Following God doesn’t mean there won’t be trouble.
While Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army and all the kingdoms and peoples in the empire he ruled were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding towns, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go to Zedekiah king of Judah and tell him, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to give this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3 You will not escape from his grasp but will surely be captured and given into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon with your own eyes, and he will speak with you face to face. And you will go to Babylon.
4 “‘Yet hear the Lord’s promise to you, Zedekiah king of Judah. This is what the Lord says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; 5 you will die peacefully. (Jeremiah 34:1-5a, NIV)
God doesn’t spare us from trouble, but he goes with us through it.
As I read, I see Zedekiah and the people switch gears, and in doing so, change their fate. I read of another leader who hears the words from the Lord and sets them on fire, with blatant disregard–like saying, “I don’t want to hear it, and I don’t want to see it either.”
These chapters highlight pride, sin, integrity, faith, and so much more. Throughout all of it, I see how God, in his love, sends a warning, time and again.
12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying: 13 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. 14 ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened to me. 16 The descendants of Jehonadab son of Rekab have carried out the command their forefather gave them, but these people have not obeyed me.’
17 “Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.’” (Jeremiah 35:12-17, NIV, emphasis mine)
There’s a lot going on in these chapters, and a lot of people. I wanted to get clear on who is who, so I searched for “whatever happened to Zedekiah,” not reading ahead. I got the story on him.
Lord, your word is full of real life examples. How often have I been negligent to listen to you? I want to listen well trust you. You give me your word in my hands. You want me to know you and follow you and love you. You’ve always pursued me. You are so faithful. And I am so grateful.