Put not Your Trust in Princes
Jeremiah 38:5
Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.

What a proof does this incident give of the wisdom of this counsel! Note -

I. ALL ARE TEMPTED TO PUT TRUST IN MEN. To very many man is the highest being they know or believe in. Then, our fellow men are near at hand; we can understand them and they us; are of like nature - they can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; and they in whom we trust appear to us to possess that which we need but have not.


1. Of the law of honour which is supposed to bind them. The word of a king, where that is there is power.

2. They have such vast capacity of help. Unlimited resources seem at their command.

3. They are independent of and superior to the influences which govern inferior men.

4. And very often they have rendered great help to men in need thereof.

III. But there are many instances which show that THIS TRUST SHOULD BE VERY LIMITED. Here is a case in point. How miserable this king's conduct! Now, wherefore did Zedekiah, and do such as he, disappoint men's expectations (cf. Shakespeare, 'Henry VIII.,' Wolsey's dying speech)? It is because they are governed, not by principle, but by expediency. A tree standing on the summit of a lofty hill needs to be more firmly rooted than trees in the sheltered valley, for it is exposed to every wind that blows. But if it be not so rooted, it will soon fall. So with exalted personages; they are exposed to influences on all sides; all parties seek to gain them over to their views and to enlist them in their favour. Hence if a prince have not firm principles to guide him, he will sway from side to side and finally fall. So it was with this King Zedekiah. He was influenced now by one party and now by another (cf. homily on The woe of weakness, Jeremiah 34:2). "Like a wave of the sea driven of the wind and tossed." And all this is true in measure and degree of all who fill high stations, and in whom men are apt to put great trust. But, -

IV. UNLIMITED TRUST SHOULD BE IN GOD ALONE. The prophet of God was doubtless less surprised than grieved, but he had long learned to commit his way unto the Lord. Let us do likewise, and then we may rest assured that, let men above us favour or frown upon us, that which is best for us and for all will assuredly be done.

"Ill that thou blessest turns to good,
And unblest good is ill,
And all is right that seems most wrong,
If it be thy sweet will."

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you.

WEB: Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand; for the king is not he who can do anything against you.

Prophecy and Patriotism
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