Jeremiah 34 has the prophet getting a tough assignment from God. He is to go to Zedekiah and tell him what lies ahead. “Go and speak to Zedekiah….I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire”. The message is clear – God’s going to let the city fall. But it gets worse. Jeremiah has to tell the king what his fate will be too. “You shall not escape from his hand but shall surely be captured and delivered into his hand. You shall see the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak with him face to face. And you shall go to Babylon”. So the king isn’t getting away. He’ll be captured too.
But there is a bit of good news that God asks Jeremiah to tell the king. “You shall not die by the sword. You shall die in peace”. He won’t be killed in the battle, but will be taken and allowed to die peacefully in the future. This is a tough message to deliver, and we can only imagine the response Jeremiah got from King Zedekiah. He couldn’t have been pleased. After all, the expectation was that God would protect and deliver, not hand His people over to the enemy.
God had instructed His people how to deal fairly with those who were slaves. “At the end of seven years each of you must set free the fellow Hebrew who has been sold to you and has served you six years”. It wasn’t that they couldn’t have slaves or servants, but that they were required to set them free every seven years. Zedekiah’s kingdom had done that but quickly reneged on the freedom and took them again as slaves, contrary to God’s law. “You made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name, but then you turned around and profaned my name when each of you took back his male and female slaves”. This was against God’s plan and did not sit well with Him.
Sin always carries a price, and God makes that clear yet again to His people. “I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their lives”. Ignoring God’s rules and laws brings about a very negative outcome. It won’t go unpunished. God’s going to deal with this sin, and He’ll do the same in our world and lives today. If we violate His Word and His commandments, we’ll face His wrath. He can’t ignore it because of His holiness and righteousness. It’s why Jesus had to come to the Cross – to be the atonement for our sin. Confess, repent and receive!