Read: Jeremiah 34:1-22
Verse 8 – King Zedekiah made a covenant with the people, proclaiming freedom for the slaves.
Verse 11 – The officials and all the people had obeyed the King’s command, but later they changed their minds.
The fate of Jerusalem is set. The Babylonians are coming again and with a vengeance. King Zedekiah sets the slaves free for two reasons: first, he hoped to appease God, and second – who needs slaves when you are about to become slaves to the Babylonians. So the people went along with the King’s decree and set their slaves free. Now the interesting part of this is that they began to go back on their word when the invasion wasn’t immediate. They took their slaves back into slavery. This really ticked God off, and the invasion came with all the epic pain that the prophet predicted.
How many times have we said in a moment of crisis, God if you will only get me through this I will (fill in the blank). I’ll stop that bad habit, start going to church, walk more old ladies across the street, start reading my Bible everyday, etc. In times of crisis we find ourselves willing to do what we should have done all along. I do believe that God meets us in those moments. He might not get us out of the situation that we find ourselves in, but He always gets us through.
Our tendency in those times is to have God get us through the storm, and then go back to the same behaviors that got us in to the mess in the first place. That’s what we’re seeing in this passage. The invasion didn’t come right away, so they thought they made it through the storm and went back to their old sinful ways. God will meet us in our crises, but if we are just playing Him to survive the crisis of the moment, the crisis will come back around and many times will be bigger than before.
God doesn’t play games when it comes to sin. He longs for us to surrender, and I believe He understands that a lot of times that surrender comes in a crisis. But He also wants a long term friendship with us. One based on trust, love and obedience in good times and in bad. If you find yourself begging God to get you through a tough time, know that He is a loving and compassionate Father and that He will meet you there. But make your peace with God for the long term – a permanent change that will bring blessing and life to you in this world and in the next.
God – I am sorry for my broken promises and I surrender my life, my stuff, my morality and my agenda to You. I choose to do it before the crisis comes, and I ask that You would walk with me in Your ways for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.