In Today's Scripture Reading:
Jeremiah imprisoned in a dungeon; his counsel rejected; Jerusalem destroyed; Jeremiah set free; Ishmael's plan to assassinate Gedaliah
During the 11th year of Zedekiah's evil reign, the armies of Nebuchadnezzar surrounded Jerusalem and Zedekiah frantically said to Jeremiah: Inquire . . . of the Lord for us; for Nebuchadrezzar . . . maketh war against us (Jeremiah 21:2). But the answer from the Lord was firm: I have set My face against this city . . . the king of Babylon . . . shall burn it with fire (21:10). Neither Zedekiah, nor the people of the land, did hearken (listen) unto the words of the Lord, which He spake by the prophet Jeremiah (37:2).
Believing that Egypt would protect his kingdom from the Babylonians, Zedekiah sent his officials to Egypt to make an alliance. Because it also seemed wise to show "good will" to the prophet, Zedekiah the king sent . . . (a) priest to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the Lord our God for us (37:3). Instead of praying, Jeremiah replied: Thus saith the Lord; Deceive not yourselves . . . The Chaldeans shall. . . . burn this city with fire (37:9-10).
When the Chaldean army retreated from Jerusalem, the Israelites believed their alliance with Egypt had been successful without the prayers of the prophet. Yet Zedekiah was uneasy. He removed Jeremiah from prison and . . . asked him secretly in his house . . . Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is . . . thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon (37:17).
The fortified city of Jerusalem held out for nearly a year and a half. During this time the people suffered the horrors of famine, pestilence, and cannibalism. When Zedekiah finally attempted to escape the city at night, he was captured near Jericho, where Joshua much earlier had victoriously begun the conquest of the promised land (39:5).
Zedekiah was blinded, taken to Babylon, and imprisoned (39:7). He is an example of the consequences of those who refuse to seek the Lord's forgiveness for their sins. Regarding those, the Apostle Paul wrote: The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (II Corinthians 4:4).
By Jeremiah, who stood as a faithful witness to the revealed will of God (Jeremiah 38:2-9). Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness (testimony) against Jesus, to put Him to death (Matthew 26:59).
37:16 cabins =b> cells; 38:4 weakeneth the hands of =b> discourages; 38:12 cast clouts =b> worn-out clothes; 38:19 mock me =b> abuse me; 39:18 for a prey =b> as a prize; 40:4 forbear =b> do what you prefer.
Pray for Government Official: Rep. Nathan Deal (GA) Country: Ethiopia (60 million) in eastern Africa Major languages: Amharic and Tigrinya Unsettled after overthrow of communist regime 41% Eastern Orthodox; 35% Muslim; 10% Protestant; 10% animist; .7% Roman Catholic Prayer Suggestion: Ask for the Lord's blessings and peace upon His children (Numbers 6:24-27).
Optional Reading: III John 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 4:13