The section we read today fits well with the “Picture it” method of Bible study/meditation in which you imagine being a part of the event and consider what God wants you to learn from it. For example, can you imagine being Zedekiah? It is a dangerous time – who knows what Babylon is going to do next? Jeremiah is calling for surrender but how can there be safety in that? Certainly many of those close to Zedekiah disagree and that makes things more difficult. There is so much uncertainty, people are panicking, relationships are complicated, and you are afraid.
In retrospect (that comfortable position in which we sit!), the message from God through Jeremiah makes perfect sense: “Obey the Lord by doing what I tell you. Then it will go well with you” (Jer. 38:20). But apparently it was not that easy for Zedekiah – and, in reality, it is never easy for us either when we are in the middle of a “grey” situation. The lesson is that God’s ways do bring a simple clarity into complex, confusing situations. We need to trust and obey.