God of the Publican, be merciful to me a sinner; this I am by nature and practice, this thy word proclaims me to be, this I hope I feel myself to be. Yet thou hast not left me to despair, for there is no ‘peradventure’ in thy grace; I have all the assurance I need that with thee is plenteous redemption. -The Valley of Vision; A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
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Thou city ever blest,
Within thy portals first I find
My safety, peace and rest.
Here dangers always threaten me,
My days in strife are spent,
And labor, sorrow, worry, grief,
I find at best their strength.
No wonder, then, that I do long
O blessèd home, for thee,
Where I shall find a resting place,
From sin and sorrow free;
Where tears and weeping are no more,
Nor death, nor pain, nor night,
For former things are passed way,
And darkness turned to light.
Now all for me has lost its charm
Which by the world is praised,
Since on the cross, through faith, I saw
My Savior Jesus raised;
My goal is fixed, one thing I ask,
Whate’er the cost may be,
Soon to arrive in thee.
Take the time to meditate upon the sinfulness of sin, how much God hates sin, and the horrible judgment that awaits unrepentant sinners. Then contrast that with meditation upon the wonderful graces God bestows upon the repentant, who have turned from their wickedness and by faith trusted in Christ. We see opposite ends of the spectrum represented in this contrast. Today we see an example of this in 2 Kings 25.
The final destruction of Jerusalem and the nation Israel takes place. God’s forbearance with the disobedience of Israel has come to an end and he has brought to pass all His prophetic judgments about which He had warned Israel. Matthew Henry provides us this insight:
Jerusalem was so fortified, that it could not be taken till famine rendered the besieged unable to resist. In the prophecy and Lamentations of Jeremiah, we find more of this event; here it suffices to say, that the impiety and misery of the besieged were very great. At length the city was taken by storm. The king, his family, and his great men escaped in the night, by secret passages. But those deceive themselves who think to escape God’s judgments, as much as those who think to brave them. By what befell Zedekiah, two prophecies, which seemed to contradict each other, were both fulfilled. Jeremiah prophesied that Zedekiah should be brought to Babylon, (Jer. 32:5; 34:3) Ezekiel, that he should not see Babylon, (Ezek. 12:13). He was brought thither, but his eyes being put out, he did not see it.
This chapter of misery ends with a ray of hope in the account of Jehoiachin’s final days. After imprisonment for 37 years he is released from prison. This pardon alone is a wonderful blessing of God’s grace, but there is even more. He is not only released from prison, but the king showed him great kindness, which was not deserved. The king gave him a place of honor, which was not deserved. The king allowed him to dine with him, which was not deserved. And the king provided a daily allowance for all of his needs and provided for him all his days, which was not deserved.
Click here for Matthew Henry’s Commentary.
Truth in Practice
In Jehoiachin’s release from captivity we see a wonderful picture of God’s grace to elect sinners. As sinners we are guilty of crimes against the King and deserving of our sentence, (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Yet, the King has pardoned us of our crimes (Psalm 103:3) and released us from the bondage of sin (Col. 1:13). He has spoken kindly to us through His Word (Heb. 1:1-2); He has given us a place of honor that causes even the angels to look on in wonder (1 Cor. 12:22-25, 1 Pet. 1:6, 7). He has given us raiment that is washed clean in the blood of the lamb, as white as snow (Rev. 3:5); He has provided our every temporal need (Matt. 6:32,33), and He will receive us at His table to feast with Him in His presence (Rev. 19:9).
Q. What did God reveal to man for the rule of his obedience?
A. The rule which God first revealed to man for his obedience is the moral law (Deut. 10:4; Mt .19:17) which is summarised in the ten commandments.