"Zedekiah… did what was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. He did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of the Lord….He stiffened his neck and hardened his heart against turning to the Lord, the God of Israel. All the officers of the priests and the people likewise were exceedingly unfaithful, following all the abominations of the nations. And they polluted the house of the Lord... The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words and scoffing at his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against his people, until there was no remedy." - 2 Chronicles 36:11-16
There is a tipping point beyond which there is no remedy. Judah had been almost to that point repeatedly but had returned to the Lord each time, rescued by a godly king whom God raised up.
Under King Josiah the Prophetess Hulda had warned that the judgment would certainly fall, but since Josiah was faithful it would not come in his time. Josiah redoubled his efforts to turn the hearts of the people back, and the end was delayed again.
But now Zedekiah was the last straw. As we read about him, we can see that while he didn’t heed Jeremiah and hardened his heart against God’s Word, he seems to have been not nearly as personally wicked as some of the kings who came before him; he mostly seems to have been a weak, spineless personality who knew what was right but didn’t have the strength of character to do it.
He was ruled by fear: fear of the Babylonians, fear of the officials of Judah, fear of the Jews who had already surrendered to the King of Babylon; but not the fear of God. But he was the King, and should have been the one to lead his people back to God.
Hard times call for people ready to step up. Who knows how things might have gone for Judah in His generation if Zedekiah had been up to it? One person, sold out to God, determined to live faithfully in God’s way can make all the difference for an entire generation.
Lord Jesus, the times in which we live call for me to be Your man in this place, this time. Hold my hand, keep me close. Fill me with Your Spirit for the task that lies before me today. Help me to be faithful! Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles