Pastor’s Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 37-39
In Jeremiah 37, we find Jeremiah giving the same message to Zedekiah that he has given to him over and over. The message from the Lord had not changed, but Zedekiah was unwilling to accept it. It seems that Zedekiah asks Jeremiah to pray again hoping God had changed His mind. God does do something that is unusual in that He uses the Egyptians to create a distraction to break the siege that the Chaldeans had on Jerusalem. They leave Jerusalem to deal with the threat of the Egyptians. Jeremiah is clearly giving Zedekiah a message from the Lord when he told him that the Egyptians will go back home and the Chaldeans will return to Jerusalem to burn it and take Zedekiah captive. Verse four states that Jeremiah was free to move around the region as he saw fit, but that all changes in verse 11. As Jeremiah heads home to tend to some family matters, the captain of the prison sees Jeremiah and considers him a traitor, because he has predicted the capture and subsequent captivity of Judah to the Babylonians. The leaders beat Jeremiah and put him into prison. Zedekiah seizes the opportunity to move Jeremiah from the dungeon to the palace. He then secretly asks him, “is there any word from the Lord?” (vs. 17) He is like a little kid who asks the same question over and over because he doesn’t like the answer. I think Zedekiah thought Jeremiah would be motivated after his beating and imprisonment to tell him what he wanted to hear. However, Jeremiah was a faithful messenger of the Lord and told Zedekiah clearly what God had said. How sad it is when preachers today are more motivated by what people will think or what people will do rather than being motivated by what God has told them to say. The truth is to be delivered in love, but the truth cannot change. The preacher’s job is to present truth so the hearer can respond properly to it and God can accomplish His work for His glory. To water down the truth may be more palatable now for the hearer, but in the end it will have consequences for both the hearer and the preacher. Although Jeremiah was innocent, Zedekiah refused to hear the plea of Jeremiah to be released and handed him over to the princes who cast him into the dungeon where he sat in the mire to die. (38:6) However, God was still watching out for Jeremiah and sent an Ethiopian to approach the king and rescue Jeremiah. Zedekiah tries one more time to get a different answer from Jeremiah who pleads with the king to accept the answer from the Lord. In chapter 39 we find the fulfillment of the prophecy. Zedekiah is captured, he witnesses the slaying of his kids and nobles, and then his eyes are put out and he is carried away. However, the Lord, who causes the captain of the guard to care for Jeremiah, as he gave this command to his men, “Take him, and look well to him, and do him no harm; but do unto him even as he shall say unto thee.” (39:12) God not only takes care of Jeremiah, but He does not forget the work of the Ethiopian. Here is a lesson for all of us in this closing verse to the Ethiopian. “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.” (39:18) We must trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not unto our own understanding! In the end, God will clearly direct our paths. He is a faithful God!
• Lord, please help me to never doubt your control even if wrongly accused and put into prison. Thank you for this illustration of your sovereignty and constant control over the affairs of life.
• Lord, please help me to always be true to your word. May I never waiver from truth no matter the consequences. Help me to grow in my faith, knowing you never make a mistake and that you are always in control.
• Lord, thank you for your faithfulness and for giving to us the source of truth. It is such a gift of grace for us to have the complete revelation of yourself in the word of God.