Read Jeremiah 37
Highlights In Today's Reading:
See four kinds of people: The wicked who hate and hurt those who stand for God and His Word (37:11-16; 38:1-6); the disobedient who want God to bless them but will not repent of their sins (37:1-3,17; 38:14,20); Jeremiah, the faithful one who willingly suffers for God (40:1-6); and the compromiser, the "puppet" governor (40:5-16).
During the last year of Zedekiah's reign, the armies of Nebuchadnezzar had surrounded Jerusalem. His request on a former occasion had been for a prophecy when the king of Babylon's army first approached.
Still Zedekiah did not repent of his sins and turn to the Lord — neither he . . . nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the Words of the Lord (37:2). Feeling very threatened it seemed wise to ask Jeremiah to pray now unto the Lord our God for us (37:3). But Jeremiah would not pray; instead he said: Thus saith the Lord; Deceive not yourselves (37:9). Later, Jeremiah was arrested, accused of defecting to Babylon, beaten, and put in prison (37:12-16).
Zedekiah and the people believed that Egypt was a match for Babylon and if the conflict were shifted to these two great powers they would regain their independence.
Thus, when the Chaldean army retreated from Jerusalem at the advance of Pharaoh-Hophra (37:5; 44:30), Zedekiah believed his revolt against Nebuchadnezzar and his alliance with Egypt were quite successful without the prayers of Jeremiah.
Later, Zedekiah secretly removed Jeremiah from prison and asked him: Is there any Word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said He, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon (37:17; see 32:2-4).
The strongly-fortified city of Jerusalem held out for nearly a year and a half (II Kin. 24:20 — 25:7), during which time the people suffered the horrors of famine and pestilence. Zedekiah, eventually realized that defeat was inevitable and attempted to escape. Judah's last king, the son of godly Josiah, was captured near Jericho (Jer. 39:5), the place of Joshua's first victory.
Zedekiah was blinded and imprisoned (39:7) as an example of what eventually happens to all who stubbornly refuse to repent of their sins. The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not (II Cor. 4:4). How easily sinners deceive themselves when their desires rather than the Lord is the primary influence over their decisions.
Zedekiah illustrates the accuracy of the prophet Jeremiah's testimony: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9).
Thought for Today:
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord (Ps. 31:24) P.T.L.
By Jeremiah, who stood as a faithful witness to the revealed will of God (Jer. 38:2-9). Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness (testimony) against Jesus, to put Him to death (Matt. 26:59).
37:16 cabins = cells; 38:4 weakeneth the hands of = discourages; 38:12 cast clouts = torn-out clothes; 38:19 mock = abuse; 39:18 for a prey = as a prize; 40:4 forbear = to what you prefer.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Staff: Pam Pendergrast • Government Official: Rep. Nathan Deal (GA) • Country: Barbados (259,000) on the island farthest east in the West Indies • Major language: English • Religious freedom • 79% Protestant; 8% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Let your prayers express gratitude to God for His wonderful works (Ps. 9:1).
Optional Reading: 3 John 1
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 10:33