Going Up In Smoke


I will punish you as you deserve. I’ll set your palace on fire,
and everything around you will go up in smoke.

~Jeremiah 21:14, CEV


He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.

~Jim Elliot

The verse above is God speaking through Jeremiah the prophet to king Zedekiah of Judah. The king came to Jeremiah, hoping he would entreat the LORD for a miracle so that Jerusalem could be saved from the Babylonians the way God saved them from the Assyrians in the days of Hezekiah. Zedekiah didn’t like Jeremiah’s answer. Jeremiah told the king, “the LORD is giving you a choice of life and death. If you want to live, you must surrender to the Babylonians. If you want to die, all you have to do is stay put and you will die of hunger, disease and the sword. Understand this, the LORD has made His decision: He will not save Jerusalem; in fact He is going to allow Nebuchadnezzar to burn it to the ground.”

To live, to have a future on this earth, Zedekiah needed to surrender, give up; let go of his royal palace, life-style, possessions, titles and rank. He would become Nebuchadnezzar’s servant but he would have his wife and children with him, alive and well. What choice do you think Zedekiah made? Hey, he hung on to his palace, his possessions and his throne. He was clinging to things that had no future. Judah would not have a king for centuries, Jerusalem would become a pile of rubble. Jeremiah had made all of this plain to Zedekiah but the wicked king refused to believe or repent and like a fool, he dug in and hung on. Want to know what happened. Neb had Zed’s eyes gorged out with a hot iron but before he blinded the king, he made him watch while all of his sons were executed. Zed lost everything. Just as God had said through Jeremiah, “Everything around him went up in smoke.”

Like Jeremiah, I counsel you to SURRENDER. Let go of this world and it’s alluring treasures. Don’t try to hang on to things that have no eternal significance. I am telling you the truth: every idol will be crushed and every earthly treasure will go up in smoke. Do not waste a good like by clinging to things that have no future. One act of kindness performed in Jesus name has more eternal value than 22 trillion dollars [national debt]. Loving your neighbor has eternal significance, loving money has none.

Folks, I am tired. I worked harder than normal yesterday and the humidity was high. I soaked three shirts. By the time I got my shower, I could barely walk.

Prayer for Lilly G. and Tracey B. Lilly started a round of chemo last night.

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