TODAY’S READING: JEREMIAH 37-39
“In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city.” – Jeremiah 39:1-2
Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. He was appointed king of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon who had also given him the name Zedekiah. Zedekiah’s original name was Mattaniah.
Mattaniah means gift of Yahweh. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” Luke 1 and 2 shows that Jesus is the fulfillment of this scripture. Jesus is the gift of Yahweh.
Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, is a type of Satan. Interestingly, it was when he was attacking Jerusalem that he made Mattaniah king and changed his name to Zedekiah.
Zedekiah means Yahweh is righteous. It was not until Jesus was attacked by Satan in the wilderness that Jesus was revealed as the righteousness of God and the king that would establish God’s kingdom on earth. For, it was after Jesus was attacked by Satan in Matthew 4 that he began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus was born king and lived for 30 years as the gift of Yahweh whose government was upon his shoulders. But, it wasn’t until Jesus was attacked by Satan, in effect revealing to us that Jesus was more than the gift of Yahweh. Indeed, Jesus was the righteousness of Yahweh, the king who would set things right.
So, what about the numbers 4, 9, 10, and 11 mentioned in Jeremiah 39:1-2?
The number 9 symbolizes a number of things. One meaning of 9 is finality. It is the last of the single digits. Also, throughout scripture, the number 9 speaks to judgment and the gifts or fruit of the Spirit.
The number 10 symbolizes the law. It is also considered a perfect number. And, as such, the number 10 symbolizes orderly perfection.
Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar besieged Zedekiah in the ninth year and tenth month of his reign as a sign of the testing of the fruit and orderliness of Zedekiah and Judah. For, it is when we are under trial and persecution that is easily seen whether or not we have truly have the Spirit in us and are living a changed life for the Lord that is displaying all the fruit of the Spirit.
But, in this case Zedekiah and Judah were found wanting. Therefore, in the 11th year, 4th month, and 9th day of his reign, the walls of Jerusalem was breached and the enemy poured into the city.
Again, the number 9 speaks of judgment and the fruit of the Spirit. Here we see Zedekiah and Judah failing to display the fruit of the Spirit.
The number 4 symbolizes the creation.
And, the number 11 symbolizes chaos and rebellion.
Here we see the failure to display the fruit of the Spirit allowed the walls of Jerusalem to be breached so that all of creation was in chaos and rebellion to God as it was under control of Nebuchadnezzar as a type of Satan.
Jerusalem was the city of God, the center of creation. Therefore, more personally, we can think of Jerusalem as a picture of our hearts. When we fail to display the fruit of the Spirit under persecution it should be evidence to us that our hearts are not submitted to the orderly perfection of God and the law he is desiring to write on our hearts. Therefore, our hearts are able to be breached by the enemy, sending us into chaos and rebellion against God.
Paul speaks to this in 2 Corinthians 4:4, which says, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Indeed, in Jeremiah 39:6, it says Nebuchadnezzar “put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon.”
1 John speaks to this as well. 1 John 2:16 says, “For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father but is from the world.” And 1 John 5:19 says, “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
However, while Zedekiah was the nast natural king of Judah, we know have a supernatural king of Judah, Jesus Christ.
Jesus said in John 12:31-32, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
It was on the cross that Jesus judged the world and the ruler of it, Satan, casting him out. In this, Jesus freed us from our bondage to sin, death, and Satan. All our enemies were defeated.
Further, Jesus gave us another helper, the Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our salvation and inheritance. The Holy Spirit makes us sons of God. He dwells in us so that we display his fruit and the orderly perfection of the law God has written on our hearts.
Now, when we face persecution, we can display the fruit of the Spirit and not be found wanting. This brings an end to the chaos and rebellion that the whole creation was under.
The entirety of Romans 8 speaks to this. Specifically, Romans 8:18-23 says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”