Preach God’s Word at Your Peril (Jeremiah 37)

Scripture reading – Jeremiah 37

God’s Word Rejected a Second Time (37:1-3)

Our timeline moves from the reign of Jehoiakim (the third to the last king of Judah, 36:1), to Zedekiah (37:1). Zedekiah succeeded Jeconiah as king, after that king (known as Coniah or Jehoiachin) reigned for three months, until he was deposed by Nebuchadnezzar (37:1).

Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, continued the obstinance of Jehoiakim, by rejecting “the words of the Lord, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah” (37:2). With the army of Babylon laying siege to the city, the king appealed to Jeremiah requesting through his servants, “Pray now unto the Lord our God for us” (37:3).

Warning: Don’t Put Your Confidence in Egypt (37:4-10)

Fearless and faithful to his calling, Jeremiah “came in and went out among the people: they had not put him into prison” (37:4). It was at that time the news, “Pharaoh’s army was come forth out of Egypt” (37:5) reached Jerusalem. The Chaldean army withdrew from their siege against Jerusalem (37:5), and some believed the city had been spared from destruction.

Jeremiah warned the king to not put his faith in Pharaoh’s army, for his soldiers would return to Egypt (37:7). The prophet warned, don’t be deceived, for Babylon would come again and burn the city as the LORD had foretold (37:8-10).

Arrested and Imprisoned (37:11-21)

As he departed Jerusalem, Jeremiah was accused of treason, persecuted, then imprisoned in a dungeon (37:11-16). He suffered in the dungeon for many days, until Zedekiah sought the prophet counsel in secret, and asked if he had “any word from the LORD?” (37:17).

The prophet answered the king, contending to know the crime he had committed that warranted his imprisonment (37:18). He wisely questioned the king, asking where were the prophets who had prophesied, “The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?” (37:19)

Closing thought – Jeremiah foretold the king would not die in the siege on Jerusalem, but would be removed to Babylon where he would live out his days (37:17). He then petitioned the king, asking to be removed from the dungeon, lest he die there (37:20). Zedekiah honored the prophet’s request, and commanded he be provided a daily ration of bread (37:21).

I close today’s devotional, being reminded there are times it is the will of God for His choicest servants to suffer. Jeremiah was hated, rejected, suffered persecution and imprisonment, because he was a faithful servant and a preacher of God’s Word. The king and the nation despised the Word of God, and hated His servant. Let all who love, and serve the LORD remember: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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