Jehoiakim Rebelled Against Babylon
This was a word that needed to be spoken in this time, not only because Jehoiakim behaved himself violently against the written word of God in the 5th year of his reign, but, in further defiance and at the 7th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, he rebelled against Babylon in pursuit of “liberty” – a liberty heralded as a promise by false prophets that resulted in Jehoiakim’s utter destruction.
Ageless apostasy parades the same banners, as the Apostle Peter repudiated: “While they promise liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption” (2 Pet. 2:19). Jehoiakim believed for the liberty promised to him and he grasped after it. Namely, at the 7th year of Jehoiakim’s reign, 3 years after Jehoiakim surrendered to Babylon and became a tributary thereunto, he rebelled and broke the servitude agreement (2 Kings 24:1). Why? Contrary to Jeremiah’s word, the false prophets deceived the people to think that if Jehoiakim rebelled then Babylon wouldn’t return for war. My reader, do you remember what Jehoiakim said in the 5th year of his reign in response to the book of Jeremiah’s prophecies? While burning the word of God, Jehoiakim said,
“Why hast thou written therein, saying, The King of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this Land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?” - Jer. 36:29
This hardened man, two years later, plucked up courage to risk it all through faith in the God of Israel, so he thought. Think of it, my reader! How did Jehoiakim, who had been a servant to Egypt for 4 years and Babylon for 3, embolden himself to defy the divinely appointed chastisement? It is all he had ever known! He never experienced national sovereignty ever since ascending the throne of Judah and, before this, he watched his brother go to Egypt as a captive. After having a traumatic first impression of becoming King, watching Jehoahaz fall, Jehoiakim ventured into the unfamiliar terrain that King Josiah never dared to tread! Where? SIN. And, remember, because Jehoiakim walked with God for 13 years during his father’s reign, from 12 to 25, he was a novice when it came to sinning.
Closely leading up to the decisive moment of rebellion from Babylon, or just after it, the false prophets were promising that there would be no sword or famine (“the Prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.” – Jer. 14:13). Jehoiakim was certainly in deep consideration on what he should do, hence the prophecy. He made his prayers to God with all fervency and sincerity, so he thought. The probability of Babylon’s return was high and, clearly, the matter was a focal point of consideration in the Kingdom; but, as is always the case in a Nation that has pleasure in unrighteousness, the false prophets prophesied and the people believed a lie. No one is above it! No, not even the sons of Josiah! Not even Jehoiakim (who was nurtured and matured in an environment of unprecedented Revival for 13 years, who knew almost nothing but serving and following the LORD for most of his life (2 Chron. 34:33)! Not even this man, the son of Josiah, had the wherewithal to resist deception when iniquity has taken its course in a backslider’s soul! Therefore, let us be forewarned!
Pause… and, look ahead. We, upon whom the end of the world is come (1 Cor. 10:11-12), have been forewarned by God concerning the deceivableness of unrighteousness and the power of a strong delusion, just yonder! Workers of iniquity will find him irresistible, he “whose coming is after the working of Satan”, because his coming is “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:10-12). Pause, and consider it! While people are thinking that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation”, this future situation will become the unnoticed reality of the present (2 Pet. 3:4). This one thing is certain: if we have pleasure in unrighteousness, we will be deceived to think that Satan’s power, signs, and wonders are God’s!