Jeremiah preached to Judah for decades during a time when few would listen, when people would threaten his life and safety, and God would carry out the judgments Jeremiah warned about. Read Jeremiah 22 and II Kings 23:31-37; 24:1-7 to review the sad lives of two sons of the good king, Josiah. Jehoahaz ruled first, but for only three months. He was an evil king, so God had Neco's Egyptian forces to take him captive to Egypt. He died there, never able to return to Judah, his palace, or posh living. Egypt then taxed Judah heavily, and put Eliakim / Jehoiakim on Judah's throne. This brother also lived an evil life. God used Babylon's forces to rule Judah, making this king a puppet of Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 22:13-17 records some of the sins of Jehoahaz. He used people to advance his riches, affluent living, and power. Unlike his father, King Josiah, his heart "was set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood, and on oppression and extortion." King Josiah did what was right and just, and defended the cause of the poor. God said through Jeremiah, "Did your father have food and drink? All went well with him."
1. God will take care of us without us having to take things into our own hands.
2. God's people can do right,and count on God to provide. When we do wrong to get ahead, or to make an extra buck, we are demonstrating our lack of trust in God.
3. Our callings are gifts from God to use for His glory and man's good. So we should evaluate our callings, and how are we using them. We are not called to be kings of Judah, our castles (father's), or our own lives. Jesus is our King of Kings. We should be following His ruling principles and calling on us. People suffer at your home, church, community, or work when you do not answer God's call and fulfill your callings.
4. God sees all, and will judge His way in His time. Although He is patient, and His correction can differ according to His wisdom, He will step in. He will use evil enemies of God's people, and judge a king, city, or generation of His own people. Why? God is carrying out His ultimate plan for the ages. He knows how to bring about the coming of Christ again, as He did prepare for the first coming of Christ. He knows how to bring more people to repentance and faith through judgment because He is such a merciful God. In mercy, He judges those who will not repent; those who are doing irreparable damage to lives beyond the point of no return.
5. That same God is working in unusual ways in America today. Something's happening on His grand scale, so let us grow in faith. Let us watch with excitement. Let us walk with our God, show mercy, and do justly. We may not fix the world, or our country. That is His calling, not ours.
What are some other lessons that you notice as your read about Judah, Jeremiah, Jehoahaz, and Jehoiakim?