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Quiet Time in Jeremiah 34

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Jeremiah 34 (HCSB)

Jeremiah’s Word to King Zedekiah

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, all his army, all the earthly kingdoms under his control, and all other nations were fighting against Jerusalem and all its surrounding cities: 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Go, speak to Zedekiah, king of Judah, and tell him: This is what the Lord says: I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3 As for you, you will not escape from his hand but are certain to be captured and handed over to him. You will meet the king of Babylon eye to eye and speak face to face; you will go to Babylon.

4 “Yet hear the Lord’s word, Zedekiah, king of Judah. This is what the Lord says concerning you: You will not die by the sword; 5 you will die peacefully. There will be a burning ceremony for you just like the burning ceremonies for your fathers, the former kings who preceded you. ‘Our king is dead!’ will be the lament for you, for I have spoken this word.” This is the Lord’s declaration.

6 So Jeremiah the prophet related all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem 7 while the king of Babylon’s army was attacking Jerusalem and all of Judah’s remaining cities—against Lachish and Azekah, for they were the only ones left of Judah’s fortified cities.

The People and Their Slaves

8 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah made a covenant with all the people who were in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom to them, 9 so each man would free his male and female Hebrew slaves and no one would enslave his Judean brother. 10 All the officials and people who entered into covenant to free their male and female slaves—in order not to enslave them any longer—obeyed and freed them. 11 Afterward, however, they changed their minds and took back their male and female slaves they had freed and forced them to become slaves again.

12 Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 13 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery, saying: 14 At the end of seven years, each of you must free his Hebrew brother who sold himself to you. He may serve you six years, but then you must send him out free from you. But your ancestors did not obey Me or pay any attention. 15 Today you repented and did what pleased Me, each of you proclaiming freedom for his neighbor. You made a covenant before Me at the temple called by My name. 16 But you have changed your minds and profaned My name. Each has taken back his male and female slaves who had been freed to go wherever they wanted, and you have again subjugated them to be your slaves.

17 “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed Me by proclaiming freedom, each man for his brother and for his neighbor. I hereby proclaim freedom for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“to the sword, to plague, and to famine! I will make you a horror to all the earth’s kingdoms. 18 As for those who disobeyed My covenant, not keeping the terms of the covenant they made before Me, I will treat them like the calf they cut in two in order to pass between its pieces. 19 The officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the court officials, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed between the pieces of the calf 20 will be handed over to their enemies, to those who want to take their life. Their corpses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land. 21 I will hand Zedekiah king of Judah and his officials over to their enemies, to those who want to take their lives, to the king of Babylon’s army that is withdrawing. 22 I am about to give the command”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will bring them back to this city. They will fight against it, capture it, and burn it down. I will make Judah’s cities a desolation, without inhabitant.”


SIN (verse 14b): This is something I struggle with in my personal relationships in this life, but also in my relationship with You, Father. Please forgive me for often not listening or paying attention to You, Father. Help me to be a better listener, so that I may not only know what You want of me, but also how I am to be living. Help me to listen so that I may take action in my life instead of allowing many things to go in one ear and out the other. Help me to listen to You without distractions, which often plagues me.

PROMISE (verse 18): The promise here is definitely one that hit close to the heart for me, Father. In my selfishness and immaturity since coming to faith, I have made many “covenants” or promises to You that I have turned back on or failed to commit to. I know Your grace and mercy is everlasting, but You are still my Father and discipline must come as well. That is the promise You make here; when we make a covenant with You, we should adhere to that covenant else we will likely experience Your discipline for breaking our covenant with You. Please help me to remember this when I am thinking of making a covenant with You, Father. Remind me that a covenant with You is the most important thing to keep, so if I am going to make one, I better be absolutely certain I’m prepared to stick with it.

ATTITUDE (verse 15): Although they did not stick with it, Your people here did repent and do what was pleasing to You in the moment. Help me to have an attitude like this, Father, in the sense that I strive to quickly repent from any actions I do or thoughts I have that are not pleasing to You. Help me to live a life pleasing to You through my repentance to start slowly and surely to become aligned with Your will for my life, Father. Thank You for being gracious, merciful, and patient with me because I am rather slow on the progression in my faith journey, and I am very sorry for that. Although I am getting better recently, I do know that I am and will continue to struggle here and there. However, if I can live in an attitude of true repentance, then all of those things that are not pleasing to You will become smaller and smaller.

COMMAND (verses 10b, 14b): In the latter part of these two verses, You tell us that we should obey and pay attention to You, Father. As I stated in my sin confession, this has been a struggle for me for pretty much my entire life since coming to faith. I am sorry for struggling so much with this command throughout this life, Father. I will try to be better, but I cannot promise that I will always be perfect with this command, unfortunately, as I am still a very broken vessel in this life with many weaknesses that I often default to. I will try, however, to be better than I was the day before and on those days that I am not I will try my best to adhere to an attitude of repentance so that I can quickly get back on the path that You have set out for me, Father.

EXAMPLE (verses 10-11, 15-16): Through Your people’s actions here, You give us such a powerful example that we are NOT to live by, Father. Although Your people in this example started off right, they quickly turned back from those righteous ways and reversed what they had promised to You and done for You. You told them to release all of their slaves, which they did, but shortly after they went back on that action and brought their slaves back in disobedience to You. You show me an example here because this has been me quite often throughout my life since coming to faith. I will make changes based on what I feel You want me to change, but then I will regress and go back to my old ways of doing things. Please help me to follow Your example, Father. When You want me to do something, help me to be a better listener to Your instructions, but also help me to be better at keeping those actions in place instead of going back on them.

*DAILY NOTE: The first time I read through this chapter, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do my full journal on it. I was considering reading Jeremiah 35 as well so I could get my journaling complete. As I dug deeper and removed the distractions in my brain, however, I found that You began to speak louder and louder to me through Jeremiah 34. Just like You said at the end of verse 14, Your people struggled to pay any attention to You and that was my struggle when I first started to read this chapter. You always have a way of reeling me in, however, so that I can extract a great lesson from the best teacher and counselor ever. Thank You for pulling me in and speaking to me in a way that I understand. Thank You for helping me to minimize my distracting thoughts so that I could truly pay attention to our conversation in this quiet time and understand the lessons You wanted to teach me this morning.

*GENERAL NOTE: I always "sandwich" my quiet time with God in prayer and do it in a location that I will not have any distractions so that I can be focused on my quiet time with God. Do not worry about how short or long your journal entries are for that day's quiet time. Just focus on the actual quiet time and relational conversation with God through the Holy Spirit and His Word. The journaling is an enhancement to your quiet time conversation with God, but also to allow you to reflect on things later as you can look back on your journal entries later when you do the chapters again in the future to see how you have grown. See the FAQ for more detail on how I do my quiet time.

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