So bitter were the words of Jeremiah to the rulers and people in Jerusalem that Jeremiah had been banned from the temple. So, he had Baruch, his scribe, take down his words and read them at the temple. When the words of Jeremiah were read to King Jehoiakim, he cut them into pieces and burned them in the fire at his winter home.
Zedekiah also reigned in Jerusalem and, like Jehoiakim, he refused to listen to the words of the Lord. Nor would the people listen. What did Jeremiah get for his efforts to speak truth? He was beaten and thrown into prison. He was cast into a cistern and left there to die. Rescued by King Zedekiah, the king still would not listen. And, so, “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” (39:1). Ultimately, Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, who rescued Jeremiah from the cistern, was himself saved by God from the Babylonians.
Some thoughts. It can cost us a great deal to speak and to stand up for truth, but we must do so. God means what he says; he told the people and their rulers, if they did not obey, he would judge them, and he did so. People can get so far away from God that it seems impossible to bring them back. When we are faithful to him, we can trust God to care for us, as he did for Jeremiah and Ebed-melech, even in the midst of great calamity.
Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me. –Henry Francis Lyte