Wavering about the Word of God
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
God never leaves us in any doubt about what the outcome will be if we disregard or reject His Word. The history of real people in the Biblical narrative give illustrations of this principle. We will look at the example of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah.
By the time he became king, the enemy forces of Babylonia were already on the doorstep of Israel. Times were perilous. The king was tempted to make an alliance with the Egyptians, which Jeremiah warned him not to do (the Egyptians lost the battle against Babylon). Look at how Zedekiah vacillated between believing the word of God through Jeremiah and listening to the advice of his officials. In the end he paid the price for his double mindedness - a very high price.
The prophet, Jeremiah is thrown into a dungeon, supposedly because he wanted to desert to the Babolonians. It was a false charge (Jeremiah 37:16).
Zedekiah visits him, and asks for a word from God (vs 17).
Jeremiah complains to the king about the false charge, and is transferred to custody in the courtyard of the guard (vs 21).
Jeremiah proceeds to warn the people to submit to the Babilonians as it is God’s will. When the people complain that Jeremiah is discouraging the soldiers, Zedekiah gives Jeremiah into their hands (38:1-5).
Jeremiah is thrown into a cistern (a water reservoir dug in the ground), and left to die in the mud.
A Cushite pleads on behalf of the prophet, and Zedekiah allows him to lift Jeremiah out (7-13).
Zedekiah again consults Jeremiah for a word from God. The word is the same: surrender to the king of Babylon and your life and the city will be spared (17-19).
Zedekiah’s complaint is that he is afraid of the people who joined the Babylonians (19).
Jeremiah reassures him that no harm will come to him (vs 20). Zedekian is again warned that the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed if he doesn’t surrender (vs 22-23).
Zedekiah’s only reaction is to warn Jeremiah that he must not tell the officials that he visited him and about the conversation (vs 24-27).
Jeremiah remained a prisoner in the courtyard until Jerusalem was captured (vs 28).
We see Zedekiah as a person who bowed to popular opinion and the advice of his officials. What God said never really mattered to him. What was his end? The Babylonians captured him as he tried to flee (39:5). His children were killed before his eyes (vs 6). His eyes were gouged out, and he was taken in shackles as a prisoner to a Babylonian jail (vs 7). What did Zedekiah think when he was a prisoner? He was not treated like royalty, since he broke a covenant he made with the Babylonians, and in those days it was reckoned as a very serious breech of confidence (2 Chronicles 36:13). He surely must have pondered God’s words in 2 Chronicles 36:15-16: ‘The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because He had pity on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers despised His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against His people and there was no remedy.’ In jail he was no longer his own boss, ordering servants for well-prepared meals, spending time in the company of his wives, playing with his children and enjoying them. Actually, his children were killed before his eyes and his wives taken by the Babylonians. What a memory! What pain and anguish. Oh, how he must have longed to turn the clock around so that he could listen to Jeremiah’s advice from the Lord.
The lesson for us: we may vacillate and never come to the point of believing and doing God’s will as written down in His Word, the Bible. It is disastrous, since our end after death is far worse than that of Zedekiah. It will last an eternity with the remorse that we lost the opportunity of bliss and happiness in God’s presence. There will not be a second chance. What a price to pay!