DEVOTION:A Stubborn Heart Is Equaled To Abnormality!

Much of what the prophet Jeremiah had said had already been fulfilled; a large number of people had been taken to captivity. But what was remaining was the destruction of the city, including the temple and the burning of the gates of Jerusalem. In spite of this, King Zedekiah did not take the words of Jeremiah seriously. What is puzzling was the King’s desire to hear what the Lord had to say. Here is what preceded our main passage for today.

It appears that during the siege, King Zedekiah sent word to the Pharaoh of Egypt to come help fight the Babylonians. Pharaoh complied and came up with his army to support King Zedekiah. Upon learning that Pharaoh and his army were coming to support Kind Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar and his army withdrew from attacking Judah and besieging the city of Jerusalem. After this, King Zedekiah sent word to the prophet Jeremiah.

King Zedekiah, however, sent Jehukal son of Shelemiah with the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to Jeremiah the prophet with this message: “Please pray to the Lord our God for us.” Jeremiah 37:3

In response, the Lord gave these words to Jeremiah to give to King Zedekiah as an answer to his request for prayer.

Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of me, ‘Pharaoh’s army, which has marched out to support you, will go back to its own land, to Egypt. Then the Babylonians will return and attack this city; they will capture it and burn it down.’ Jeremiah 37:6-7

It is clear from this message that King Zedekiah was curious about the departure of the armies of Babylon. He wanted to know if they are gone forever or they would still come back. In other words, was there a possibility that the prophecy of Jeremiah might not be fulfilled in totality? The answer was no! It will be fulfilled. The city will be destroyed by fire.

To make sure King Zedekiah knew that God was determined to fulfill His words which were spoken by his prophet Jeremiah against Judah, an emphasis of the message was given.

This is what the Lord says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, ‘The Babylonians will surely leave us.’ They will not! Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian[c] army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down.” Jeremiah 37:9-10

Then there was this drama where Jeremiah was accused of defecting to the Babylonians and was then beaten and imprisoned at the territory of Benjamin. This is how it unfolded.

After the Babylonian army had withdrawn from Jerusalem because of Pharaoh’s army, Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the territory of Benjamin to get his share of the property among the people there. But when he reached the Benjamin Gate, the captain of the guard, whose name was Irijah son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah, arrested him and said, “You are deserting to the Babylonians!”  “That’s not true!” Jeremiah said. “I am not deserting to the Babylonians.” But Irijah would not listen to him; instead, he arrested Jeremiah and brought him to the officials. They were angry with Jeremiah and had him beaten and imprisoned in the house of Jonathan the secretary, which they had made into a prison. Jeremiah was put into a vaulted cell in a dungeon, where he remained a long time. Jeremiah 37:11-16

While he was still in prison, King Zedekiah sent for Jeremiah so he was brought out of prison because the King needed to inquire from him privately. Then in private, King Zedekiah asks this question to Jeremiah.

“Is there any word from the Lord?” Jeremiah 37:15b

And he got this interesting answer from Jeremiah.

“Yes,” Jeremiah replied, “you will be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon.” Jeremiah 37:15c

 

Then Jeremiah asked two questions to the King.

First question:

Then Jeremiah said to King Zedekiah, “What crime have I committed against you or your attendants or this people, that you have put me in prison? Jeremiah 37:18

 

Second question:

Where are your prophets who prophesied to you, ‘The king of Babylon will not attack you or this land’? Jeremiah 37:19

 

Then he followed it with a request.

But now, my lord the king, please listen. Let me bring my petition before you: Do not send me back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I will die there.” Jeremiah 37:20

 

And the King granted his request:

King Zedekiah then gave orders for Jeremiah to be placed in the courtyard of the guard and given a loaf of bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread in the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the courtyard of the guard. Jeremiah 37:21

 

This is what amounts to abnormality. King Zedekiah knows and believes that Jeremiah is the true prophet of God. Yet after much of Jeremiah’s prophecy was fulfilled, King Zedekiah continues to hold on to the deceptive prophecy of the false prophets who prophesied peace and prosperity for the Land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem. After the armies of Babylon withdrew from besieging the city of Jerusalem, King Zedekiah inquired from Jeremiah to know what The Lord had in plan for him and the city of Jerusalem. Can you see what I am seeing? He knew the truth and yet he did not act according to the truth. This kind of attitude is usually reserved for the abnormal. Unfortunately, people with stubborn hearts act like abnormal people.

 

APPLICATION:

  1. Give at least three examples of people in the Bible who acted abnormally.
  2. Give at least three contemporary examples for this kind of abnormality.
  3. In what ways do today’s Christians act with an abnormal attitude toward God?
  4. Are there any areas in your life that you are acting contrary to the truth that you know? What do you need to do to remove this abnormal attitude toward God?
  5. In what other ways has this passage spoken to you?

 

If you have a stubborn heart, pray this prayer:

Create in me a pure heart,

O God,

And

Renew a steadfast spirit

Within me.

Psalm 51:10

For

A STUBBORN HEART IS EQUALED TO ABNORMALITY!

Read: Jeremiah 36:1-37:21

Marked: Jeremiah 37:19

By Pastor Shadrack Ruto

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