Jeremiah 52:1-34: God Blesses Humble Submission To His Will-7-2-18

God Blesses Humble Submission To His Will

Jeremiah 52:1-34                           Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 52:27b                          7-2-18

“….So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.” (27b)

Dear Lord heavenly Father. Thank you for leading me through the Book of Jeremiah. It has been a dream of mine. Please help me to accept your word in this last chapter of this book. I thank you and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Part 1: The Foolishness of Resisting The Lord (1-30)

Verses 1-30, “Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah. 2 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim had done. 3 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence. Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. 4 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. They encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 5 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. 6 By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. 7 Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled. They left the city at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah, 8 but the Babylonian army pursued King Zedekiah and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 9 and he was captured. He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, where he pronounced sentence on him. 10 There at Riblah the king of Babylon killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes; he also killed all the officials of Judah. 11 Then he put out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon, where he put him in prison till the day of his death. 12 On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 13 He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 14 The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. 15 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile some of the poorest people and those who remained in the city, along with the rest of the craftsmen and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. 16 But Nebuzaradan left behind the rest of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields. 17 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried all the bronze to Babylon. 18 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 19 The commander of the imperial guard took away the basins, censers, sprinkling bowls, pots, lampstands, dishes and bowls used for drink offerings—all that were made of pure gold or silver. 20 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the twelve bronze bulls under it, and the movable stands, which King Solomon had made for the temple of the Lord, was more than could be weighed. 21 Each pillar was eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference; each was four fingers thick, and hollow. 22 The bronze capital on top of one pillar was five cubits high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its pomegranates, was similar. 23 There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; the total number of pomegranates above the surrounding network was a hundred. 24 The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. 25 Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and seven royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land, sixty of whom were found in the city. 26 Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. 27 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land. 28 This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews; 29 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem; 30 in his twenty-third year, 745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard. There were 4,600 people in all.”

Just as Jeremiah had predicted, Jerusalem fell. (See 2 Ki 24,25 & Jer 39 for a full account.) King Zedekiah ignored God’s servant’s warning and acted in his own way. He was very proud to ignore God’s warnings. He was 21 years old when he was crowned king and he was 32 when he was taken into captivity.  He was young and thought that he knew better than even God.

There is something about the ages twenty-one to thirty-two for men. If a person does not know Jesus and his grace then we become very proud and assume that we know everything. We think that we know best. I was exactly like that. There are times when I fall into that way of thinking still. If it was not for the grace of God, I would remain in my false human pride that is always prone to disobey the Lord.

We can see the results of disobedience to God. God had been warning King Zedekiah to submit to Babylonians and go into exile. He repeatedly refused. He also discouraged all those around him to disobey the Lord. He was so hard hearted and foolish. When the siege was ending and the Babylonians were about to enter Jerusalem, he and a company of leaders escaped through a hole in the wall and fled into the desert. But they could not escape the consequences of their sin. The Babylonians caught them and they suffered unimaginably. The king suffered the most. He brought down the wrath of the Babylonians on his people and on himself. The temple of the Lord was desecrated and robbed, Zedekiah’s sons were killed before his eyes, then his eyes were put out; Judah went into captivity away from her land (27b).

God allowed the Babylonians to destroy the temple and the furnishings. There were many in Judah who felt that God would never allow them to do that. They were convinced that God would protect Jerusalem and especially the Temple from the Babylonians. But they were wrong. God is not bound upholding any earthly religious symbols. He will uphold his glory and his kingdom will grow endlessly, but the buildings and holy sites will not last forever. I am sure that there were many in the old world who were shocked when St Sophia in Istanbul was converted to a mosque. There were many people shocked when the great cathedrals in Europe emptied out and became museums. Some became mosques. Some were destroyed in the world wars.

But there is one thing for certain…God is always God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His kingdom is forever growing and expanding. No force can stop that nor threaten its growth. The Rock, that is Jesus, is what we stand on. The eternal kingdom of God is what we are citizens of. We are not standing on the rock of a denomination, a building nor any other human, religious structure.

Part 2: Jehoiachin Was Blessed For His Submission (31-34)

Verse 31-34, “31 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison. 32 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 33 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 34 Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived, till the day of his death.”

Jehoiachin had been taken to Babylon in an earlier invasion. Zedekiah had been appointed king in his place. Look at the account of his exile in 2 Kings 24:8-17,

“8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem. 9 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father had done. 10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him. In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the Lord had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed the treasures from the temple of the Lord and from the royal palace, and cut up the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the Lord. 14 He carried all Jerusalem into exile: all the officers and fighting men, and all the skilled workers and artisans—a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left. 15 Nebuchadnezzar took Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. He also took from Jerusalem to Babylon the king’s mother, his wives, his officials and the prominent people of the land. 16 The king of Babylon also deported to Babylon the entire force of seven thousand fighting men, strong and fit for war, and a thousand skilled workers and artisans. 17 He made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.”  (NIV)

After the fall of Jerusalem, Jehoiachin was released from prison. He was treated kindly. He was treated in this way because he obeyed God’s direction through Jeremiah, to submit to the Babylonians. He could have broken through the walls of Jerusalem and tried to escape into the desert just like Zedekiah did. But he did not. He chose to submit.

He was taken into exile, after the first invasion by Babylon. It was not easy for him. He was imprisoned. He saw the defeat of his nation and his people. He was displaced and had an uncertain future.  But eventually he was released from prison and ate at the table of the King of Babylon.

Some people would say that Jehoiachin eating at the king’s table was demeaning and some added disgrace to him. But I don’t think so. It was a privilege to be invited to the table of a king and dine with his court officials daily. The son of King David’s friend Jonathan was invited to eat at his table. We are invited to eat at the feast of heaven. It was one of the only ways that God could reward his submission to God’s will. The people needed to go into exile. The Babylonian captivity lasted 70 years (Da 9:2; Jer 29:10).  What else could God reward him with? The invite to eat at the king’s table was indeed a blessing.

The fact that Jehoiachin was invited to eat at the King’s table is a fitting ending of the Book of Jeremiah. The people suffered greatly because if their sins, but God was still with them. He still loved his people. He was drawing them to himself. One day we will be invited to eat at our eternal King’s table in heaven. We get a taste of this heavenly feast even now. We, who were formally enemies would sup at the King’s banquet by the grace of God. Luke 14:15 reads, “When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” (NIV). It is indeed a blessing. It is blessing given to us by God.

Prayer: “Lord, you are a God who rewards faith. You reward humble submission to your will. Help me to submit my heart, mind and soul to you in faith.”

One Word: God still loves his people, even when things seem desperate.

Interact with us using Facebook

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.