Jeremiah the prophet pled with Zedekiah to listen to and do what God was saying. God’s word says:
“He [Zedekiah] was afraid of the Jews, afraid of ridicule, afraid for his life. After years of rebellion against God, Zedekiah thought it too humiliating to say to his people, I accept the word of the Lord, as spoken through the prophet Jeremiah.” Prophets and Kings, 457.
- After years of rebellion against God, Zedekiah was:
- afraid of the Jews—his own people
- afraid of ridicule
- afraid for his life
- In other words, He was afraid to stand up for the truth.
It would be humiliating and humbling to say, “I accept the word of God” when you have not been following it all along. It would be terrible if there ever came a time that you or I, like Zedekiah, became afraid to stand up for right among our brethren or afraid of ridicule.
God says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10.
“He [Zedekiah] became a cringing slave to public opinion. With no fixed purpose to do evil, he was also without resolution to stand boldly for the right. Convicted though he was of the value of the counsel given by Jeremiah, he had not the moral stamina to obey; and as a consequence he advanced steadily in the wrong direction. …
“If Zedekiah had stood up bravely … what desolation might have been averted! He should have said, I will obey the Lord, and save the city from utter ruin. I dare not disregard the commands of God because of the fear or favor of man. I love the truth, I hate sin, and I will follow the counsel of the Mighty One of Israel.” Ibid., 458.
Desolation—sorrow, gloom, affliction and loneliness can be prevented in our lives and the lives of others when we stand for right. Only when we get to heaven will we know what effect our influence has had on the lives of those around us. If we do not make it to heaven, we will know the desolation that our influence has caused in the lives of others.
“The weakness of Zedekiah was a sin for which he paid a fearful penalty.” Ibid.
Stand up! “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” Joshua 1:9.
Father, Help me to learn from Zedekiah’s neglect and remove any rebellion or resistance that may be in my heart. Do not allow me to become a cringing slave to public opinion. Give me the courage to speak the words that Zedekiah could not speak: “I dare not disregard the commands of God because of the fear or favor of man. I love the truth; I hate sin, and I will follow the counsel of the Mighty One of Israel.” Amen.