The final chapter of Jeremiah gives an account of the sad events at the end of Zedekiah’s reign, who “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” In those God “cast out from His presence” His covenant people. Instead of submitting to the king of Babylon according to the direction the Lord provided through Jeremiah, Zedekiah resisted the Word of God to the very end. He saw the death of his sons at the hands of the Babylonians, after which he was blinded by his adversaries.
The fall of Judah was not only a personal disaster for one or two kings in the line of David. It involved the destruction of the temple that was the focal point of the presence of the Lord God upon the earth and the end of all the beauty that was once God’s chosen city—Jerusalem.
A number of Judeans were sent off into exile, but many of the poorest of the people remained in the land of their fathers, serving the king of Babylon as lowly slaves. One of the earlier royal exiles, Jehoiachin, was imprisoned for many years by the Babylonians, but was released by a later king. “Jehoiachin put off his prison garments. And every day of his life he dined regularly at the king’s table.”
These are the plain facts about two royal descendants of David who once reigned in Jerusalem. The meaning of this trustworthy biblical account comes to us from the other words of Jeremiah. We learned in great detail in earlier chapters that these men, Zedekiah and Jehoiachin, would not obey the Word of the Lord. They and all of the people of Judah were under the curse of the covenant that God made through Moses. “So Judah was taken into exile out of its land.”
A distant future relation would one day bring a more blessed fulfillment to the line of David. Our Immanuel came to His people as Truth incarnate. The entire Old Testament prepared us for the coming of this one-and-only Messiah who would fully obey the Law of God. Jesus has become for us the greatest of all certainties. He is the Rock upon which the church has been established.
Our secure hope is not in our descendants, our homes, or our cities. Our confidence is not in our buildings or our nations. Our assurance is in this one King of truth, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our salvation. He has been enthroned forever in the Jerusalem above as the Head of a new resurrection world.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, what will Your people do when Your church is led by worldly men who will not listen to Your holy Word? Powerful enemies come against us from the nations of the world. Grant us leaders who will follow You, even if we must die. Though our bodies may soon rest in the grave, we know that we will yet live in Christ. Lord, help us to fulfill the purposes that You have for Your people. The nations come and take from Your people their gold, silver, and bronze, but nothing can separate us from Your love. If we suffer for Your sake at the hands of men, we are greatly blessed. Grant us faith that we might have eyes to see things as they are. Fill us with Your Spirit. Help us to follow our King Jesus, who died for us. Build up Your true temple through the preaching of the gospel. Gather Your Israel from every nation, as people are granted eternal life in Your Son.