We are deep into the Old Testament (and long!) book of Jeremiah. If you are following along in our Southwest 2020 Bible Project video-watching and Bible-reading schedule, you know that Jeremiah is unique in that (1) it records God's words to the people of God in Judah in their last days of existence before being taken into captivity by the Babylonians, and (2) we get an unusually detailed look at the life of the prophet Jeremiah.
Early in this last week's reading, there was a string of chapters that gave us a fairly detailed and up-close rundown of some happenings that featured King Zedekiah and Jeremiah.
What stood out to me this time around was that while they both suffered in the narrative, the REASONS for and the nature of their suffering were vastly different.
Jeremiah, as you might suspect (since he is the messenger of God), suffered because he stood steadfastly for what God wants and obediently did what God said.
Zedekiah, on the other hand, suffered because he was spineless, people-pleasing, and swayable based on his circumstances, motived by personal survival, power, and comfort.
Listen, friends. They BOTH suffered.
What was the difference? The difference was the nature and worthiness of the suffering.
In Jeremiah's case, even though he suffered, inwardly he knew he was on the right side of things, and God had his back.
In Zedekiah's case, inwardly he had to be constantly insecure and losing sleep, and God was ON his back.
Concerning suffering, I was reminded that Jesus said, "In the world you will have trouble". Bummer. But since it is true, today, we look at the sins of Zedekiah, and the steadfastness of Jeremiah, so that you can choose the nature and worthiness of the kind of suffering you want.