Reaching Out to Those in Need

D.L. Moody said, “I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride and conceit and ambition a … More

Selfishness

Jeremiah says that in those days they even had trouble with rulers wasting money in an extravagant way on their own private homes (vv. 13,14). When the nation of Judah was bankrupt and deep in trouble, king Jehoiakim used his power to force unpaid Jewish slave labor to build him a palace! Jeremiah says “Because you can build a bigger house than anyone else, do you think that is what makes you a king (v. 15). Then he reminded him that his father King Josiah lived comfortably and still did what was just and right. Josiah defended the cause of the poor, and God blessed him, but Jehoiakim thought only of himself (v. 16). It didn’t worry him that God watched as he robbed the poor, killed the innocent, and oppressed the just (v. 17).

Because of Jehoiakim’s heavy-handed oppression, the people would not mourn for him at his death (v. 18). Instead of the lavish funeral normally given a monarch, Jehoiakim, Jeremiah predicted, would have the burial of a donkey (v. 19). Because of Jehoiakim’s foolishness Jeremiah called on the city of Jerusalem to lament her fate (v. 20). God had warned Jerusalem of the consequences of disobedience when she felt secure, but she refused to listen (v. 21). Now she could only watch in sorrow as her shepherds (kings) were taken away and her allies (possibly the Egyptians) also faced exile (v. 22). So much cedar had been imported to Jerusalem from Lebanon (Jer. 22:6-7, 13-15) that living in Jerusalem was like dwelling among Lebanon’s cedars (v. 23). Yet those living there would groan when the pangs of God’s judgment came on them like a woman with labor pains.

Application

Jehoiakim wasn’t much different from some modern politicians who profit from dishonest gain while they ignore the cries of the poor and needy. Lord, help me to never get so concerned with the things of this world that I neglect to reach out to those who are in need.

Jeremiah 22:13-23 (English Standard Version)


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