Thought to Guide Your ReadingNot everyone in Judah cared little to nothing for God.
Summary in 100 Words or LessTen years earlier, Jeremiah met the Recabite community. They followed their ancestor's commands to the letter.
God lamented, "Judah, learn from the Recabites! You ignore Me. They will always be in my service."
Baruch delivered a scroll with God's message given through Jeremiah. He read it publically. The officials, upset, ordered him and Jeremiah into hiding. The king burned it, angering God. God would destroy his household.
Zedekiah, Babylon's puppet over Judah, ignored God. In return, God told him Jerusalem would burn.
Jeremiah was accused of desertion and jailed. Zedekiah called him back and protected Jeremiah on the palace grounds.
How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right
The Recabites embarrass Judah because they obeyed their ancestors while Judah lived the "high life".The Recabites (also spelled Rechabites) were nomadic teetotalers. They were this way because their ancestors commanded them to be that way. Judah and Israel, on the other hand, were not nomadic teetotalers. Either lifestyle could set things right. The reason the Recabites were better than Israel and Judah was because they were willing to obey their ancestor's commands to the letter. Israel and Judah were not willing to obey the god who gave them the land, protected them from all enemies, and helped them create a nation that lasted hundreds of years. God can set things right with anyone willing to obey Him. The difference is obedience, not the specific commands each group was to obey.
Jehoiakim's actions cost him the throne.Jehoiakim is unwilling to listen to any messenger from God. What a sorry excuse for a son of Josiah. What else could God do to get him to set things right? This is why God's message to Josiah was negative and why Judah went into captivity. Their leaders were too arrogant to need the protection of their Creator.
Not all of Judah ignored God.I appreciate this section because it shows how some of Israel's leaders were willing to listen to God, even if their supreme leader was not. This also explains the origins of Ahikam's defense. They were greatly disturbed and wanted to both protect Jeremiah and heed God's warning. Unfortunately for them, Jehoiakim was unwilling to listen.
Zedekiah was not all bad.One thing that we must see in scripture, and something I am not sure I have mentioned yet, is each person's depth. These are not straw men and women who were placed in these books for Bible school lessons. They were real people who were both good and bad. We must not flatten-out these people into black-and-white boxes—no matter how easy it is to do. People are neither all-good or all-bad. We are always in flux.
Can you see the good and areas that need to be set right in others?
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