Always tell them what God said!
Even though they won’t listen, we need to tell people the truth regardless of what it might cost us.
Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “If I declare it to you, will you not surely put me to death? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.”
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Always tell them what God said!
Jeremiah has been going through some very difficult things. God has been giving him some hard messages to relay to the king of Israel and to the people. God is sending the Babylonian army to conquer the nation of Israel because they have once again turned away from the One True God to worship worthless idols. Jeremiah has been telling the people that it will go much better for them if they surrender to the king of Babylon. If they do not, he has warned them that they will be killed, and the city of Jerusalem will be burned to the ground.
The leaders object to Jeremiah’s prophecies and have him thrown into prison. Jeremiah continues to speak forth the prophecy and so the leaders convince the king that Jeremiah needs to die. He gives them permission to do what they want, and they throw him into a cistern. He is rescued from the cistern but then placed back into prison. All this is happening because Jeremiah is telling them the truth about what God is going to do.
King Zedekiah decides he wants to talk with Jeremiah and brings him out of the prison to the temple. Zedekiah wants to hear what the LORD has to say about the trouble that they are facing. He wants to know if he is going to survive the siege of the Babylonian army. Zedekiah commands Jeremiah to tell the truth. Every time Jeremiah does that he gets into more trouble, and you might think that at some point he might give up and cave into the pressure of his circumstances. But as a man of God, he knows that he can’t.
Instead, Jeremiah tells Zedekiah that responding to the king’s request is a waste of his time. What boldness! Jeremiah knows that Zedekiah doesn’t really what to hear the truth, he wants to hear something that will make him feel better about his circumstances without having to face the fact that he is in rebellion against God.
People have not changed much since Jeremiah’s time. They still don’t really want to hear the truth even though they act as though they do. They come to church in the hopes that they will hear something that will make them feel better, or to find a ‘magic pill’ to solve all their problems. Even if we give them advice, they will not listen or follow it.
The king promises not to kill Jeremiah. Personally, I don’t believe that Jeremiah was really concerned about whether he would kill him or not. Jeremiah was determined to tell him the truth regardless of the consequences or outcome. The message did not change, surrender to the Babylonians or suffer the consequences. Zedekiah didn’t listen and everything Jeremiah prophesied came to pass and Zedekiah was made to watch as his sons were killed and then his eyes were gouged out. Even though they won’t listen, we need to tell people the truth regardless of what it might cost us. Jesus, teach us to value the truth over our comfort or safety.