I am reminded that God’s Hans was on Jeremiah. Things were bad for Jeremiah. In fact, at moments I’m pretty sure they couldn’t have been worse. But he continued to be obedient and he continued to see the Lord act on his behalf.

  5. R says:

    “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”
    Wow. How many of us are feeling that one sting?

  6. Jodie says:

    Wow. God has blown me away today. I am working through the Bible study Experiencing God… today was about how God told the Israelites “if you follow me, I will subdue your enemies” and instead they decided to do it their way. Later on, a question is asked “what do you think God is doing for your country?” These instances are similar. If only we trust in God and his Word over all the NOISE of this world, how much better off we would be. To walk in the garden with him is way better than whatever temporary option we have here, hey? May we all be a little more attuned to his plan for this world and ourselves, especially in our current time-when we aren’t sure what he is wanting for us, rather than intense peace and rest in Him. My favorite was this: It is better to understand what God wants you do, rather than telling God what you want to do for him. If the Israelites has listened, their future would’ve been drastically different. If Zedekiah had listened to Jeremiah, who had spoken God’s words, how life would’ve been different. Let’s understand Him, and listen quietly to his response.

  7. Truth Seeker says:

    CAMILLE ENGLISH DAVIS TRUTH ! I too have CHOSEN to be deceived such as you have.
    Jeremiah 17:9 New International Version (NIV)
    9 The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?
    I am sooooo greatful for God’s mercy which is new every morning and His amazing grace which He bestows on me. In spite of me. Blessed be the Name of the Lord!

  8. Camille English Davis says:

    “Don’t deceive yourselves. . .” I reflect on the many times I have CHOSEN to be deceived. Times when I chose to believe half truths and whole lies because the truth was too inconvenient. I stubbornly held tightly to my truth and rejected God’s truth… Very grateful for this opportunity to see myself, repent, and celebrate God’s great mercy! Thank you my Father…

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