-A word from the LORD is delivered to King Zedekiah through Jeremiah by way of the inquiring priest Pashhur, who was sent by the king. Zedekiah thought that perhaps the LORD would spare them from the enemy and deal with them according to all His wonderful acts (Jeremiah 21:1-2). However, Jeremiah, in telling them the direct declaration of the God of Heaven, relates the most fierce judgment language to date in the nation’s history. God says, “I Myself will war against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, even in anger and wrath and great indignation. I will also strike down the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast; they will die of a great pestilence (Jeremiah 21:5-6).” The sword and famine will be their plight for turning away constantly from the LORD and His ways. His patience had run out, and He would no longer at this point hear their pleas for help in frustrated distress and worldly sorrow. He sets before them life and death. If they stay in the city, they will die by sword and by famine and by pestilence. If they go out of the city and fall captive to the Chaldeans (Nebuchadnezzar’s army from Babylon), they will live and have their own life as booty (Jeremiah 21:7-9). God has set His face against this city for harm and not for good to be burned with fire. God had wanted justice, but the people would not comply. Their deeds had come full circle and now payment for their pride and turning away from the source of all that is good would be dealt with in severity. God’s devouring fire of wrath was now burning and Jeremiah had to deliver a harsh, but truthful, message (Jeremiah 21:10-14). *Application* We never want to hear bad news or bear the brunt of our disobedience and rebellion against a righteous God. Our view sometimes gets skewed from the reality of His justice and the inevitable consequences of our misdeeds. While God is merciful, gracious, loving, and kind, we must remember that these qualities only extend to the repentant and humble before His mighty presence. Turn to the LORD before there is no recourse for Him but to punish. He will eventually do it severely to get your attention as an attempt to draw you crawling back as a corrective action. And remember that God is always good in doing this.
Verse to Memorize: Jeremiah 21:5