Week 43 Day 7
Saturday (Jeremiah 34 – 40, Psalms 74, 79)
Jeremiah delivered the Lord’s judgment. King Zedekiah, his court, and the people of Judah had ignored God “… even if you were to defeat all the Babylonian forces fighting against you so badly that only wounded men were left lying in their tents, they would get up and burn this city down.”
He was falsely accused of intent to desert to the Babylonians, flogged and imprisoned. When the king summoned him and asked if there was word from the Lord he told him what he had before, that the Babylonians would destroy the city and take him prisoner. He asked not to be left in prison and was moved to the courtyard and given a loaf of bread a day until all of the bread in the city was gone – due to the siege.
Jeremiah was again falsely charged with treason and lowered into a muddy cistern [a shallow well] and left to die. The king was aware of the plan but said he could not prevent it. An Ethiopian official received the king’s permission to rescue him from the cistern but not the courtyard.
He was secretly summoned to the king where he repeated the requirement that he surrender or he and the city would be destroyed. He was instructed by the king to tell no one of his conversation. He remain imprisoned in the courtyard.
Just as Jeremiah had warned, the failure of the king to surrender to the Babylonians resulted in terrible consequences; not only was Jerusalem destroyed and the people taken away to Babylon “There at Riblah the king of Babylon had Zedekiah’s sons put to death while Zedekiah was forced to watch. The king of Babylon also had all the nobles of Judah put to death. 39:7 Then he had Zedekiah’s eyes put out and had him bound in chains to be led off to Babylon.”
Jeremiah was protected by the orders of the Babylonian king and allowed to remain among the people. Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian was also protected for acting from faith in rescuing Jeremiah.
Gedaliah was appointed by the Babylonians to oversee the remnant people and a community rose at Mizpah. Some soldiers who had been hiding, as well as civilians who also managed to hide from the Babylonian army, joined them. “Thus they harvested a large amount of wine and dates and figs.”
The Rechabites proved that it was possible to keep ones word across many generations.
King Zedekiah was so confused that even as he deliberately ignored the Lord, and mistreated His prophet, he still asked him for help and information from God. The Lord kept providing opportunities for the people to choose faithful-obedience to Him and they persisted in rebellion.
Lord, You had to send a foreigner to rescue Jeremiah because none of his people were listening to you. May I be watchful as Your blessing may come from an unexpected source. Please reveal to me any place where I have read Your Word but have chosen to ignore it. Amen. dmc2016