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Finally, everything happens just as Jeremiah had said it would. The walls were broken, the Babylonian troops entered the city and burned the houses, including the palace. The people were captured and led away. Only those who owned no land were left to till the fields and vineyards. The king, Zedekiah, tried to escape by a secret route, but was caught and taken prisoner. His gruesome fate is described in verses 6 and 7.
He could have avoided this had he listened to Jeremiah and been more concerned for the welfare of his city than for his own personal fate. He could have avoided it if he had shown courage instead of cowardice.
It is easy to say this at a historical distance and with the benefit of hindsight. But I wonder if parallel situations play themselves out in our own time. Most of us prefer good news to bad news. But sometimes God warns us and disciplines us. Let’s apply this seriously to the way we listen to prophecy in our own context, that is, the way we read the Bible.
Do you pay attention to the whole Bible? (As a reader of theStory, your answer is probably Yes.) But many people choose to focus only on what makes them feel good, and ignore the rest. Worldwide, there are a number of people who attach themselves to a version of Christianity which promises wealth and prosperity, the so-called “name it and claim it” gospel. Of course God wants us to prosper and be happy. We read about that in chapters 30-33. But the way to real happiness is to be Christ-like. Jesus challenges anyone who wants to follow him to deny themselves and take up their cross, daily (Luke 9:23).
Father God, in this moment of silence I choose to follow Jesus Christ, to be a servant of the king, decisive and courageous. I am compelled by the beauty of Jesus’ earthly life as I read about it in the Gospels and see it reflected in other Christians. Thank you for the Bible, and thank you for Christian people who model a life committed to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.