So a King by the name of Zedekiah has asked for Jeremiah’s help to petition with the Lord after the same man named Pashhur has bashed him up just in the chapter before this.
What would you do if the person who has beaten and imprisoned you came and asked for your help? Will you give him the help that he needs? This was exactly the scenario in Jeremiah 21, and even more dramatic than that, a known enemy was already within striking distance of where they were, so close and renowned was this enemy that they already knew the identity of this enemy and from which kingdom he originated from.
Jeremiah 21 (New International Version)
1 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: 2 “Inquire now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”
Friends, do you have a listening ear from someone whom you can turn to to ask for opinions if you needed to? Is this someone able to influence your decision especially if it involves a big part of your life? Is that someone standing in a good place in life with a respectable reputation and a positive character that you can rely on? Is he or she someone who is also just and fair in their dealings and from there, gives you the confidence that you need to bridge that friendship and strengthen the bond? Is that someone an individual person or is that someone God?
Fright of the Pandemic
We are living in unprecedented times with Covid-19 threatening our livelihood and existence day after day. With the exception of China, cases of infection have risen beyond ordinary numbers and continue to increase. Could we infer Covid-19 as the plague described in Jeremiah 21 or is this contagious virus and its disease like King Nebuchadnezzar, the enemy that has come to besiege us and everything about us?
3 But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, 4 ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. 5 I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in furious anger and in great wrath. 6 I will strike down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague. 7 After that, declares the Lord, I will give Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who want to kill them. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’
8 “Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. 10 I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.’
When we are in a distressed situation, we will often bow down and cave in to pressures of malice and attacks, more so when it has occurred over extended periods. It is by no means the most pleasurable time to be living under such negative clouds but if not for the inevitable crisis like the pandemic, we will still be cornered when life’s cyclical nature takes its course. And this is just like the economic crisis we see every decade or so but with Covid-19, it is something else altogether. It has crippled economies around the world and has struck fear among our brothers and sisters. This rare occurrence begs for us to stand up and take stock of what is truly happening around us and compels us to identify what exactly we can do at this juncture to safeguard our lives.
From Jeremiah 21, we know that Jeremiah was asked by the beating hands to ask the Lord for His favour. But truth be told, the verdict was already decided upon for Jerusalem and Judah before their pleas. Had they treated Jeremiah better, they might still have a chance for the prophet to change his heart and petition God but after receiving those painful blows, it would be rather insurmountable even if Jeremiah had wanted to. Why? Because Jeremiah was human after all.
At this juncture I must say, the book of Jeremiah has shown me that in the end, all of us are only humans and the one that remains supreme from yesterday until tomorrow is none other than God alone. Under such circumstances, we must always remember that being human means being truthful to ourselves and that is by following God’s instructions for us. The first instance of abiding by this truth is for us to be wholly obedient to Him.
In Jeremiah 21, the simple instructions laid out from the Lord is for us to be fair and just.
12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:
“‘Administer justice every morning;
rescue from the hand of the oppressor
the one who has been robbed,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done—
burn with no one to quench it.
If the place your residence is facing a lock down, this might be the best time to reflect upon your own character and the things you’ve been doing day in day out. For example, is your normal behaviour embodies the character of just and fair when you deal with others or do you only favour those who shower benefits your way?
Do you extend a helping hand to those who are in need or do you only reserve such privileges to those in the higher places? But if you only offered your time and space for the higher ups, will they remember you when you’re down in the doldrums? And in retrospect, do these high places people even need your assistance to begin with?
Think for one moment how you have been conducting your life all this while. You might find some clarity about your life such as God’s intended life for you in comparison to men’s desired position for you.
For all that it’s worth, Covid-19 could just be a plague that will come and go in just one season. But assuming it doesn’t and that it persists to be an Armageddon, do you think you have done enough to get you up into the next life and sit right by God?
Friends, you still have time to realign your ways if you haven’t done so. Now more than ever is the time to correct your footsteps so that the next pathway will lead you straight to heaven even if plagues and violence present themselves along the way. Ultimately, the message does not depart far from this – when you have God, no calamity can take your spirit down and that’s a guarantee when you have Him in your life.
I pray that you will find Jesus Christ in this season of Covid-19 so that His immaculate being can unveil His grand plan He has for your life and display to you the way He can be as the Abba Father of your precious presence, in Jesus name, Amen!