God's Terms of Salvation Hard
Jeremiah 38:17-23
Then said Jeremiah to Zedekiah, Thus said the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel…


1. They attack our pride. Zedekiah was afraid of the mockery of "the Jews that are fallen to the Chaldeans." He did not like to acknowledge himself in error. There was no glory in surrender. Pride is one of the first hindrances to salvation. We want to be our own saviours.

2. They crush self-will. "Not as I will, but as thou wilt" - the first and last prayer of the true child of God. It was not Zedekiah's plan, and contradicted all the policy of his rebellion. It should be sufficient to the sinner to know that God has appointed the way of escape. He has no right to choose.

3. They require faith. How was the king to be certain that yielding himself into the hands of the princes of the Chaldeans would secure the ends desired? He hardly realized that it could be so. And similarly it is asked, "How can Jesus save?" He is to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but to them that believe the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. "Only believe," that is the hardest thing the unregenerate soul can do. Yet it is necessary.


1. See how relentless the alternative. There is no middle way, no royal road to salvation. It was a step simple enough in itself, but it involved everything, and could not, therefore, be qualified. Christ and his salvation are our only hope: "And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other Name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved" (Acts 4:12; cf. Galatians 1:8).

2. Nor is the messenger of God at liberty to alter them. These are the terms for all, and they represent the infinite wisdom and love of God. It is not for man to attempt to improve upon them. To do so would be equivalent to creating a human gospel. Jeremiah, although he had reasons for ingratiating himself with the wicked king, yet presents an example of faithfulness to every minister of the truth. He might not suffer himself to corrupt the Word of God even for such considerations.


1. Belief and obedience will remove every difficulty. The troubles of Zedekiah were almost wholly imaginary. Had he not been assured that everything would be made sure by adopting the advice given? One act of faith on the part of the sinner will save him. Henceforth is will be infinitely easier to do the things that remain, and to pass from faith to faith.

2. How mild are they compared with the consequences of disobedience! - M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then said Jeremiah unto Zedekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of hosts, the God of Israel; If thou wilt assuredly go forth unto the king of Babylon's princes, then thy soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and thou shalt live, and thine house:

WEB: Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Armies, the God of Israel: If you will go forth to the king of Babylon's princes, then your soul shall live, and this city shall not be burned with fire; and you shall live, and your house.

The Value of an Oath
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