WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 7, 2022
TOPIC: MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO OBEY GOD, NO MATTER WHAT
BY T. O. BANSO
“I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever, no matter what” (Psalm 119:112 Contemporary English Version).
King Zedekiah of Judah seemed to always agree with everybody. He didn’t take the right stand. He appeared to be a weak king, who didn’t have a mind of his own. He wasn’t firm. This is not a good attribute for anyone, especially a leader. While you should be open to other people’s opinions and ideas, you should not agree with everybody on everything.
In Jeremiah 37, Jeremiah was imprisoned on the false allegation that he was trying to defect to the Babylonians whom he had prophesied would attack Jerusalem and destroy her (verses 11-15). Later, Zedekiah sent for him. He was brought to him from the dungeon and he held a private discussion with him. After he had asked Jeremiah for the Word of the LORD and he told him, he granted Jeremiah’s request not to be returned to the dungeon. He commanded that he should be placed in the courtyard of the guard or the court of the prison and be given bread from the street of the bakers each day until all the bread in the city was gone (verses 16-21).
However, in Jeremiah 38, when the princes came to tell him that Jeremiah must die for supporting the Babylonians, Zedekiah ordered that they should do to him as they wanted (verses 1-5). He didn’t oppose the persecution of Jeremiah. Jeremiah was then taken and thrown into the dungeon of Malchiah the king’s son, in the court of the prison, for him to die there.
Thereafter, when one of his eunuchs, Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian, came to report to Zedekiah what had been done to Jeremiah and that he would die in the dungeon, he asked him to take thirty of his men to go and rescue Jeremiah. Ebed-Melech carried out his instruction (verses 8-13).
Zedekiah didn’t possess or demonstrate the character of a good leader, and he paid dearly for it. If he had been decisive and not tried to be a men-pleaser, he would have escaped the disaster that befell him, his family, and Jerusalem.
Jeremiah had warned him: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Thus you shall say to the king of Judah, who sent you to Me to inquire of Me: ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army which has come up to help you will return to Egypt, to their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come back and fight against this city, and take it and burn it with fire.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘Do not deceive yourselves, saying, ‘The Chaldeans will surely depart from us,’ for they will not depart. For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire’” (Jeremiah 37:7-10 New King James Version).
When Zedekiah called him privately to ask if he had any messages from the LORD, Jeremiah told him that the king of Babylon would defeat him (verse 17). He didn’t heed Jeremiah’s warning. In Jeremiah 38, he sent for Jeremiah again and in a private meeting asked him not to hide the truth from him, but Jeremiah answered him that if he told him the truth, he would kill him and if he advised him, he would not listen to him (verses 14-15).
He assured Jeremiah he would not kill him or hand him over to the men who wanted him dead. “Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘If you surely surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then your soul shall live; this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. But if you do not surrender to the king of Babylon’s princes, then this city shall be given into the hand of the Chaldeans; they shall burn it with fire, and you shall not escape from their hand’” (verses 17-18 New King James Version).
What was Zedekiah’s response to the truth Jeremiah told him? “And Zedekiah the king said to Jeremiah, ‘I am afraid of the Jews who have defected to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they abuse me’” (verse 19 New King James Version).
Jeremiah further assured him that the Babylonians would not hand him over to the Jews who defected to abuse or maltreat him. He pleaded with Zedekiah to obey the voice of the LORD by doing what he told him, and it would be well with him, and his life would be spared. “But if you refuse to surrender, this is the word that the Lord has shown me: ‘Now behold, all the women who are left in the king of Judah’s house shall be surrendered to the king of Babylon’s princes, and those women shall say: ‘Your close friends have set upon you and prevailed against you; your feet have sunk in the mire, and they have turned away again.’ So they shall surrender all your wives and children to the Chaldeans. You shall not escape from their hand, but shall be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon. And you shall cause this city to be burned with fire’” (verses 21-23 New King James Version).
Nevertheless, Zedekiah kept vacillating; he did not make up his mind to act on what Jeremiah had told him. He refused to obey God but listened to his officials until the Babylonians attacked Jerusalem. Zedekiah tried to flee but was arrested. His sons and all his nobles were slaughtered before his very eyes and his eyes were gouged. He was taken to Babylon where he later died (Jeremiah 39:1-7). This disaster happened because Jeremiah allowed himself to be misled. He didn’t make up his mind to obey God.
Make up your mind to obey God in all circumstances. The psalmist said, “I have made up my mind to obey your laws forever, no matter what” (Psalm 119:112 Contemporary English Version). The New King James Version says, “I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end.” The New International Version renders it thus: “My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end.” Psalm 119:33 says, “Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.” This should be your heart cry.
Make up your mind to obey God forever, no matter what. Incline your heart to do whatever God says forever, to the very end. Let your heart be set on keeping God’s Word to the very end. Don’t be like Zedekiah who couldn’t make up his mind. Don’t try to agree with everything people ask you to do; agree only with what agrees with the Word of God. You may have to offend some people, but do what the Word of God says. Don’t try to please everyone.
Paul said he did not seek to please men, for if he pleased men, he would not be a bondservant of Christ (Galatians 1:10). In preaching the gospel, Paul spoke not as pleasing men (1 Thessalonians 2:4). The apostles made up their minds to obey God and refused to do anything to the contrary. Acts 5:29 says Peter and the other apostles answered the Jewish Council, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (New King James Version).
Don’t obey men and disobey God. Whatever you may gain by disobeying God to please men is temporary. You will suffer the consequences as Zedekiah and his wrong advisers did. Don’t be afraid to disagree with people if necessary. Don’t compromise the Word of God. To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams (1 Samuel 15:22b). Make up your mind to obey God, no matter what.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, forgive me of my past disobedience. Holy Spirit, help me henceforth not to obey men and disobey God. I will obey God forever, no matter what, in Jesus’ name. I pray that all children of God will make up their minds to obey God forever, no matter what. We shall no more be disobedient to God in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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