I. ZEDEKIAH'S SECRET DESIRE TO HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD.
A. People have different reasons for desiring to hear the word of the Lord.
1. Zedekiah was wanting to know what the future held for him.
a. There are many today who have a great interest in prophecy. They desire to know what the future holds.
b. In every major news event, they desire to know if it has some prophetic significance.
2. Some read the Bible only for the purpose of argument.
a. They are seeking to prove the Bible wrong.
b. They know basically that the Bible has condemned their chosen life styles, so they somehow think that they can live comfortably in their sin if only they can prove that the Bible is wrong.
c. You will never be able to live comfortably in sin, the Bible says that there is no rest for the wicked.
3. Some want to hear the word of the Lord out of curiosity, it isn't that they want to follow what God has to say, but the Bible has had such a dramatic effect upon our Western Culture, they wonder just what it says that can so alter a person's life and influence nations.
4. Some read the Bible only to analyze the text from a literary point of view. There are many colleges that offer courses on the Bible as literature.
B. I note that he took Jeremiah to a secret passage to the temple. It is called the third entry to the temple. The public had their entry, and the priest's had their entry, the third entry is thought to be a secret entry for the King that led from his palace to the temple.
1. He had a desire to hear the word of the Lord, but he did not want others to know of that desire.
2. I believe that buried deep in the heart of every man there is a desire to know what God is saying to him. Many times people are embarrassed to admit this.
II. JEREMIAH'S RELUCTANCE TO SHARE THE WORD OF GOD WITH THE KING.
A. Surely you will put me to death.
1. Jeremiah's life had already been threatened on many occasions.
2. What God was saying was not at all popular with the people.
a. God was saying that their living after the things of the flesh was wicked and was to be judged by God.
b. That God was going to use the Babylonians as the instruments for his judgment.
c. God was giving them a chance to live, but that was by surrendering to the Babylonians rather than trying to resist.
d. For this last statement Jeremiah was being accused of treason, and thus many of the rulers were seeking legal grounds for putting him to death.
3. So often when people are angry with what God has said, they desire to blame the messenger. Jesus is a classic example.
B. "You will not harken or listen to me."
1. Why should I tell you when you won't listen to me anyhow.
2. I cannot say that I fault the prophet for his reluctance to share the word of God with the king.
a. Number one the king might kill him.
b. Two, the king won't follow what God has said.
3. I think that many times ministers of God get discouraged in bringing the word of God to the people for the people often get angry with what is said, or they don't pay any attention to what is said, and go on living after the flesh.
III. "BE YE DOERS OF THE WORD, AND NOT HEARERS ONLY DECEIVING YOURSELVES.
A. Hearing the word of God has no value in your life unless you seek to put it into practice.
1. The King made a vow to Jeremiah that he would not kill him if he spoke to him God's word.
2. But there was no promise to obey God's word, and indeed he did not obey, and the word of the Lord came to pass and the king was taken as a captive to Babylon after having watched his own sons killed before his eyes.
B. Many people are in captivity and being destroyed today because they have not been doers of the word.
1. They have sat here in church, and heard the word of God over and over.
2. They might have even said an amen in their heart to the word.
3. Some have even been eager hearers of the word. But the word has not brought any changes in their lives.
C. Jesus spoke of those that heard his words and did them that were as a wise man who built his house upon a rock.
1. When Jesus sent His disciples into all the world to preach the gospel He said that they were to teach them to observe all of His commandments.
2. Jesus questioned why a person would call Him Lord, and yet not do the things that He commanded.
3. Luke tells us that one day as Jesus was speaking a woman in the crowd said, "Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts from which you nursed." Jesus answered, "Blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it."
4. Jesus said, "He that has My commandments and keepeth them, He it is that loveth Me."
5. Jesus again said, "You are My disciples indeed, if you continue in My word."
D. I want to give you the word of God, you may want to kill, me, you may not keep it, but this is what God declares.
1. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God, be not deceived, neither fornicators nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
2. God's word again says, "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap, and if you sow to the flesh, of the flesh you are going to reap corruption. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, and this is what they are: Adultery, fornication, impurity, lasciviousness, idolatry, drug abuse, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, I have told you before and I tell you again, that they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
E. It hurts me very deeply to think that many people that have come week after week to sit under the teaching of the word, have never become doers of the word. It has altered their life styles. They still lie, cheat, commit fornication. They will not inherit the kingdom of God. They have been close to the things of God all of their lives, but it has not altered their lives.
1. They are deceived. The very thing that the scripture warns us against.
2. They have been faithful hearers of the word, but never real doers of the word.