Getting a Word from the Lord
Jeremiah 37:17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.
Zedekiah finds himself in horrible conditions
He and his people have refused to listen to the Word of God Jeremiah 37:1 And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah. 2 But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of the Lord, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah.
The city was under siege by the Chaldeans Jeremiah 37:5 Then Pharaoh’s army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem.
Zekekiah sends a messenger to Jeremiah to pray for them Jeremiah 37:3 And Zedekiah the king sent Jehucal the son of Shelemiah and Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, Pray now unto the Lord our God for us.
Zedekiah is too proud to go talk to the man of God who he has totally disrespected
He sends someone to tell Jeremiah what to do almost by government fiat
Proud as king but fearful to be seen conferring with the man of God
Apparently God’s people, Judah feels like God should protect them just because of who they are
Our world is also finds itself in horrible conditions
The entire world is under a death sentence, hell awaits nearly all and the majority have no idea of that truth
Do you believe that the Bible is truly the Word of God and true
Is there a literal hell where those that have not believed in Jesus Christ will suffer forever
Are we responsible to do all that we can to get the gospel, the good news of salvation to them
Have we been obedient to what we know the Scriptures say
Is it possible that we live spiritual lives that are detached from Biblical reality
Over 2/3rds of the world does not know Jesus and most do even know about Him
Either we are heavily responsible or all of this is a sad joke
Zedekiah and God’s chosen people have an honest choice to pick from
The popular preachers with their popular messages Jeremiah 37:19 Where are now your prophets which prophesied unto you, saying, The king of Babylon shall not come against you, nor against this land?
The painful truth that God said Jeremiah 37:9 Thus saith the Lord; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart. 10 For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire.
Jeremiah’s preaching hurts the morale of the people living in sin and rebellion Jeremiah 38:4 Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt.
The popular preacher with his positive message says you can and are living your best life now
Even the Bible becomes a recipe for living the good life
Money management is about living my best life
God wants you healthy, wealthy, and wise they say
The painful truth that the Word of God presents is
This life is not really what it is all about, but the life to follow
The wrath of God hangs right now over people that are already condemned
God doesn’t want them to go to hell but calls His people to take the gospel to the world
We too have an honest choice
Believe popular preachers with positive messages or believe the Bible
We can choose to obey what God has commanded us to do as a church and as individuals or ignore Him and His Word
We can live for ourselves or for God and eternity
Zedekiah is presented as a hesitant coward
He refuses to obey God or be seen talking to God’s man
He calls for a secret meeting Jeremiah 37:17 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the Lord? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon.
He wants to know the truth even if he will rebel against Jeremiah 38:14 Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him into the third entry that is in the house of the Lord: and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me. 15 Then Jeremiah said unto Zedekiah, If I declare it unto thee, wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me?
Zedekiah makes a secret promise not to kill him Jeremiah 38:16 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the Lord liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.
Jeremiah tells Zedekiah what the Lord has said Jeremiah 38:17 Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon’s princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house: 18 But if thou wilt not go forth to the king of Babylon’s princes, then shall this city be given into the hand of the Chaldeans, and they shall burn it with fire, and thou shalt not escape out of their hand.
Surrender after all is to admit failure
This would directly attack his pride
Surrender and live
Zedekiah was afraid even if God said he would live Jeremiah 38:19 And Zedekiah the king said unto Jeremiah, I am afraid of the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they mock me.
Jeremiah reassures Zedekiah Jeremiah 38:20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.
Zedekiah still wants all kept secret Jeremiah 38:24 Then said Zedekiah unto Jeremiah, Let no man know of these words, and thou shalt not die.
For Zedekiah it appears that any relationship he has with God and the man of God must be kept secret, after all religion is a private matter
How often do I act the part of the hesitant coward
Failing to mention Jesus for fear of what others would think
Not obeying God because of peer pressure
Hiding my relationship with God so that others do not think poorly of me
Do I live in fear that if I surrender my life God will ask too much of me
Do I live fearful of being a giver because of how it affects me now
Zedekiah and Judah use hurtful cruelty against Jeremiah
After Jeremiah answers the request of Zedekiah and tells him what God said he leaves to return home Jeremiah 37:12 Then Jeremiah went forth out of Jerusalem to go into the land of Benjamin, to separate himself thence in the midst of the people.
Jeremiah was going to be put in prison but that hadn’t happened yet Jeremiah 37:4 Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people: for they had not put him into prison.
Jeremiah’s message is what angers them against him Jeremiah 37:6 Then came the word of the Lord unto the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 7 Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to inquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. 8 And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire.
Jeremiah doesn’t leave until the Chaldeans temporarily retreat Jeremiah 37:11 And it came to pass, that when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh’s army,
They falsely accused Jeremiah of running to the Chaldeans Jeremiah 37:13 And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans.
Jeremiah proclaims his innocence Jeremiah 37:14 Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.
The political leaders angrily hit Jeremiah and put him in prison Jeremiah 37:15 Wherefore the princes were wroth with Jeremiah, and smote him, and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe: for they had made that the prison.
Jeremiah doesn’t understand what he has done to offend the king Jeremiah 37:18 Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison?
God’s people should expect to receive hurtful cruelty from the lost world
Jesus said His people would be blessed when they were persecuted for Him Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
All who truly live for Jesus will suffer persecution II Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
They hate us because they hate Jesus John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
We are to be kind to those that persecute us Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
We should not think anything unusual is happening I Peter 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; I Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
We are to be faithful unto death Revelation 2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
vii.Persecution is to be expected I Thessalonians 3:3 That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. 4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
Do you understand that we are to expect to them to be hurtfully cruel to us as His followers
Some helpful counsel if we want to get a word from the Lord
We should obey what we have already heard and received
We should humble ourselves to admit that God is right not us
We should choose the truth over what is comfortable
We should continually seek God and His truth
We should stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit