Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part V: Prophecies Concerning Judah's Kings
B. The Need For Leaders To Heed God Over Error For The Good Of Their Subordinates
(Jeremiah 22:1-9)
  1. Introduction
    1. A great temptation exists for human leaders -- be they parents over children, husbands over wives, teachers over students, church leaders over those in the pew, employers over employees or government officials over voters-- to adopt the prevailing and often popular winds of values or ideologies.
    2. However, yielding to this temptation opens the door for the human leader to adopt errant views and values that harm their subordinates, and Jeremiah 22:1-9 addresses this truth with a lesson for us today:
  2. The Need For Leaders To Heed God Over Error For The Good Of Their Subordinates, Jer. 22:1-9.
    1. While addressing King Zedekiah in Jeremiah 21:1-22:9, Jeremiah voiced God's message that he and the officials in his administration do what was "just and right," Jeremiah 21:1-2, 3a NIV:
      1. The message addressed both King Zedekiah and his servants and people who entered his palace gates, Jeremiah 22:1-2; Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament , p. 1155-1156.
      2. As these would include all who worked with the king, the address is to the king and his administration.
    2. More specifically, God wanted the king's administration to use its power to help needy subjects under it:
      1. Jeremiah 22:3 detailed several actions God wanted Zedekiah's administration to take for his subjects.
      2. Each of the practices God detailed involved their helping needy subjects of the land (as follows):
        1. Zedekiah's administration was to deliver those who had been robbed by powerful oppressors, 22:3b.
        2. His administration was to avoid taking unfair advantage of politically and militarily vulnerable and powerless foreigners in their midst, Jeremiah 22:3c.
        3. Zedekiah's administration was to avoid taking unjust advantage of Hebrew orphans and widows who had no powerful defender or supporter, Jeremiah 22:3d,e.
        4. His administration was to avoid putting innocent people to death for the will of unjust and more powerful overlords who afflicted them, Jeremiah 22:3f.
    3. For heeding God regarding such help for these needy subjects, Zedekiah and his administration would enjoy God's blessings of a prolonged, powerful kingdom that rode in chariots and on horses, Jer. 22:4.
    4. However, for refusing to help such needy subjects as God had willed that they do, Zedekiah and his officials would suffer great loss, becoming themselves helpless and needy, Jeremiah 22:5-7, 8:
      1. Were Zedekiah and his administration to refuse to heed the Lord regarding this responsibility to heed God and help and not hurt their subordinates, God would make the king's palace that was like the "fertile, beautiful regions" of the land a place of desolation, 22:5-6a; Ryrie St. Bib., KJV, ftn. to 22:6.
      2. Indeed, God would arrange for an invading army to cut down the cedar beams from Lebanon's famous cedar trees that filled the king's palace and cause them to be thrown into a destructive fire and leave the palace like an unhabited wilderness, 22:6b; Ibid., Bible Knowledge Com., Old Testament, p. 1156.
      3. As a result of such devastation, other nations would ask just why God had allowed the seemingly once indestructible city of Jerusalem to be so completely destroyed, Jeremiah 22:8.
    5. The REASON given to this question raised by the Gentile nations would be the king and his officials had forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and had worshipped and served other false gods, Jeremiah 22:8-9. In other words, the failure of Zedekiah and his administration to heed God would have caused them to depart from using their power to HELP the NEEDY into SELFISHLY taking ADVANTAGE of them due to the SINFUL ERROR of IDOLATRY into which they had fallen!
Lesson: Contrary to HEEDING FALSE GODS that would lead Zedekiah and his officials to HARM NEEDY SUBORDINATES to the loss of God's blessing, they were to HEED GOD and His WORD, a direction that would cause them to HELP NEEDY SUBORDINATES with God's resulting blessing.

Application: May we overseers realize it is (1) NOT ONLY for OUR OWN blessing from God that we heed God and His Word, (2) but that the WELFARE of NEEDY SUBORDINATES is DIRECTLY affected by how well we HEED God and His TRUTH! This is because God and His truth direct us to consider helping the weak among us where error and false gods lead us to self-centered abusiveness!