Highlights In Today's Reading:
Jeremiah was branded a traitor and imprisoned. The king secretly searches him out looking for a word from God. Once again Jeremiah's enemies seek his death (38:4). Rescued from the dungeon (38:13), Jeremiah's message is firm: surrender (38:17).
In the tenth and eleventh years of Zedekiah's reign the armies of Egypt and Babylon were warring for mastery. Fearful of the consequences, Zedekiah appealed to the prophet to intercede in prayer for a favorable outcome. He had requested Jeremiah's counsel once before (Jeremiah 21), when the king of Babylon's army first approached. Like the Egyptian Pharaoh of Moses' day, his reason for asking for the Lord's message was relief from imminent dangers. He showed no desire to repent of his sins and his seeking the Lord was motivated only by his selfish desire for security. Jeremiah received this answer: The Chaldeans (Babylonians) shall come again, and fight against this city (Jerusalem), and take it, and burn it with fire. Thus saith the Lord; Deceive not yourselves (37:8-9).
The prophesied judgment was fulfilled as the nation was conquered by Babylon as foretold by Jeremiah and the king is held captive (39:6-7; II Chronicles 36:11-12,19-21).
Delusions come upon all who turn from God. Zedekiah trusted in and requested help from the Egyptians. He would not accept God's messages through Jeremiah that the Chaldean power would scatter the forces of Pharaoh. Judah rejected God and trusted in Egypt (Deuteronomy 17:16).
Godly Jeremiah suffered five imprisonments for his faithfulness to God as well as for loyalty to his country. He was also imprisoned for treason (Jeremiah 37:11-15) and later he was lowered into a muddy dungeon (38:6).
God eventually released a disobedient nation to destruction by a ruthless enemy.
Zedekiah attempted to escape but was captured near Jericho and forced to watch as his family was murdered. Zedekiah's eyes were then put out. Blinded and suffering, he was taken in chains to Babylon with many regrets, thus fulfilling the prophecies that foretold the details of this horrifying experience. (See Ezekiel 12:13; II Kings 25:7; Jeremiah 32:4; 39:6-7.)
Our Creator's plan of salvation will not be altered for man's demands nor will any other means of securing His mercy be accepted. After prolonged rejection, God warns: Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me (Proverbs 1:24,27-28).
Thought for Today:
As servants of God, we are required to be faithful even in the face of adversity.
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 Staff: Ken Sharp • Government Official: Rep. Nathan Deal (GA) • Country: China, Mainland (1.242 billion) in eastern Asia • Major languages: Standard Chinese (Putonghua) or Mandarin (based on the Beijing dialect) • Renewed persecution of the Church • 16% Asian (including Fulun Gong); 8% Buddhist; 3% Muslim; number of Christians unknown but growing; 10% Atheist • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord for help when you have a need (II Chron. 14:11).
Optional Reading: 3 John 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:18