But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. – 2 Chronicles 36:16
Zedekiah, the son of Josiah the reformer and last Judean king, ruled over Judah for 11 years. When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah, he made Zedekiah swear an oath of allegiance to him in the name of the LORD, which meant it was a binding oath that couldn’t be broken and for which he would have to answer to God. King Zedekiah broke his vow and suffered punishment at the hand of the Babylonians. King Nebuchadnezzar, at God’s direction, stormed the city of Jerusalem, laid siege to it, looted the city, and burned it to the ground because of Zedekiah’s rebellion.
God prophesied the destruction of Israel and Judah long ago because of the nation’s rebellion and sin toward God. He fulfilled the end of that prophecy during the reign of Zedekiah. Had Zedekiah submitted himself to God first and then to Nebuchadnezzar, as God commanded, it might have gone okay for Judah for a while longer. However, he decided that wasn’t good enough and that the Babylonians weren’t going to take down Jerusalem and Judah. God showed him who has the final say in all matters of the affairs of men.
This king did not do what other Judean kings did do – submit to the LORD their God. He was not intent on seeking the LORD with all his heart and soul. No, he was bound and determined to do things his way and rebel against the word of God and break the vow he took in God’s name. We have been hearing God speak to us about seeking him, serving him, and loving him wholeheartedly. There will even be times of testing by God to determine if our searching, service, and love are genuine or just a facade.
There is a flip side to not seeking, serving, and loving God wholeheartedly. King Zedekiah found out the hard way. He, his two brothers, and nephew all forgot the blessing their father/grandfather, Josiah, enjoyed while king of Judah because he humbled himself before God and tore down all the idols and restored the true worship of Jehovah in Israel. So, instead of enjoying blessings and favor with God and man as his dad did, Zedekiah suffered curses and punishment. In the other account of his reign in 2 Kings 25, we learn that the Babylonians killed Zedekiah’s sons in front of him, blinded him, bound him, and took him away captive into Babylonia. His end is not the one of who worships God wholeheartedly.
Father, the fate of Zedekiah was horrific and a real travesty. It was graphic and cruel but fair and just given the rebellious heart he possessed. His father served you, sought you, and worshiped you with all of his heart, all of his soul, all of his mind, and all of his strength. Josiah was a true follower whereas his sons were evil and met their doom for turning against you. Help me to live a life that pleases you through faith as I seek, serve, love, and worship you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Never let me venture so far out that I even come close to leaning in the direction of Zedekiah. I love you too much to not obey you and seek you while you can be found. In Jesus’ name, Amen.