Reality check: Prayer is Not Enough; God Requires Obedience!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Jeremiah 37-41

The prophetic ministry of Jeremiah has taken him from the grandstand of the king’s palace to the stocks of a prison cell; however, the devotion of God’s prophet to the LORD and his message of God’s impending judgment on Judah has been consistent.   Zedekiah, the last king of Judah before the Chaldeans defeated the nation and took the people captive, failed to heed God’s Word (37:2); however, as the armies of the Chaldeans and the Egyptians clashed over the spoils of Judah, the king hypocritically called upon Jeremiah saying, “Pray now unto the LORD our God for us” (37:3).

Rather than prayer, the LORD directed Jeremiah to warn king Zedekiah that He had determined the destruction of Jerusalem and the Chaldeans would burn the city (37:6-10).   Rather than repent, the people took God’s prophet, beat him and cast him into prison (37:11-21).   The hearts of the people were so hardened against the LORD, they rose up and demanded Jeremiah be put to death (38:1-4).

For the prophet, things went from bad to worse when king Zedekiah heeded the demands of the leaders of Jerusalem and delivered Jeremiah into their hands who then took him from prison and left him to die in a dungeon described as a place where “there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire” (38:5-6).  Providentially, a man named Ebedmelech interceded for Jeremiah and petitioned the king for the old prophet’s release from the dungeon (38:7-13) and his removal to the palace prison where he remained until the Chaldeans conquered Jerusalem (38:14-28).

Jeremiah 39 records the siege of Jerusalem. Having failed to heed Jeremiah’s counsel to surrender the city to Nebuchadnezzar, king Zedekiah and his sons fled Jerusalem (39:1-5). Tragically, the sons of Zedekiah and all the nobles of Judah were slain before putting out the king’s eyes and leading he and the people to Babylon (39:6-10).  In an ironic, but also providential twist of fate, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed Jeremiah from prison and directed his servants to care for his needs and released the old prophet to go home (39:11-14; 40:1-6).

Friend, history is “His Story”; a testimony of the providential works of God Who is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all things.  He is El Shaddai, Almighty God and directs the evil purposes of wicked men to His ends for the good of His people and for His glory (Romans 8:28-29).  Whatever or whoever you may face today is not so big they are outside the sovereignty of El Shaddai!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith