Life is dicey and unpredictable at times in our lives. There is no one who can escape interruptions to the routines of life.  As I read this next passage of Jeremiah’s messages about impending war, destruction and captivity, I think of the Ukrainian people who are living life the best they can among their families and friends until the bully of Russia decided to he wanted what they had worked hard to attain—freedom to live life.  I had the privilege to meet people in this area of the world.  I enjoyed a mission trip to Moldova where I met many God honoring people who loved God, believed in Jesus’ redemption with desires to teach others to love Him, too. 

People from the Ukraine and some from Romania met together in Moldova for training where we were in attendance, helping to lead the training.  I learned quickly that to worship God came at a cost in their countries.  A watchful, governmental eye was always on them.  So, extreme trust in God was of highest priority.  I often pray for the friends I met who love God, asking Him to protect them and provide for their needs in the middle of a war they did not invite. 

In this situation, God’s people, led by Zedekiah the unholy king of Judah, are being allowed to be taken captive because they refused to trust God.  Most, who once were God’s chosen have not only turned their backs on God, they have lived such sinful, perverted lives that are killing each other and their children in unholy sacrifices to Baal and other gods!.  The Babylonian army is being used to cleanse the land and make it holy.  A remnant, those caught in the crossfire, so to speak, who still trust in God, are protected and spared.  That’s what God does.  “You’ll walk out of there safe and sound because you trusted me.” God’s Decree to Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 39, The Message

Bad News, Not Good News

39 1-2 In the ninth year and tenth month of Zedekiah king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with his entire army and laid siege to Jerusalem. In the eleventh year and fourth month, on the ninth day of Zedekiah’s reign, they broke through into the city.

All the officers of the king of Babylon came and set themselves up as a ruling council from the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer of Simmagar, Nebushazban the Rabsaris, Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag, along with all the other officials of the king of Babylon.

4-7 When Zedekiah king of Judah and his remaining soldiers saw this, they ran for their lives. They slipped out at night on a path in the king’s garden through the gate between two walls and headed for the wilderness, toward the Jordan Valley. The Babylonian army chased them and caught Zedekiah in the wilderness of Jericho. They seized him and took him to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the country of Hamath. Nebuchadnezzar decided his fate. The king of Babylon killed all the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah right before his eyes and then killed all the nobles of Judah. After Zedekiah had seen the slaughter, Nebuchadnezzar blinded him, chained him up, and then took him off to Babylon.

8-10 Meanwhile, the Babylonians burned down the royal palace, the Temple, and all the homes of the people. They leveled the walls of Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan, commander of the king’s bodyguard, rounded up everyone left in the city, along with those who had surrendered to him, and herded them off to exile in Babylon. He didn’t bother taking the few poor people who had nothing. He left them in the land of Judah to eke out a living as best they could in the vineyards and fields.

* * *

11-12 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave Nebuzaradan captain of the king’s bodyguard special orders regarding Jeremiah: “Look out for him. Make sure nothing bad happens to him. Give him anything he wants.”

13-14 So Nebuzaradan, chief of the king’s bodyguard, along with Nebushazban the Rabsaris, Nergal-sharezer the Rabmag, and all the chief officers of the king of Babylon, sent for Jeremiah, taking him from the courtyard of the royal guards and putting him under the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, to be taken home. And so he was able to live with the people.

* * *

15-18 Earlier, while Jeremiah was still in custody in the courtyard of the royal guards, God’s Message came to him: “Go and speak with Ebed-melek the Ethiopian. Tell him, ‘God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says, Listen carefully: I will do exactly what I said I would do to this city—bad news, not good news. When it happens, you will be there to see it. But I’ll deliver you on that doomsday. You won’t be handed over to those men whom you have good reason to fear. Yes, I’ll most certainly save you. You won’t be killed. You’ll walk out of there safe and sound because you trusted me.’” God’s Decree.


“If only you had trusted Me.”  None of these things would have happened if only one of the kings had sincerely repented, trusted the Lord, and surrendered to the Babylonians.

Since the Lord had promised that Jeremiah would survive all the opposition and persecution against him, God moved upon Nebuchadnezzar to release the prophet and treat him kindly.  Sparing Jeremiah was a miracle, considering what Nebuchadnezzar did to Zedekiah!  Because you trusted me says God—

“I will deliver you; I will save you, You will walk out of there safe and sound.”

I’m not a great scholar, but it seems to me that to trust God is the Way, the one and only Way to live life, right?!  A great hymn of worship from my childhood is playing in my mind right now,

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”


I surrender to you with all my love, trust, and faith.  Nothing is too hard for you!  Why trust anyone else?  You made the heavens and earth. You know what happens next.  You know exactly what I need and provide the ways and means before I know I have a need.  You have redeemed me.  Your love for me and those who believe is beyond our wildest thinking in depth and width.  Your kindness and gentleness are part of your merciful character.  Your grace is certainly sufficient for me.  All I need is you.  I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go
Never fear, only trust and obey

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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