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

Part XI: The Fall Of Jerusalem - Staying Upright Due To The Enormous, Inevitable Stakes Involved
(Jeremiah 39:1-18)
  1. Introduction
    1. We who know Christ are often taught to trust and obey God's Word to enjoy His blessing.
    2. Yet, at times the world, the flesh and the devil lure us into thinking that heeding God is not all that important or worthwhile, and we need a sharp reminder of the tremendous and inevitable stakes that are involved so as to shift back into the faithful "trust and obey plod."
    3. Jeremiah 39:1-18 reports on the enormous but inevitable CONTRASTING destinies of those who failed to trust and heed the Lord versus those who did; perusing the passage motivates us to stay right with God!
  2. The Fall Of Jerusalem - Staying Upright Due To The Enormous, Inevitable Stakes Involved, Jer. 39.
    1. When Jerusalem finally fell to the Babylonians, those who failed to trust and obey the Lord experienced horrific and crushing events in their lives, Jeremiah 39:1-10:
      1. King Zedekiah had been urged by God's prophet, Jeremiah to obey the Word of the Lord to surrender to the Babylonian army that he, his family and Jerusalem might be well treated, Jer. 38:17-18, 19-20.
      2. However, Zedekiah did not heed God's Word, and so brought upon himself, his family and Jerusalem great trauma, pain and humiliation (as follows):
        1. The Babylonians eventually broke through the wall of Jerusalem and the princes of the king of Babylon set up their seats of authority in the middle gate of the city, Jeremiah 39:1-3.
        2. When Zedekiah saw them there, he and his men of war tried to flee by night through the gate of the king's garden located between the two walls, and head off into the wilderness, cf. Jeremiah 39:4.
        3. However, in chilling fulfillment of Jeremiah's warning, this decision produced ruin for all involved: (a) the Babylonian army pursued and captured Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, and brought him up to Riblah in the land of Hamath of Syria where Nebuchadnezzar passed judgment upon him, 39:5; (b) thus, Zedekiah had to witness the execution of his sons and nobles prior to having is own eyes put out so that he would never forget the death of these people as the last thing he saw, 39:6-7; (c) the Babylonians burned his palace along with the homes of the people and broke down the city walls that had protected them, Jeremiah 39:8; (d) those who remained alive were taken captive to Babylon and the poor of the land were left to keep the vineyards and fields, Jeremiah 39:9-10.
    2. However, Jerusalem's fall led to the Lord's comforting blessing for those who had heeded Him, 39:11-18:
      1. When Jerusalem fell, God's prophet, Jeremiah experienced God's comfort and peace, Jer. 39:11-14:
        1. Babylon's king Nebuchadnezzar gave a special charge to his official, Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard concerning Jeremiah, Jeremiah 39:11.
        2. Accordingly, he ordered Jeremiah be treated well, Jer. 39:12a,b. In fact, the king told his official to do whatever Jeremiah himself suggested be done with him, a great fulfillment of God's promise to deliver Jeremiah from harm for obeying the Lord [back in Jeremiah 1:17-19] (Jeremiah 39:12c)!
        3. Jeremiah was thus taken into Babylonian custody, and sent according to his own wishes back to his hometown of Anathoth where he was allowed to live among his own people, Jeremiah 39:13-14!
      2. When Jerusalem fell, believing Ebed-melech experienced God's comfort and peace, Jer. 39:15-18:
        1. While Jeremiah had been in prison, God's told him to tell the Cushite, Ebed-melech his life would be spared in the invasion; for faith in God as seen by his deliverance of God's prophet, Jeremiah from the cistern, Ebed-melech would have his life spared as a prize of war, 39:15-18; 38:7-13 ESV.
        2. Accordingly, Ebed-melech's life was spared when the Babylonians invaded and destroyed the city; the people he had feared might harm him did not do so as God's reward for his faith, Jer. 39:17, 18.
Lesson: The RESULTS of either NOT heeding the Lord or HEEDING Him were POWERFULLY CONTRASTED in the fall of Jerusalem, and serves to motivate us to read about it to heed the Lord!

Application: (1) The FINAL RESULTS of heeding or not heeding the Lord are HUGE and SURE, so we best keep trusting and obeying the Lord and His Word! (2) Any time we feel unmotivated to heed the Lord to the full, we should read Jeremiah 39:1-18 for the motivational antidote!