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"Fears and Falls"
Wednesday AM Bible Study
May 4, 2005
This chapters outline for us the sad events surrounding Jerusalem's final
fall to the Babylonians. If you like adventure stories with high drama,
this section of Jeremiah is for you! It reveals the courage of the prophet
in the face of fierce persecution, the wavering heart of a cowardly king who
feared men more than God, and the blessings of God upon a humble foreigner
who reverenced His word.
There's a discernable pattern in the responses of King Zedekiah to God's
word through the prophet. It begins with a fear of obeying God's command.
When we are afraid to obey God's word when we hear it, we are soon afraid to
hear it; and we are fearful of those who speak it to us. Zedekiah was
frozen in fear from obeying God; and this eventually led to his enemies
coming upon him.
I. ZEDEKIAH'S FEAR OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD (37:1-21).
A. The history of his heart attitude toward God's word is summed up for us
in verse 1-2. But He was a duplicitous king. He would not obey; but he
still wanted the prophet to pray.
B. The circumstances were the withdraw of the Babylonians because of the
Egyptians. Yet, Jeremiah warned that the Babylonians would still come (vv.
C. This led to an accusation against Jeremiah, and his subsequent
imprisonment under a false charge (vv. 11-15). Even then, the king
hypocritically sought a word from God (vv. 16-20). He was merciful to
Jeremiah; but not obedient to God (v. 21). When a man is afraid to obey, it
doesn't matter how much of the word he hears. Hearing a word from God,
without a willingness to obey, only makes a man more confused (James
II. ZEDEKIAH'S FEAR OF THE WORD OF THE PROPHET (38:1-28).
A. The close aids to the king seek to have Jeremiah killed because of his
words (vv. 1-4; see also 37:6-10). And of course, the weak-willed king
complies. He allows Jeremiah to be thrown into a deep dungeon, where he
sinks into the muck - certain to die a slow and silent death (vv. 5-6).
B. An Ethiopian eunuch named Ebed-Melech hears of this. Clearly, he is a
believing man (39:16-18). He bravely entreats the king for mercy to
Jeremiah; and the king permits him to rescue the prophet (vv. 7-13).
C. With the muck scarcely dried from Jeremiah's body, the king again sends
for him and asks for another word from God. Zedekiah is, at this point very
unreliable; and Jeremiah fears that whatever he says will result in his
death (vv. 14-16). The king promises not to kill him (v. 16); but it's
clear that he is more afraid of not hearing the word than he is of not
obeying it. Zedekiah is a completely divided man.
D. Jeremiah shares the word with Zedekiah; but the king is so filled with
fears that he doesn't even want the people to know that they spoke (vv.
III. ZEDEKIAH'S FEAR OF THE BABYLONIANS (39:1-18).
A. Finally, the promised end came. The Babylonians captured the king and
burned the city (vv. 1-10).
B. The Babylonian king has great mercy on Jeremiah. He ensures that he is
looked after. The sad prophet is rewarded for his faithfulness - although his
reward had to come against the backdrop of great grief (vv. 11-14).
C. God also provided a word to the faithful eunuch Ebed-Melech (vv. 15-18).
Surely this is a picture of Matthew 10:40-42).