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Jeremiah 34

Talks for Growing Christians

The Warnings to Zedekiah and to the People

Jeremiah 34

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Lesson Number 32

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. God’s discipline is relaxed when His people repent.
  2. God’s discipline is returned when His people rebel.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t be a fox-hole Christian!

Questions

  1. Chapters 30-33 of Jeremiah are called “The Book of Consolation” because they contain messages of hope. Here in chapter 34, Jeremiah returns to the theme of God’s judgment because of Judah’s sin. What was God’s prophetic warning to Zedekiah regarding the city of Jerusalem? What was God’s prophetic word to Zedekiah regarding his future?
  2. What was God’s prophetic warning to Zedekiah regarding the outlying fortified cities that ringed Jerusalem? What ancient document(s) confirm this prophecy and detail the last days of two of these cities?
  3. What was God’s command to the people of Jerusalem in the covenant He made with them? Did the people take action to obey? What subsequent event by Nebuchadnezzar’s forces give evidence of God’s response to the actions of the people?
  4. Later the people reneged on their covenant with the Lord. The Lord considered this rebellion as an act of ___________ the name of the Lord.
  5. We know that the people had made their covenant before the Lord because they had cut the calf in two and had passed between the two parts. (See Genesis 15 and the cutting rite in regard to the Abrahamic Covenant.) Because God’s people had then broken the covenant, they were subject to God’s judgment. How did God judge them?

Answers

  1. God spoke through Jeremiah to Zedekiah and said that He would give the city of Jerusalem into the hand of the king of Babylon and that he would burn it with fire (v 2). God told Zedekiah that he would die in peace as a captive in Babylon and not by the sword (vs 4-5). He died as a blind king because Nebuchadnezzar had put out his eyes before taking him to Babylon.
  2. Many of the outlying fortified cities had already fallen to the Babylonians. Only Azekah and Lachish remained. The ancient Lachish letters which date to this time, confirm that Azekah and Lachish were still standing, but that the signal fire from Azekah then went out and was seen no more.
  3. God’s command to the people was to release their Hebrew slaves, both men and women. The people of Jerusalem did obey and did release their slaves. We learn from chapter 37 of Jeremiah that Nebuchadnezzar withdrew his forces temporarily because the Egyptian army had set out from Egypt to intervene.
  4. The Lord considered the rebellion of the people when they reneged on their covenant and took back their slaves, as an act of profaning the name of the Lord (v 16).
  5. Because the people had rebelled and broken the covenant, they would be broken, and their dead bodies would become food for the birds and the beasts(v 20).

Discuss/Consider

  1. After reading 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 and Hebrews 12:5-11, and reviewing God’s discipline of His people here in Jeremiah 34, discuss the grace and justice found not only in the principle of God’s discipline, but also found in the ultimate results.

Challenge

  1. We all have probably had experiences of being a fox-hole Christian. Are you now finding that it is more encouraging and more helpful to pray faithfully and effectively before dangerous or threatening or pressure-filled times come? Regular time of deep study in God’s word and frequent time in deep prayer minimize the need for deep fox-holes.

Key Verses

  • “Behold, I will command,” says the Lord, “and cause them to return to this city. They will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire; and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.” Jeremiah 34:22

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