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Mid-Week with Christ
December 4, 2019

Judah's (Almost) Last King

Jeremiah 22:20-30

 
20 “Go up to Lebanon, and cry out, and lift up your voice in Bashan; cry out from Abarim, for all your lovers are destroyed. 21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not listen.’ This has been your way from your youth, that you have not obeyed my voice. 22 The wind shall shepherd all your shepherds, and your lovers shall go into captivity; then you will be ashamed and confounded because of all your evil. 23 O inhabitant of Lebanon, nested among the cedars, how you will be pitied when pangs come upon you, pain as of a woman in labor!” 24 “As I live, declares the LORD, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off 25 and give you into the hand of those who seek your life, into the hand of those of whom you are afraid, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 I will hurl you and the mother who bore you into another country, where you were not born, and there you shall die. 27 But to the land to which they will long to return, there they shall not return.” 28 Is this man Coniah a despised, broken pot, a vessel no one cares for? Why are he and his children hurled and cast into a land that they do not know? 29 O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD! 30 Thus says the LORD: “Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days, for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David and ruling again in Judah.”
 

Prayer for the Day

 
Lord God may Your Son, our true king, bring us out of exile in this world to home with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

How could it have all gone so wrong? A millennium earlier the descendants of Jacob, enslaved for centuries, were rescued triumphantly by the Lord from the clutches of the Pharaoh of Egypt. God cut a covenant with the people and proclaimed that he would bring them to the land promised to their father Abraham, a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Deut. 31:20). He established David as king over Israel and promised him that he would make his house last forever (2 Sam. 7:12-13). But now Jeconiah (also known as Coniah), the last king of Judah, descendant of David, is cursed by the Lord’s prophet and taken into exile by the ancient enemy of both Israel and Egypt, Babylon. Have God’s promises failed?
 
From the time of Adam and Eve onward, there has been a disconnect between God’s idea of an ideal king and our own. We connect kingship with power. God connects it with service. We see kings as enforcing their own will on others. God sees kings as bending our will to His good and gracious one. Our kings end up placing heavy yokes on our shoulders. God’s ideal king will take up our heavy yokes himself and gives us ones that are light and easy to bear. Jeconiah, then, was the last of an old kind of king for ancient Judah. His three-month reign would end in exile.
 
The story of Jeconiah and the kings of Judah is our story. The Lord saves us, and we start out on our Christian journeys with the best of intentions. But under our own power, we fail. Better that the signet ring of salvation be given to a king who is able to bear our burdens and save our souls: Christ Jesus, the Son of God himself. He will be the one to save us from our exile, and return us to the promised land of a home with our heavenly Father. 
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