Focus Verse: But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again. (11)
King Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem finally decided to obey the Lord and free their fellow Hebrew slaves. But after they freed them, they changed their minds and made them slaves again. We think of slavery as a horrible act that was abolished way back when, but slavery still exists in many places all around the world. And worse than being in physical or sexual slavery, there are millions of people who are spiritually enslaved to Satan.
In contrast, faith in Christ is all about freedom. The Bible says that who the Son sets free, is free indeed. No one can snatch them out of His hand and enslave them again.
Focus Verse: Then King Zedekiah sent for him and had him brought to the palace, where he asked him privately, “Is there any word from the Lord?” “Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon.” (17)
One would think that after being unjustly imprisoned, Jeremiah would not tell King Zedekiah the harsh truth. Perhaps telling the King a nice lie would keep him from being thrown back into prison. He had been faithfully proclaiming the words of the Lord for such a long time and all he received in return for his faithfulness was hate and disrespect. However, Jeremiah never became bitter at the Lord. He never slacked in delivering the messages God gave him to deliver, no matter how doom-filled they were.
Speaking the word of God may not get us showered with rose petals and applause, but we must remain faithful in reading, believing, obeying, and proclaiming it.
Focus Verse: “They will not hand you over,” Jeremiah replied. “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you, and your life will be spared. (20)
It is never too late to turn from sin and obey the Lord. Jeremiah had confirmed more than once that Babylon was going to conquer Jerusalem – no if, ands, or buts. The fall was a done deal. God was weary of the sins of His people and now He had no choice but to punish them. However, He had not grown weary of showing mercy. If King Zedekiah obeyed the Lord by doing what Jeremiah told him to do, God wanted him to know that everything would go well with him and his life would be spared.
Focus Verse: Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. (9)
This was Jesus the Christ in communication with His Father. He was always concerned with doing God’s will, not His own. We can tell from His intense, pleading prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane that Christ did not want to go to the cross. He would have preferred not to drink the bitter cup that was offered Him. But His desire to do His Father’s will caused Him to pray, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” And His amazing love for us propelled Him to the cross.
Can we say like the Old Testament’s Isaiah – “Here am I. Send me!”?
Can we say like our Lord Jesus, Who is also our perfect example – “Here I am, I have come to do your will”?