Updated: Feb 14
This Week's Scripture & Reflection: Jeremiah 32:1-5
Hearing the unfiltered truth about someone, something, or even oneself can be extremely upsetting. We tend to readily accept the evaluations of our character and personality that agree with our spirits and subsequently reject the ones that do not, even if those notions can be factually supported. Despite the difficulty associated with hearing and receiving valid, unbiased assessments of ourselves, it is necessary for our growth as individuals! As opposed to welcoming the truth that we need to hear, however, we often find ways to avoid it, escape it, or even remove its source so that we do not have to confront it directly. It's our futile way of trying to escape something that is inescapable.
This is the position King Zedekiah of Judah found himself in while dealing with the prophet Jeremiah. In today's passage, we find Jeremiah imprisoned inside the house of King Zedekiah while the army of the nation of Babylon (also referred to as the Chaldeans) lays siege to the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah (v. 1-2). As it turns out, King Zedekiah was the one who imprisoned Jeremiah for delivering an unfavorable yet necessary message from the Lord (v. 3). Speaking as God's mouthpiece, Jeremiah had previously declared to Zedekiah that the Lord was going to give both the southern kingdom of Judah and Zedekiah into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar II, the king of Babylon. He blatantly informed Zedekiah that he and the people of Judah would not succeed if they tried to fight against the Babylonians.
While this was not the news that Zedekiah wanted to hear amidst the Babylonians laying siege to Jerusalem, it was what he needed to hear. Ultimately, Jeremiah was not speaking on his own accord, for even Zedekiah recounted that Jeremiah began his prophetic message by saying, "This is what the Lord says". Moreover, the Lord's sovereign decision to give King Zedekiah and the nation of Judah into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar II was not a random one; it was His judgment upon Judah for their constant disobedience and rebellion against Himself. While a few notable righteous kings did indeed rule over Judah prior to Zedekiah, including his own father Josiah, Zedekiah himself was not one of them. He continued in the evil ways of his brothers who reigned as kings before him and further contributed to Judah's demise (cf. 2 Kings 24:18-20).
Upset with the Lord's judgment delivered through Jeremiah, Zedekiah sentenced Jeremiah to prison. However, imprisoning him was not going to change the Lord's mind concerning Judah's punishment! Jeremiah's message deeply convicted Zedekiah; he knew that his own evil ways and failure to rule in righteousness caused Judah's downfall as well as his refusal to heed to Jeremiah's divine counsel. From the beginning of his ministry, Jeremiah repeatedly called the nation of Judah to turn from their wicked ways and submit to the Lord, and yet the majority of them refused to obey, resulting in wrath and judgment being stored up for them that was eventually realized in 586 BC when their nation was utterly conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar II and the nation of Babylon.
As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we must realize that people in the world and even worldly systems will try to silence and or intimidate us through various methods to prevent us from proclaiming the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Those who hear the gospel message are held accountable to that message and must decide whether or not they are going to heed to its call to confess their sins to the Lord, believe in their heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess that Jesus is Lord (cf. Romans 10:9)! The truth of the matter is that every knee will bow at the name of Jesus and confess that He is Lord, regardless of whether one chooses to believe and follow Jesus Christ while on this Earth or not; it's simply a matter of when (cf. Philippians 2:10).
If you have not yet entered into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, do not delay any further! If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved from God's ultimate judgment of sin, sealed with the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and receive eternal life! Receive His truth today!