King Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, had a keen sense of God's presence. Time and again he called on Jeremiah, the prophet, to hear what God had to say, but he didn't like what he heard.
Jeremiah said, "If you surrender to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, you and Jerusalem will be saved." Surrender? That is not honorable. That is not the respected thing to do, so King Zedekiah determined to stick it out in Jerusalem. He put Jeremiah in prison. Later he brought him out and asked him again what God said. Jeremiah said the same thing. King Zedekiah put him in a cistern, a dried up well, until he decided to talk to him again. Many Israelites fled to Egypt under the threat of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylonian captivity. The king wanted to know what to do. Again, Jeremiah encouraged him to surrender and live.
That is not what Zedekiah had in mind. For two years Babylon laid siege against Jerusalem and Zedekiah had plenty of chances to change his mind. He did not. As Jeremiah prophesied, the Babylonians burned down Jerusalem and captured Zedekiah. The last thing the king saw was the murder of his two sons. Then Nebuchadnezzar gouged out his eyes and bound him in bronze shackles until he died. Not a noble king's death.
What do you think Jesus would say? The answer is in Matthew 10:39. "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Surrender takes humility and faith, and that is what Jesus requires. He gave His life so we could be forgiven and live with Him forever. How can we give Him any less?
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
And in John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Think About It
King Zedekiah had an awareness of God's presence and kept wanting to know what He said to Jeremiah. Although he knew the truth, he would not surrender and suffered for it. Because of him, Jerusalem burned to the ground, including the temple. What a price he and all Jerusalem paid because he refused to listen to what God said.
Pray About It
Father God, surrender is a hard thing. Teach me by your word to know what to do when the time comes. I pray for my friends that don't know you, that they would not ignore an awareness they might have of your presence, that they would be sorry for the way they have lived and want to surrender themselves to live for you. Amen.