Life and Death (Jeremiah #9)

Text: Jeremiah 21

We’re going to take Jeremiah 21:8 as the theme here tonight: the crossroads of life and death. Because God is revealing himself through a nation, the life and death are physical life and death which means the health of the nation. And the LORD’s illumination of those crossroads is key. He has the power of life and death and the LORD makes clear what path leads where.

The state of the nation of Israel is found here in 2 Chronicles 36:11-21. The householder let his vineyard out to husbandman. And the husbandmen beat the servants, killed one, and stoned another. It’s Jesus’ parable of the householder.  He finally would say I’ll send them my son and they’ll hear him. But they killed him too because he’s the heir (Matthew 21:33-34).

King Zedekiah is a hopeless case (vss 1-7)

  • Nebuchadnezzar installs him as king and changes his name to Zedekiah. He makes him swear to God that he will not rebel against Babylon (2 Kings 24:17-20)
    • King Zedekiah, in his late twenties, decided to rebel
    • King Zedekiah is fairly young, unable to deal with political pressures. But God holds him responsible in a very costly way.
    • King Zedekiah is a typical patriot who doesn’t want his nation or his life threatened.
    • He’d despised the words of Jeremiah. The king doesn’t seem to want to hear anything else from Jeremiah. But if Jeremiah has something good to say about him, then he’ll take that from Jeremiah.
  • Jeremiah, tell me how the LORD will bless us
    • Give me the good news of how God will fight for us and give us victory.
    • But he’s also a typical Jewish politician who thinks Israel is immune to disaster because of who they are. And they don’t understand why their nation is in the situation it’s in.
    • There is no consideration of sin, just the “bless me LORD” attitude.
  • The LORD is determined to destroy the palace and the capital, and the royal family (vss 3-7)
    • I will turn back your weapons
    • I will assemble the Babylonians in the midst of the city
    • I myself will fight against you
    • I will smite the inhabitants of this city
    • I will deliver Zedekiah and his people that remain to those that seek their life. That sounds like someone turned over to the devil who goes about seeking whom he may devour. And the LORD simply turning someone over to an enemy that is already hungry for their life.
    • 2 Kings 25:1-7

Power of life and death belong to the LORD (vss 8-10)

  • The LORD presents the paths of life and death to the people though as He has done in the past
    • Deuteronomy 30:15
    • Joshua 24:15
    • 1 Kings 18:21
  • The path to life is surrender!
  • He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
  • 2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

Path of life (vss 11-14)

  • The LORD is now chasing down the wealthy ones who have hid themselves and trusted in the work of their own hands. This isn’t people in the city, this is people in the valley, and in the “hill country.” These people think they are isolated from danger.
  • So the LORD says if you’re not willing to deliver those helpless ones ravaged by war, I’m not willing to help you. I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings. I will make your judgment of the needy, my judgment of you.
    • Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
  • I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
  • To be judged according to the fruit or your doings is not always bad though. Isaiah said, Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.
  • Choose life, choose right, surrender to the LORD, and enjoy the fruit of your doings.