Jeremiah 34 Commentary
Unlike young Samuel’s times when the word of the LORD was rare, Zedekiah’s times are very different. The LORD spoke and spoke.
Chapter 34 is yet another message to the king and it was personal. He would be captured and handed over to his enemy. We are yet to read about the sad events that fulfilled these words.
It is about this time that King Zedekiah probably sought to respond to the inner warnings. He made a covenant with the people to free Hebrew slaves in Jerusalem. Of course, it was an act of obedience but without a heart for it, the people repented of their repentance and forced the slaves back into slavery. A good was undone within a very short period of time.
We see two things from here. First: wickedness. Second: weakness.
There was the wickedness of heart in wanting to continue with an evil act, disregarding the word of the LORD concerning the slaves. The heart was too weak to sustain an act of obedience.
David cried for a new heart. He wasn’t foolish. The human heart is terrible. Obstinate. We know it. We cannot sustain goodness within. For starters, even making a decision to obey is nearly impossible. Sustaining obedience is doubly impossible. We have always experienced failure whenever we have tried to sustain righteousness by new-year resolutions.
We have pointers here for the need for a surgical transformation. To be born again is the New Testament’s version of what this scenario anticipated. Ezekiel would call it a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone.
The Babylonians must have withdrawn temporarily, probably giving false hope to Zedekiah. False peace, false joy, and false nothingness – a state of inactivity, let not the individual be mistaken. You are privileged to hear God’s warning. But it’s never a blessing until you humble yourself and surrender to the rule of the LORD. Otherwise, your fate is no different from Zedekiah’s.
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