Obeying the Voice of the Lord
Jeremiah 38:20
But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beseech you, the voice of the LORD, which I speak to you…

I. GOD HAS A VOICE FOR THOSE IN DOUBT. Poor Zedekiah, king though he be, is in a state of great vacillation. Counsellors speak one thing, and a prophet speaks another. Counsellors proclaim continued and resolute resistance, though it is by no means plain that they believe in what they say, and from ver. 19 it is clear that there were very considerable divisions in the city. Jeremiah, on the other hand, speaks like a man who is perfectly sure of his ground. He was oftentimes wretched and depressed in his own heart, but never did he speak the message of Jehovah with a doubt as to whether it was a real message at all. The world abounds in doubters, coming continually to a place where two ways meet, and standing long in uncertainty and fear which way to take. And yet they are uncertain only because they do not see the direction which God has given. For even as at crossroads finger posts are put up to direct strangers, so God has his finger posts forevery doubtful traveller in the ways of terrestrial life. Zedekiah seems to have had a feeling that he was seeking in the right direction when he sent again to Jeremiah. He seems to have made himself ready to listen, without hinting that he expected some particular answer. So to speak, it was Zedekiah's last chance, and he gave the prophet the opportunity of speaking with corresponding plainness. And as God's Word is here, so it is everywhere, spoken with the utmost assurance and from the whole nature of the messenger.

II. THE VOICE CALLS TO IMMEDIATE OBEDIENCE. There is always some duty that lies nearest us. Part of the mischief of doubt is that, while we are doubting, some good thing is left undone, the opportunity for it passing away unused. There was just one thing for Zedekiah to do at this moment - go forth and surrender himself to the generals of the King of Babylon. Repentance and amendment of life - these were no longer available to avert the capture of Jerusalem. That was a thing settled on. But carnage and destruction might be averted by a timely surrender. Every day there is something made plain for us to do that day. It may be difficult, painful, in all ways hard to the flesh; but if it is neglected, then we shall only meet something still more painful tomorrow. "Obey the voice of the Lord, and it shall be well with thee," is a word to us all The voice of self or the voice of others may hint at procrastination or at some qualified obedience. Our only safety is in attending to the clear and urgent voice from heaven. Paradox as it seems, the most difficult way is really the easiest, and the easiest the most difficult. Zedekiah did not attend to the prophet's imperative utterance, and the next chapter tells the dreadful things which happened. The king really made things worse by going out of his way to seek for direction, and then, when he had got it, paying no attention to it. - Y.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver thee. Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the LORD, which I speak unto thee: so it shall be well unto thee, and thy soul shall live.

WEB: But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beg you, the voice of Yahweh, in that which I speak to you: so it shall be well with you, and your soul shall live.

Top of Page
Top of Page