Last week’s article was from Jeremiah 38. We considered the wonderful Ethiopian Eunuch named Ebed-Melech who sought to help Jeremiah who was placed into a dungeon and had sank down into the mire. As we noted, Ebed-Melech went before King Zedekiah and called out what the princes had done to Jeremiah as wrong, showing his compassion and concern for Jeremiah. Jeremiah would be lifted from the mire by Ebed-Melech with such care as he took old rags and clothes to keep from harming Jeremiah as he and his fellow helpers would help lift Jeremiah out of the dungeon.
I mentioned that what Jeremiah said in verse 2 is the same thing that Jeremiah said in chapter 21:9. As we noted, these words of SURRENDER was VERY UNPOPULAR! The princes went before the king and said, “Please let this man be PUT TO DEATH, for thus he weakens the hands of the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm” (38:4). So, the King told the princes to do what they so desired and Jeremiah was placed into the dungeon to sink in the mire. The article ended last week with Jeremiah being lifted from the mire, and I figured it is necessary to see what Jeremiah says AFTER he comes out of the pit. Read what happens next in Jeremiah 38:14-23.
Jeremiah has stated over and over again that what they deemed as safety and security would actually be their PIT of DOOM! If they remained in the CITY, they would die by the sword, famine and pestilence. However, if they would SURRENDER to the Chaldeans, they would LIVE, for the fact remained that the CITY would be given into the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar. As noted with the princes earlier in the chapter, they didn’t like the words Jeremiah was speaking, words of SURRENDER! They deemed it as words that weakened the spirits of the people, the men of war even who could hold off the Babylonians. Jeremiah wasn’t trying to weaken anyone, he was trying to save their lives, but they would have to SURRENDER TO LIVE!
If we were in that situation, how many of us would say, “fair enough, let’s just surrender?” That’s one of those things that “easier said than done.” Surrender is not one of those words that is often found in our vocabulary of daily life. PRIDE does NOT like the word “surrender!”
When we take a good look at what they were giving up and to just name two right off my mind is they would be giving up their FREEDOM of what they were used to having every day, to do what they so desired; they would be giving up their personal belongings. How many of us would have said, “no, I’m not going to give that up; we will just take our chances; we’ll fight it and fight it and fight it and just see how it turns out.”
Remember that this wasn’t just a one-time thing that the Lord through Jeremiah said to them, but rather it was reiterated a couple of times, even emphasized again and again that if they would SURRENDER, their life would be their reward. That’s what the Lord wanted them to do! This isn’t just about surrendering themselves over to the Chaldeans, but remember that this is what the Lord commanded for them to do so they could live. The other choice is that they could “stand their ground” and fight against the Lord’s will, but that would bring them to death.
There would be some who would defect to the Chaldeans, but as we find with King Zedekiah and his court officials, they would NOT. According to chapter 39:1,2, the scriptures record that “in the ninth year and tenth month of King Zedekiah’s reign King Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city. In the eleventh year and fourth month on the ninth day, the city was penetrated.” As you read on in that chapter, you will find the horrific death and destruction that came upon Zedekiah, his family, and royal officials (39:6-8). Zedekiah would die in Babylon as Jeremiah 52:11 records.
What’s the point? What’s the application for us? God desires for us today to do His will, and to do His will means we will have to SURRENDER!
We automatically want to know, what will I have to give up in surrendering? We humbly give ourselves, yielding to the Lord to be our Lord and Master, giving Him full control of our lives, the things that we have been given, possessions that can be used to do good for others, to glorify the Lord, the time the Lord has allotted for us. We have to keep in mind that we don’t belong to ourselves do we? (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19,20). You see, we tend to compartmentalize our lives. Think about your everyday life. How many parts we put in certain boxed areas and compartmentalize them? Family goes here, job, hobbies, entertainment, marriage and so on. Now we’ll put the GOSPEL that we claim we are NOT ashamed of in a little box and that will be about an hour or so on Sunday. God wants ALL OF THESE AREAS! God desires that we take everything we have in this life to bring Him the glory, honor and praise; that’s called SACRIFICE IN SURRENDERING. (cf. Romans 12:1,2).
It takes HUMILITY to be submissive, to submit (cf. James 4:10). Do we see the reason why it is so important to submit though? So, we can have LIFE! (cf. John 10:10). If we don’t surrender, NOT just part of us, but ALL OF US, EVERYTHING WE ARE, then there will be no life, only death and destruction. Jesus demonstrated complete humble submissiveness to His father, showing us what TRUE COMPLETE SURRENDER IS; “not My will, Thy will be done.”
When we surrendered to the Lord, we became servants of the Lord. (cf. Romans 6:16-18, 22-23). We don’t go about doing as we so wish; we go as His will directs us. We trust Him with all our heart, we don’t lean on our own understanding (Prov. 3:5,6), we desire Him to take all that we are and all that we have to bring glory, honor, and praise to Him.
There’s a song we have sung many times that hits home, entitled “I Surrender All.” I’ve thought, are we singing the words “all to Jesus I surrender, when in reality we are giving Him just some of ourselves.”
This certainly is a LIFE AND DEATH situation. Jesus said in Luke 9:24, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” May we always desire to save our lives by giving it all to the Lord. The word continues to tell us, SURRENDER TO LIVE. Oh if Zedekiah would have listened and heeded the word of the Lord. I hope we will heed the word of the Lord. If you would like to study more about what it means to “surrender to live,” please don’t hesitate to let me know. The Lord loves you and I love you.
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 😊