Why Did God Tell Zedekiah to Surrender to Nebuchadnezzar?
Please read my previous post to find out what Zedekiah, the King of Judah, was supposed to have done when Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege Jerusalem. This article will make more sense after reading that one.
In our previous article, we talked about the fact that God had instructed King Zedekiah via Jeremiah to surrender to King Nebuchadnezzar when he came to capture Jerusalem. We noted that God had said that things would go well for King Zedekiah (the last king of Judah before it fell) if he surrendered. He, along with his household would all survive. Jerusalem would not be damaged. King Nebuchadnezzar would honor Zedekiah’s surrender.
We learned that Zedekiah did not surrender to King Nebuchadnezzar and because of that, Zedekiah’s sons were killed in front of him and it was the very last thing Zedekiah saw in this life before Nebuchadnezzar had Zedekiah’s eyes blinded. Beyond this, the king’s palace and people’s homes in Jerusalem were destroyed and Jerusalem’s walls smashed to pieces. It had taken Nebuchadnezzar about 18 months to breach those walls and he was in no mood for any games when his troops finally got inside Jerusalem.
Zedekiah should have surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar because God told him to do so. Instead he and his men of war tried to run in the middle of the night. They were captured and dealt with in Nebuchadnezzar’s anger. It wasn’t pretty.
All right, so last time we learned what Zedekiah was supposed to have done and failed to do it. In this article, I’d like to try to answer two questions: 1) why did God tell Zedekiah to surrender instead of fight, and 2) is there anything there for Christians in America to apply to us even though there is no physical or spiritual connection to Israel in any way, shape, or form?
First, why did God tell Zedekiah to surrender? I believe God told Zedekiah that he should surrender to Nebuchadnezzar for a variety of reasons. Let me list some of them.
- Israel as a nation had become seriously corrupt
- Israel no longer worshiped God in truth
- Israel had replaced God with idols
- Israel acted like her pagan neighbors
- Israel had been repeatedly warned by Jeremiah (and other prophets) to turn back to God – they had no excuse
- Israel was destroying God’s reputation to the world, dragging His Name through the mud (Israel was to have been salt and a light on a hill, Matthew 5:13-16)
- Israel had lost all sense of who they were and why they had been created as a nation
- Israel’s leaders had become self-aggrandizing, arrogant, and totally corrupt
- Israel was killing the very prophets God had sent to warn them of approaching judgment because of their failure to live lives that pleased God
- Israel’s leaders chose to listen to false prophets who told them judgment was not coming
This is all clearly spelled out in Jeremiah. Some additional insight into why God was determined to have Nebuchadnezzar conquer and capture Jerusalem have to do with the following:
- The captivity brought Daniel to the fore and gave us the book of Daniel
- Through Daniel, God revealed His plan for the ages, known as the “times of the Gentiles”
- We learn of God’s grace, His judgment, and the listing of empires leading up to the 2nd Coming
- We learn of Daniel, his faith, his consistency, and his love for God in daily life
- We learn more about Nebuchadnezzar and how God humbled him
- We learn about Cyrus/Darius (Medes-Persians) who was also God’s man for that time
- We learn about the fulfillment of the 70 years as first noted in Jeremiah
- We also learn about the 70 “weeks,” which is different from the 70 years (Daniel 9)
- We learn how God proves Himself to us by revealing the future long before it happens
- We are reminded of God’s faithfulness in His dealings with the only nation He ever created: Israel
The above two sets of ten reasons are not exhaustive by any stretch, but they do help us focus on God, His purposes for Israel, and in general, how He deals with wayward humanity. Sometimes, He sends judgment because it is deserved.
In Israel’s case, the nation had become so corrupt, so far fallen from God that there was nothing left for God to do except send judgment. If you spend time reading Jeremiah from chapter one to Jeremiah 39, you will clearly see that God tried many times to regain that nation’s loyalty. He sent prophets like Jeremiah to the leaders of Israel. Too often, false prophets disagreed with the real prophets and the leaders chose to believe the false prophets because their words sounded convincing and the results were more to Israel’s (leaders) liking.
Also note that throughout the Old Testament, there are many times that God judges other nations besides Israel. He keeps track of a nation’s iniquities and once their cup is full, He sends judgment. No nation escapes God’s judgment and I fully believe that a time is coming when America, along with many other nations, will experience God’s wrath. It will occur during the coming Tribulation, but it may begin before that period starts.
I also believe it is too late for America to rebound. We have been killing unborn babies for too long and there has been too much political corruption. Our elected officials have done and continue to do everything possible to remove God from our halls of learning and society itself. God is now relegated to churches and I’m sure our government would like to find some way to eliminate Him even there.
But as Christians, should we – as some are saying – be prepared to take up arms against the government because of the 2nd Amendment and the rights given to us under the Constitution? Should we resist the evil of the government because we believe that’s what God would have us do?
It seems to me that when God sends judgment as He has done with many nations throughout history (not just with Israel), that judgment usually comes because of the sins of that particular nation. That is not the “evil” that God says to resist. James tells us to resist the devil and he will flee (cf. James 4:7). Jesus says we should not resist an evil person. If God is sending the judgment in the form of our government, to resist that system then is to resist God.
Would you agree with me that God puts people in leadership positions, whether they are corrupt or not, in many nations? President Obama appears godless to me, yet he is president not by chance, but because God allowed it (cf. Proverbs 21:1). I believe a nation deserves the type of leadership it gets based on how that nation’s citizens act towards God’s laws. As America has become increasingly more corrupt, it stands to reason that our leadership would also become more corrupt, yet God allows that, doesn’t He? It is all moving toward the coming seven-year period known as the Tribulation/Great Tribulation. I don’t believe there is anything we can do to change that. The die appears to be cast.
So does the situation with Zedekiah and Israel provide us with information that is helpful for Christians today, who live in such a corrupt nation as America? I’m treading very lightly here when I say that I believe there is an application that Christians can apply to their own lives. I would also like to issue a caution flag. You, the reader, are ultimately responsible for how you perceive not only God’s Word, but how you receive what I (or anyone) teach. Take what I say and compare them with Scripture. If you believe I have missed the mark, then so be it. You need to follow what you believe God states or implies in His Word. As for me, I believe God is getting me to see that resistance to a corrupt government is often futile and causes more problems. I’m not talking about resisting criminals in day-to-day living. I’m talking about the people that God has allowed to be in leadership positions and who oversee the laws of this nation and the tone that is created in society because of that.
I believe that Christians who live in America and who enjoy the blessings of the Constitution, can do whatever we have the freedom to do to try to change things politically, though this was clearly not Jesus’ mission. We should always pray, vote, work, and do what is right. There is great responsibility in choosing the candidate that is the best one, though too often for the Christian, the best candidate is still only the lesser of all evils. In those cases, it’s difficult to even justify voting because you still wind up voting for someone who is possibly not a Christian and/or open to siding with those who exemplify evil in order to get things done.
If we are honest, we would have to admit that things are not looking good at all for America. Abortion continues unabated, treasonous politicians exist, and in general, Cultural Marxism continues to overtake America, changing it at its root. Christians pray and work, yet these things still continue.
I don’t believe for a moment that every Jew during Zedekiah’s time was corrupt and fearful like he was, do you? Unfortunately, the leaders are the ones who set the tone for that nation. It is the same thing here in America. Our leaders – for good or bad – are setting the tone for America and this is in spite of all the prayers and work to change things by millions of Christians.
Are Christians failing? Is God not listening? No to both. I think God is answering our prayers with a “no,” but is very much listening. He certainly understands our desires and our plight. However, He has His own timeline, program, and purposes for this world and those supersede our wants and desires when it comes to the political tone and nature of America. Let’s not forget this all began with Daniel 2 and 9, and what has become known as the program of 70 Weeks.
So what now? The answer – as far as I can see – is that we continue to pray, to work, and to live a life that sets us apart. But we must remember that our job as Christians is found in the Great Commission. To pray that America will change course is certainly good, but if God says “no,” we must respect that! In the meantime, we also must continue to witness to the lost wherever we find them. The Great Commission does not change with the political tides. It is an ongoing endeavor that should be shared by all Christians regardless of society’s tone or moral corruption.
What happens when God’s judgment comes to America? For the Christian? We must continue to work to help the lost see that they are lost in spite of what occurs. We are not of this world, are we? Our citizenship is in heaven, is it not? Then why do we act as though our citizenship is actually in America, a nation that will eventually pass away like all of them?
In other words, I’m saying that we must “surrender” to the government should our government decide to use Martial Law or anything else to gain total control over the populace. If we do that, then I believe God will bless us in spite of the problems that will exist in society to a much greater degree than they do now. But the reality is that I’m not even sure the political tone in society should concern us. Does it really matter? Will it change the way Christians are supposed to be in society? It will probably make things more difficult, but won’t God still be with us?
I believe whatever the situation in society happens to be, if we submit to Him and not resist the government, He will continue to use us for His glory. If we choose instead to “fight” the government in any way we can think of, I do not believe it will go well with us.
I know people who have said they will barricade themselves in their homes and unload their guns on any approach government official. These are Christians too. Is that what God wants? While I’ve been tempted to believe that, I am now concerned that this approach is evil, because it does not take into account God’s sovereignty. In fact, it ignores it.
Had King Zedekiah simply surrendered, as God told him to do, he and his household would have survived unharmed. Jerusalem would have been spared. Instead, Zedekiah made grave matters far worse by not obeying God. The nation of Israel had come to the end of God’s patience in that time. There was no turning back. Judgment was coming, but in His loving-kindness, God gave Zedekiah an out. All he had to do was swallow his pride and fear and surrender. He chose not to obey.
You are free to completely disagree with me, of course. I believe we can work within the confines of the law as well as pray for change in America. However, what is most important to God is the change that occurs in people when they come to see the truth of salvation and receive that same salvation that is only found in Jesus! That is our job priority, not trying to change a nation back to some previous time when it was allegedly more in tune with God and His will.
If we look through the Bible, we will see examples of one saint after another submitting themselves to God’s will – in essence, surrendering to God – and because of that, God provided the victory. No, it wasn’t always what was necessarily wanted, but it was always God’s will.
Things are going to increasingly become worse until the tipping point is reached and God sends judgment. The Bible I read tells me that this is a surety. It takes a person of strong faith in God to surrender, doesn’t it? But remember, that surrender that you are willing to evidence in your life may well be the very catalyst that brings about the needed change in another person, a change that ultimately grants them eternal life. They will see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Or…you can take up arms and defend yourself.
God is either in control of our lives or He isn’t. He knows what’s coming. He has His purposes for it. I do not see a pardon for America, do you?
Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Global Elite, Life in America, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, Shadow Government. Tags: jeremiah, surrender to god, zedekiah.