Click here for the reading: Jeremiah 23:5-8.
Zedekiah deluded himself into thinking that he could fight against Nebuchadnezzar. Even though the Babylonian king had given him his throne (2 Kings 24), he wanted to be a king in his own right, not dependent on another. Therefore, he sent messengers to Jeremiah in chapter 21 to confirm his delusion with a word from the Lord. Yet what is Jeremiah’s response in chapters 21-22? How was Zedekiah different from his father Josiah? What makes a true king in the eyes of the Lord: power or righteousness? Compare also Zedekiah’s refusal to listen in Jeremiah 27:12-15 with the stubbornness of Israel in Numbers 14:39-45.
Zedekiah’s sin tried to seek political solutions to his problems. He was seeking to gain power through military means and throw off the problem of Babylon through his own power. Yet how often do people today seek similar manmade solutions to their own common problems! Where do people most often seek political solutions in their lives? However, do they try to keep politics out of other parts? Why? What’s the difference between them? Consider also Joshua 9 and how a failure to seek the Lord in political issues leads even God-fearing men astray.
Jeremiah announces to the king that the house of David will be cut off, but not entirely. The faithlessness of men has led to the present situation with Babylon. Even faithless Zedekiah is not living up to his name, which means “The Lord is my righteousness,” since he has scattered the sheep of God! Yet how will the coming King be different from the faithless sons of David? What does it mean for God to be faithful when men are continually faithless? How does a passage like Psalm 146 speak to our own situation?
This passage speaks of the coming King in political and military terms, which makes a rather stark contrast to Jesus who declared that His kingdom is not of this world. Yet in what ways is Jesus the fulfillment of even the political promises of the Scriptures? In an age which is continually seeking to make a better tomorrow, how does King Jesus give us a true hope for the future, even in national and political terms? Compare also the promises of victory over threatening armies in passages like Isaiah 7 and Micah 5.
Advent is a season of expectation, and this passage from Jeremiah also teaches us about the glory of what is to come. The glory of what God has done in the past will give way to the greater glory of what He will do for His people. How does the return from exile surpass the Exodus in glory? How does Christ coming in the flesh surpass the return from exile? How will the Second Coming be the most glorious act of God? How is this progressive glory in what God does a comfort for His people? Compare also the hope of 1 Corinthians 15 and the comfort of what God will do for His people.