Jeremiah 52:31-34, Why Choose To Live Under A Question Mark?

Jeremiah 52:31-34, Why Choose To Live Under A Question Mark?
1. Are These Events Just Random?
2. Are These Events Because Of Human Efforts?
3. Are These Events Because Of Somebody Else?
4. Are These Events The Work Of God’s Grace?

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Jeremiah 52:31-34, Why Choose To Live Under A Question Mark?

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Jerry Simmons shared this Topical Bible study from Jeremiah on Sunday, October 2, 2022 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

More Bible teachings by Jerry Simmons


As we look at Jeremiah Chapter 52 this morning, I was wondering this week.

What the heaviest Punctuation mark might be.

I don't know if you've ever wondered that, but I began to just Kind of ponder... of all of our punctuation marks, which one would be the heaviest Of them all?

And as I pondered on them, there's different reasons or rationale you could kind of play with in your mind.

Or you might just not want to consider it at all.

So I'll jump to the point and that is the question mark is my conclusion.

Is the heaviest punctuation mark that we have.

You know what our life is.

We have questions many times.

There are questions that way upon us, that keep us awake at night, that haunt us, that sometimes feel suffocating and crushing.

Upon us that there are these heavy weights and burdens that are questions that are in our minds, that are unresolved uncertainty that that is.

Very uncomfortable for us.

One of the realities of life, of course, is that uncertainty abounds.

There is so much that we don't know and cannot be absolutely certain of.

But, but there are some, some of those things that are more weighty that are, you know, more impactful to us than others.

The age-old question. How many angels could dance on the head of a pin that probably doesn't keep you up?

At night but.

There are things in your life, questions that you have that that are weighing upon you that that really do captivate your attention.

And and you think about it it's it's on your mind the questions that are racing through your mind as you wake up and then throughout the day and as you go to bed and as you're trying to fall asleep and and the the questions that loom and those things that are.

Are so heavy.

Upon your mind and upon your heart.

This morning I've titled the message Why I choose to live under a question mark.

Why would ever why would you ever choose to live?

Under this kind of condition where this question weighs upon you and holds you down, holds you back, keeps you from rest.

As we consider this passage this morning, we need to consider the questions that we have, the questions that we're asking, and more importantly, the questions that we are not able to answer.

Now, this is a little bit of an unusual type of message, not the typical Bible study that we would do working our way through the scriptures, but this is something that the Lord.

Straight up.

As I was preparing for Wednesday, we we spent some time in Jeremiah 52 and.

They literally highlighted this passage for me and said we need to kind of stop and consider these questions for us now.

The questions really start with and center around in this passage.

Why did this happen?

In verse 31, it tells us in the 37th year of the exile of King Jehoiakim of Judah, evil Merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne.

He was kind to jehoiachin and released him from prison on March 31st of that year. And what really stands out as we look at this passage is.

There is a lot of uncertainty about why this happened.

Why did King Jehoiachin get released from prison?

Why did this Babylonian king single him out and free him amongst all the other prisoners?

That were there.

Why was there this special attention and special placement given to this king Jehoiakim?

Now to just give a little bit of historical context here on the timeline, this is.

Is taking place after Babylon has completely destroyed Jerusalem. And if you've been walking along with us, you know in Jeremiah we find that Babylon conquered Jerusalem three times in 605 BC, 597 BC, and then finally in 586 BC, Babylon conquered.

Conquered again and then conquered and said we're tired of conquering this rebellious city and so then destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple that third time and we walked through that along with the Prophet.

Jeremiah in that.

But this particular person that we're looking?

At is Joe again?

And he was the guy who became king after Jerusalem was conquered the first time.

His dad Jehoiakim was taken away captive by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar put Jehoiachin in place and said OK Joy Chin, you're the king now, and you.

Be submitted to me and serve me, and we'll get along just fine.

Pay your tribute, pay your taxes.

All of that.

And so jehoiachin begins to rain for a while until he decides to rebel against the king as well.

And so King Nebuchadnezzar came back to Jerusalem, and Joey Chen ends up surrendering to the king.

To Babylon that second time in 597 BC, and so Jerusalem is conquered again through the surrendering of Jehoiachin, and many of the articles of the temple are taken. Many people are taken captive, including Jehoiachin. He's taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon and placed.

In prison. But now as we get to chapter 52, we're jumping ahead quite a few years, 37 years from jehoiachin's captivity to 561 BC or thereabouts, where something happens after 37 years. In some ways you could consider it.

A little bit random that Jehoiachin is sprung from prison.

He's shown favor and granted a place at the King's table and provided for for the rest.

Of his life.

And so this is what we're talking about here, this guy Joey, and he's in prison for 37 years, but then all of the sudden this interesting event happens and he is set.

Why was Jehoiachin set free?

Why did this take place?

Why did he experience this?

Show of kindness and favor.

We know from the beginning of Jehoiachin's life that he was a wicked man and 2nd Kings Chapter 24 as the king is introduced.

It said that he did what was evil in the Lord's sight, just as his father had done, and it was because of his continuing on in rebellion.

Against God and against Babylon, that he was conquered and taken into captivity in the first place.

In Jeremiah Chapter 22, the Lord gives Jeremiah a prophecy about Jehoiachin, and the Lord says Jeremiah 2224.

As surely as I live, says the Lord, I will abandon you, Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim.

Even if you were the Signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off, and I'm going to hand you over to those who seek.

To kill you those you so desperately fear.

And so we know from the beginning of Jehoiachin's life very clearly what kind of person he was and where he was at.

He was a man who was doing evil.

So much so God says I will abandon you.

I'm casting you off, even if you were as important as the Signet ring on my finger.

I'm getting rid of you.

I'm casting you out.

Because of your wickedness and rebellion against me.

But now, 37 years later.

He's pulled out of prison.

He's pulled out of that dungeon, that cell, that.

He was in why?

Why is this happening in Jehoiachin's life?

Well, it's a question that does not have an absolutely definite answer that we know of.

Of course it has an answer right there.

There there is an answer, but it's not recorded for us.

What's happening in Jehoiachin's life, in his mind and his heart at this?

Time it's not recorded for us what the King of Babylon is thinking or his reasoning behind it.

And so it's led to a lot of speculation, a lot of Bible teachers and commentators and scholars wondering why.

Why did this happen?

What is going on here that would bring about these circumstances?

Here's a few possible reasons that we can consider.

It's possible the King of Babylon just made a random choice.

He cast lots, rolled the dice, said alright, I'm just going to show favor to someone here in prison.

So you pull you up and give you this place and this opportunity.

It was pretty common for kings new kings as they would come in to extend a show.

Of kindness to somebody as as a part of their beginning to reign, as a as a way to kind of make an impression and maybe even to make an impression on the people.

Pull that joy chin represented.

You know that.

Hey, you know, we just need to kind of show some kindness to the Jewish people.

So, Joy Chin, get on out of here and come sit down here at the table.

Could have just been a random choice, nothing really substantial or certain about it.

Another theory, another idea is that the King of Babylon became jehoiachin's friend while he was in prison.

And we'll consider that a little bit more later, but there was a time where the King of Babylon likely was imprisoned.

Perhaps he was cellmates with the king of Judah Joy Chin at that time, and so they became friends.

And so now that he's in power, he says, I want to do my friend a favor.

And bring him out of prison.

Another possibility is that the king was influenced by Daniel.

Daniel the Prophet was in high leadership and in government official in this time.

And so it's possible that through Daniel and his influence that Daniel kind of persuaded the king to take these actions and to do this.

Where it could be.

But the King of Babylon was moved by God.

That there was a change of heart in Jehoiachin, that there was a repentance that took place, and God showing mercy and grace to joy again.

Moved upon the King's heart to bring him out of that place of captivity and prison.

So these are some solid options, and looking at this list, you might already kind of be thinking I'm I think it's maybe that one or I think for sure it can't be that one, right?

Like, you might be evaluating these and and picking your favorites.

And that's, of course what we often do as we have questions in our lives.

We look at the events that are going on in our lives and we.

Have questions about them, we wonder about them.

We don't have a lot of certainty about them, and so we start to pick and choose.

Well, I think God is doing this or allowing this, and we essentially can make up a reason.

That we don't have a definitive word from the Lord on what happened here with Jehoiachin, but it's interesting how we can come with some, you know, we can come up with some really solid conclusions, right, and and really persuasive ideas about why this one is the one and this is the right one.

As we think about the idea of why choose to live?

Under a question mark.

What I'm not suggesting is just pick the reason that sounds the best to you.

And go with that.

But I would suggest to you that there are things that we can know.

There's going to be things that remain questions.

For us.

Until we reach eternity.

There's going to be a lot that.

We don't know a lot.

Of questions that are unanswered.

But at the same time there is so.

Much that we can know.

And because there's so much that we can know, my question to us this morning is why would we choose to live under the weights of a question mark?

When there are things that we can know, when there are things that we can do, when there are things that we can rely on and trust in to make sense.

Of the events and circumstances and things that are happening.

In our lives.

Looking at Jehoiachin, I would ask you to consider your own life and the circumstances you're going through the events that are happening in transpiring around you.

What is the reason?

For the events that you face, what is the reason for the things that you're experiencing in your family, in your workplace, in your community?

What is the reason for the things that you're experiencing in your health?

What is the reason for the things that you're experiencing in your investments and in your plans for the future?

What what is the reason?

And perhaps these are questions that already weigh upon your head.

You don't need me to ask them, but.

For some, maybe you need me to ask them that.

You're not thinking about.

The things that are going on in your life and considering.

What the source is, what the cause is, and so I want to walk through these possibilities here with you and.

Consider them in light of our own lives and the events that are happening.

So four points this morning to consider point #1.

Are these events just random?

The circumstances that you face.

The things that are going on in your life right now.

Are you experiencing?

But we might just call life like that's just life.

There's highs in life, there's lows in life, and as you think about these things, we can consider events that we would label as good and also label events that we would label as bad.

We can think about both kinds of events in our lives and ask the question, are these events just random?

One possibility for King Jehoiachin is that the King of Babylon just made a random choice.

And in verse 31 he released him from prison. Verse 32, he spoke kindly to him, gave him a higher place than all the exiled kings in Babylon.

Verse 33. He supplied jehoiakim with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the King's presence for the rest of his life.

The Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.

This continued until the day.

Of his death.

Why did this happen?

One possibility is just random.

He's king now.

He just picked somebody and went with it, and Jehoiachin was the guy he happened to pick.

We know from Babylonian historical records that there were a bunch of other kings that had been conquered by Babylon in prison as well.

The Kings of Tyre, Gaza side, and Arvid Arped.

All of these surrounding nations had been conquered by Babylon, and so here's the mix.

Potentially, the king just said eenie meenie miney.

Moe you, I pick you.

Just random, just random selection just made a choice.

And Jehoiachin happens to be the guy now.

I think some of us would kind of bristle against.

The idea of randomness.

Like, I don't know, random.

I just this doesn't sound very theological.

That doesn't sound like like can there be coincidences?

Can there be circumstances as well?

In some ways I would suggest yes, maybe not in a incredibly technical way.

God is at work and sovereign over all things, but also there's just a lot of things that happen not because of some direct huge movement of God, but just.

As a part of the course of life.

Jesus gave a couple examples of this, and Luke chapter 13.

There was a group of people that came to Jesus and informed him that this situation had happened, that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the temple.

And so this was an event that happened a a thing that pilot did.

And the idea here is that they're soliciting Jesus.

His thoughts as they're talking about this this was a hot topic of the day.

And it's interesting what Jesus says, he says.

Do you think those galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?

Does that why they suffered?

Do you think it's just that these were the worst of the worst and so God allowed this, and God brought this about because those guys were the worst sinners, so God punished them by allowing pilot or inspiring pilot to put them to death?

Jesus says not at all.

That's not what happened.

And he goes on to say and you will perish too, unless you repent of your sins and.

Turn to God.

The idea here is that it's not like some targeted thing that God was trying to take out these people because they were the worst sinners.

And there there was, you know, an equal reason to explain the, you know what?

What happened.

In this moment, for these people that these were the worst sinners, and so God took them out.

And sometimes in our endeavor to put an end to the question mark, we can come up with simple solutions like that.

Well, there they just must have been the worst sinners in Galilee, and so God just took him out.

But Jesus here is saying no, that wasn't the case in in this way.

You might say.

It was just.

Random those were the people who were there when Pilate.

Took this action.

It wasn't some targeted thing, some repayment for some specific sin in their lives.

It was.

That they were in that place at that time when pilots took that action.

He goes on to give another example.

Continuing on in Luke 13, he says.

What about the 18 people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them?

Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem?

He says no, and I tell you again that unless you.

Repent, you will perish too.

Sometimes we evaluate events and we come to conclusions.

Well, this must be punishment from God for great sin and Jesus is saying.

That's not always the case.

They weren't the worst sinners, and that's why this tower fell on them.

That's that's not a an active judgment that God was doing.

Now sometimes God does acts of judgment and because of sin brings on suffering and affliction to bring us to repentance.

So sometimes God does bring direct consequences for sin in our lives, but we can't look at the situation and say, well, that must be.

Some direct response from God for sin in.

Their lives. That was the.

Trouble that job friends got into right that they.

Saw the conflict and the issues in Job's life and figured it must be.

A sin issue has to be they were reaching for the easy solution.

But the answer the reality was much deeper than they could.

Know or understand.

Sometimes things in this life.

Just happen because it's part of living in a fallen world.

It's part of living in a world that is in rebellion against God, and there are good things in our lives.

Things that we would call good, there are.

Things that we would call bad in our lives.

And it might just be part of life.

Think about this passage also in Matthew, Chapter 5.

Jesus is teaching.

About loving your neighbor, he says you've heard it said love your neighbor and hate your any enemy.

But I say to you, love your enemies.

Pray for those who persecute you.

In that way you'll be acting as true children of your father in heaven, for he gives his son light to both the evil and the good.

And he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

Today the sun rose, but only for righteous people, and everybody else doesn't get the sun, they only get the moon.

Now that doesn't work, right?

The Sun rose today.

For the whole world, or at least this side of the world where the sun has risen already, right?

That and there in the sunlight is a mix of righteous people and wicked people.

The Lord sends rain.

Or maybe Hurricane Ian?

I don't know how that's pronounced, but I've only read it.

I've never heard anybody say it.

So anyways, ah.

The path of the hurricane.

There is.

A mix of righteous people and wicked people.

The unjust and just alike receive good things from God.

The sun, the rain, blessings, the unjust and just alike also experience challenges and afflictions and difficulties in this life.

They're not always.

A direct response.

From some sort of issue.

Or consequence in their hearts.

And so as you consider.

Your life.

The events that you're going.

Through is it just random?

I mean, it could be the case that you're going through some difficulty and it could be.

The case that God is saying.

You're experiencing this difficulty because you refuse to let this go.

Joy Chen being taken into captivity was the result of his rebellion against God.

Direct consequence.

God says I'm abandoning you because you.

Have been wicked.

And refused to repent.

But it also could be that you're experiencing hard and difficult things.

And it's not a direct result of some sin or culture repentance in your life.

It it could be the case that.

The events that you're experiencing are.

And you're just experiencing all these blessings.

And maybe you come to the conclusion that it's because God so pleased with you.

Also, could be that you're just.

Experiencing the ups and downs of life.

Are these events just?

Random Now how can we know?

This is one of those areas where we we cannot unless God tells us.

But I would suggest there is a way.

For us to settle the question.

There is a way for us to come to a conclusion and not necessarily have the details about the situation or have all the details of the answers, but but to take that uncertainty and to make it a certainty is possible for us because of what the Apostle Paul teaches us in Romans Chapter 8.

Romans chapter eight, we have this great promise we often refer to.

And we know.

That God causes everything to work together for good.

For the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Pulses and we have questions.

No, no, he says.

And we know.

And so we're taking.

A look at something that is in the realm of knowledge, the the realm of certainty and when we are looking at events.

I'm wondering, are these just random and when we can't tell if the good or the bad that we're experiencing is just part of life, just random events that are going on, we can come back to this promise.

And remind ourselves of what we know.

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good.

Of those who love God.

And that's where we get the opportunity.

To take the reins, to take matters into our hands, and we cannot get all the answers that we want to get out of God about every detail of our life and all the questions that we have.

But here's what we can do.

We can choose to love God.

We can choose to put God first in our lives.

We can choose to devote ourselves to him and his promise to us for those who love him.

And I'm not just talking about those who say they love God or those who, you know, talk about their love for God.

But to love God has some real impacts.

In our life, that there's some real change in transformation that takes place when we put him first and we love him with all of our hearts and soul and mind and strength.

It's it's a full devotion of ourselves to God.

And when you fully devote yourself to God.

Then you fit the description here the called according to his purpose.

You are the called according to his purpose because you have devoted yourself to him.

And your focus, your passion, your desire.

Is to love God to please God.

And when your heart is there.

Then you can know.

No matter what circumstances you're going through.

The happenings of life they rise and they fall.

The the good and the bad.

But you may not know all of the reasons, but what you can know is that God will work it together for your good and you can know for sure.

And he goes on here in Romans Chapter 8 to explain even further for God foreknew his people in advance.

He chose them to become like his son, so that his son would be the first born among many brothers and sisters, and having chosen them, he called them to come to him.

Having called them, he gave them right standing with himself, and having given them right standing.

He gave them his.

Glory, Paul is going on to explain here.

Look, we can trust that God really can work all these things together for good, because he's known from the beginning.

Those who would love him.

And he is meed these.

Steps. He's taken these steps.

To choose them to become like his son.

To work them into his plan.

So that our Lord Jesus would have many brothers and sisters.

By faith in Christ.

We get the right to become children of God.

And so we can know.

Because God is powerful enough.

He has enough foresight, enough knowledge, enough understanding to take all of these events that we're facing and experiencing.

They may just look like random.

From our perspective.

And in some ways, from this perspective, you could call them random, but retroactively in eternity as we look back, we'll see.

It wasn't just random.

God took all.

Of those random things and worked them together.

For good.

It would be kind of like if you.

Packed together a bag of random groceries and took it to Harvey dropped it off, and Harvey took those ingredients and made something good out of it, right?

That's what the Lord does.

He takes all of these different aspects of our life, and for those who love him, he gives this promise.

I'll work it together.

I'll work that out for your good.

And you'll thank me for it in the end.

Well, moving on to point #2, are these events because of human efforts? It's a reasonable question to ask as you look at the things that are going on in your life.

Is this the result of your efforts or the?

Efforts of others around you.

And maybe not at all related to.

Something that God is directly involved in and doing.

For king jehoiachin.

One theory is that he became a friend.

Of the King of Babylon, while the King of Babylon was imprisoned.

At this point, Joytunes been in prison for 37 years.

And there was a season where evil bird Merodach, by the way, evil.

And his name is not a description.

It's not that he is evil.

It's a transliteration of the.

The name from another language, and I'm not going to try to pronounce or explain all that, but just to to make the point.

He's just like the son of Nebuchadnezzar.

And there is a season in Nebuchadnezzar's life where he goes crazy.

And he's acting like cattle.

He's out there eating grass in the field.

We'll we'll cover that when we get to the book of Daniel and see that recorded.

During that time, Nebuchadnezzar's son this king, referenced here in Jeremiah 52.

He's the one who's running things and he's really trying to take over the Kingdom and not doing it very properly.

And so when King Nebuchadnezzar comes to his senses.

Hebrew tradition tells us.

He puts his son in prison for a time.

Now chapter 52 of Jeremiah happens leader after Key Nebuchadnezzar has died and so evil Murdock is out of prison and now he becomes king.

But the Hebrew tradition tells us that during that time, while he was in prison, he was.

Friendly with King Jehoiachin, they got to know each other a little bit.

They got to.

Become friends, and so later on when?

He's on the throne.

He remembers his friend and says I'm gonna do my friend a favor and help him out.

This is a real possibility.

This is something that can happen again.

Think about something in Jesus taught in Matthew, Chapter 5.

He says if you only love those who love you, what reward is there?

For that.

Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?

Even pagans do that.

But you are to be perfect even as your Heavenly Father is perfect.

Jesus says we're to be different.

Than the rest of the world, so.

Again, love your enemies.

That's not what the normal world does.

But it is normal in the world.

For people to love those that love them.

Criminals can do that.

The worst of the worst.

Terrorists can do that.

Even corrupt tax collectors.

That doesn't mean much to us in our day, but in their day, the tax collectors were the worst kind of person you could imagine.

They take care of those who care for them.

They they have that kind of friendship and care for others that they have that camaraderie with.

And so it's a real possibility that.

This was done in Jehoiachin life just because they became friends.

Either some effort on Joe Higgins part, or some effort on the King of Babylon part, or maybe both of their parts that.

You could potentially say God wasn't working this out.

This wasn't a direct hand of God.

This was just two guys looking out for each other.

And working out this situation.

There's a lot of things.

That we could look at in our life, the events that are going on around us and.

It's appropriate to ask the question, is this because of human efforts now?

Sometimes we look at success, we look at victories, we look at good things.

We might want to consider them the results of human effort that yes, it's because I've worked so hard and it's because I'm so intelligent.

I made really smart decisions and I did these things and that's why these benefits are now coming to fruition.

We could be looking at.

Events and saying it's because all of my efforts failed and that's why all these bad things are happening, because of my.

Inability to accomplish things or because other people are doing things and it's their efforts we we can look at events good and bad in our lives and try to label them as.

Human efforts.

And we can be weighed down by this question, this burden of what?

We have failed to do or what others are purposely doing.

Are these events because of human efforts?

But I would suggest there's a course of action.

That we can take.

To remove this question to.

To not let this continue to be a question in our lives and we don't have to have this weighing on us or or being held over our heads.

Looking at the words of the apostle Paul.

In Romans chapter 12.

Where? He says.

Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.

Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind he will find acceptable.

This truth is truly the way to worship him.

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world.

But let God transform you into a new person.

By changing the way you think.

Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Paul says here's what you need to do.

Give yourself to God.

Make yourself a living sacrifice, a holy sacrifice.

And don't copy what the world does.

The mindset of the world, the attitude of the world, the actions of the world don't just copy that into your life.

If you copy that into your life.

Then there's a real good reason to ask the question.

Is this just because of human efforts?

But if you are transformed by the renewing of your mind, if you give yourself to the Lord as a living sacrifice.

Then you can entrust yourself to the Lord.

And no, this is not because of human efforts.

You know, it's an interesting thing.

So in my workplace there are, there are those who have great ambitions and they look at the world as a world of opportunity.

And of course we are going to conquer the world.

I I don't have that same conviction.

I don't know.

Maybe we will.

If we do.

I would hope it's because God wants us to.

But what if?

God doesn't want us to conquer the world.

What if God wants us to stay a small company?

I want God once more than I want to achieve some dream or some vision, right?

I don't want to have human efforts be the reason for anything in my life.

I want to give myself to the Lord as a living sacrifice, so that whatever happens in my life is.

His doing again, high or low, what we would label good or what we would label bad.

We can kind of sidestep that human effort issue.

By submitting ourselves to the will of God, discovering the will of God by.

Living our lives as a sacrifice for him.

Why choose to live under?

The question is this.

The result of some person, some human efforts.

Are these just random events that are going on in my life?

Thirdly, as we continue on, are these events?

Because of somebody else.

Is this God's work in my life? But not because of me, but because?

Of someone else.

That I'm I'm experiencing kind of the overflow, the aftermath.

Of somebody else.

Looking at King Jehoiachin, one of the theories, one of the ideas.

Is that the King of Babylon was influenced by Daniel the Prophet.

Daniel the Prophet was a.

Noteworthy person in the Government of Babylon.

He was part of those who were taken captive early from Jerusalem.

And so he was raised in Babylon, trained in the ways of Babylon, but held true to the Lord and became an advisor, a governor, a person of high authority, and he interacts much with King Nebuchadnezzar.

He interacts with Belshazzar, the grandson.

Of Nebuchadnezzar.

In between these two was this guy evil Merodach Daniel was around, he was there.

He was in a place of influence and a position of power, perhaps.

Or I'm sorry Daniel persuaded or convinced.

Encouraged or helped the King of Babylon make this decision and bring joy gin out of the prison.

It's possible.

We don't have any evidence to say that that's what happened, but it's a plausible theory.

It happens.

Think about the instance.

Of Jacob and Laban in Genesis chapter 30.

Remember, Jacob was working for Lebanon in exchange for his daughter Rachel.

He didn't have any money for that.

The word is escaping me. The alimony in advance. He didn't have that anything to offer. And so he worked for Lebanon. That time came to an end. And so he's like, OK, my time's up, I've paid you.

The alimony in advance.

What's the word?

There you go.

I paid you the dowry with my labor for these past 14 years, and so it's time for me to move on.

Genesis chapter 30, verse 25. Soon after Rachel had given birth to Joseph, Jacob said to leave and please release me so I can go home to my own country.

Let me take my wives and children, for I've earned them by serving you.

And let me be on my way.

You certainly know how hard I.

Have worked for you?

Verse 27, please listen to me, Laiben replied.

I have become wealthy, for the Lord has blessed me because of you.

Leaving here has some keen insight.

He has been blessed during these past 14 years.

Not because of some direct blessing from God to leave in, but just because Libon was in the very presence of Jacob, who God desired to bless.

I've been blessed and become wealthy.

I've had all of this good develop in my life because of you.

God was doing a work in Jacob's life.

Preparing him to come back to the promised land and to.

Carry on.

The life that God had started with him in through Abraham and he's going to become.

An instrumental part of the forming of the Nation of Israel.

But here in this journey up north.

His time would leave in.

God blessing him and libon is experiencing the overflow of that.

He's being blessed because.

Jacob is there.

Another good example of this in second Samuel Chapter 9.

David wanted to bless the household of Jonathan.

And so he had to search and find out, is there anyone still alive?

And there we find Mephibosheth still alive, the son of Jonathan.

And he says I want to show him kindness.

For Jonathan sake.

Not because Matthew Bassett said that such a great guy, but because of my relationship with Jonathan, because of my love for Jonathan, I'm going to.

Show his descendants his children, kindness.

As you consider the events happening in your life right now.

It's appropriate to consider are these events.

Because of somebody else are.

You leaving in this picture.

You know, parents, it's worthwhile considering.

Maybe some of the goodness and blessings that you're experiencing from God right now has nothing to do with you, and it's just really because God is on a mission to.

Bless your kids.

And so you just get the overflow.

The inverse can be true also. Sometimes God's working on sin issues.

Dealing with heart issues and we experience the overflow of the correction.

The difficulties that.

Go along with that.

It's a possibility.

Are these events?

Because of somebody else.

I think.

In the interests of removing this as a question.

Going back to what we've hit upon in the first two points.

Loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Can remove this as a question.

You see, what Lebanon should have done was not.

Let me try to think about how I can keep Jacob around.

What Lebanon should have done is let me think about how I can.

Find that kind of favor with God.

Let me stop being a shrewd businessperson trying to take advantage of people and get what I want out of them by manipulation.

Let me instead try surrendering my life to God and serving him with everything that I have, so that I'm the subject, I'm the object of blessing rather than just the overflow of blessing.

In a similar way, we.

We have the opportunity.

Yes, we are impacted by the things that are happening in the lives of the people around us.

At the same time, we have the opportunity to put ourselves in a position of God, working directly for us and working all things together for good.

Another good example of this is Joseph in Genesis chapter 39.

And it tells us that Potiphar experienced the blessing as well. He he was blessed God blessed Potiphar's household for Joseph sake.

And so we just entrusted more and more and more to Joseph.

Because he figured, well, God blessing him, so I I want to capitalize on that.

Nothing wrong with that.

He did the right thing.

But I would also hope that Potiphar didn't just.

Say, alright, here's a situation I could take advantage of and make some money on here.

Here's an opportunity for me to understand there's there's something real here.

This God that Joseph serves and worships.

Just have walked with God and so our.

Course, when we have this burdening question, is this the result of?

God working in somebody else, whether for good or for correction.

Our opportunity.

Is to develop a relationship with God that will.

Put us as the object.

Put us in a place where others are blessed around us.

Like in the situation between Jacob and Levin.

Put yourself in a position where you're you're Jacob, in the situation with Potiphar and Joseph.

Put yourself where in a situation where you're Joseph.

You're the one serving the Lord.

You're the one focused on the Lord, walking with the Lord, being faithful to the Lord.

You're the one pursuing the Lord.

And so others around you are blessed, impacted, benefited.

Because of your relationship with God.

Well, finally, point #4 to consider.

Are these events the work of God's grace?

Are these events the work of God's grace in this case?

Perhaps scheme choijin?

Was in a position of repentance.

After 37 years in prison.

The words of Jeremiah, the word of the Lord, had finally broken through.

Again, we don't know.

It would be nice if the Lord told us exactly what was going on, but he doesn't always tell us the details.

Jehoiachin is experiencing a change of heart.

He's turning to God.

He's calling out to God.

And so God is moving and working in response to that.

If that's the case, it is appropriate to label that as the grace of God because jehoiachin.

Was in prison. Rightly so. Because of his wickedness and rebellion, he didn't deserve to be set free, even after 37 years.

But this release?

Was potentially a work of the grace of God.

In his life this mercy being demonstrated and shown so that he is removed from the prison.

Let's read these verses again, verse 31. In the 37th year of the exile of King Jehoiakim of Judah, evil Merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne.

He was kind to jehoiachin and released him from prison.

On March 31st of that year, he spoke kindly to Joy Chen and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon.

He supplied jehoiakim with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the King's presence for.

The rest of his life.

So the Babylonian king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.

This continued until the day of his death.

Is a marvelous picture of the grace of God.

He deserved prison.

Every moment of it, every year of it, and for much more.

But here he's released.

He's shown kindness, he's provided for, he's given good things and blessed in many ways.

Grace is God's goodness towards us that we do not deserve.

Mercy is judgment that we deserve being withheld.

He experiences both here.

He deserved more time in prison.

But God showed mercy.

He didn't deserve this place of honor and these blessings and the provisions, but these good things were given.

To him.

As part of his heart being changed.

And calling out to the Lord in repentance.

Back in Deuteronomy, chapter 4, before the children of Israel even entered the promised land, God foretold through Moses.

All of the things that would happen, that they would rebel against God, be conquered and completely emptied out of the land.

But as God tells them, this is how you're going to behave, and you're not going to be in the land very long because of your.

Rebellion against me.

You're going to be scattered and put into captivity and then God says in Deuteronomy 429. But from there you will search again for the Lord your God, and if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.

In the distant future, when you're suffering all these things, you will finally return to the Lord your God and listen to what he tells you.

For the Lord your God is a merciful God.

He will not abandon you or destroy you, or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.

Now we are going to see Deuteronomy 4 fulfilled as Cyrus comes to power a little bit leader and the the Jewish people are released.

To return back to Jerusalem and and there is this recovery, this seeking the Lord again, this turning of hearts again, that happens after the 70 years of captivity are completed.

As an individual, personally jehoiachin.

Potentially looked at this?

But God had said the consequences of his rebellion against God, and realized even from here in prison in Babylon, for all of my wicked deeds, I can search again for the Lord my God.

And God will begin to work.

He'll listen.

He'll find me.

And I'll find him when I search for him with all my heart. Now if you know any verse in Jeremiah, you probably know Jeremiah. Chapter 29, verse 11.

Which is a verse that is contained in a letter that Jeremiah wrote from Jerusalem to those who are in captivity in Babylon after Jehoiakim had been taken captive.

So no, you know certainty here, but potentially.

Jehoiachin gets this letter from Jeremiah hears from the Lord.

And the Lord is saying, I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

In those days, when you pray, I will listen.

If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

I will be found by you, says the Lord.

I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.

I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.

Now Teutschen was not brought home.

He never went back to Judah.

But he did experience some element of this being brought out of captivity.

Having some fortune restored.

There was some of this that Jehoiachin experienced, perhaps because.

There had been repentance.

And he had sought the Lord wholeheartedly. What a picture of God's grace being set free. That's what Jesus does for us.

Showing us kindness that we don't deserve. That's what Jesus does for us. New clothes, workload than the righteousness of Christ. That's what Jesus does for us. Access to the King's presence. That's what Jesus does for us.

Listen, deprovision.

That's that's what the Lord does for us.

And so we can look at our lives.

And ask the question, are these the events?

The work of God's grace.

Not that I deserve it.

But I am seeking the Lord wholeheartedly.

And that's not just the good things.

Remember Paul, in second Corinthians chapter 12, pleaded with the Lord to take away that Thorn in the flesh.

Bush and God said my Grace is sufficient for you.

Sometimes the hard and painful things that we wish were out of our lives.

Are part of the work of God's grace.

In our lives as well.

Grace is received by Faith.

And I would add on and say also grace is received by repentance, that faith is obedience to God at his word.

And as we respond to him, believe him at his word.

And repent.

Turning from our ways.

And submitting ourselves wholeheartedly to him we.

Put ourselves in a position.

Of experiencing the grace of God, having judgment withheld that we deserve, but receiving benefits and blessings and God's work and goodness, and even working through the hardships and difficulties and pains of this life to bring about good on our behalf. In the end, it's all good.

If we love the Lord.

If we seek him wholeheartedly.

So it brings me back to this question.

Why would you choose to live?

Under a question mark.

Where you don't know if the events that you're experiencing are part of God's working all things together for good for you.

Why would you allow that, that misery to continue that that miserableness of of being in the place of uncertainty and having these weights upon you?

That doesn't mean you get answers to every question and you know exactly.

All of the details of every.

Plan that God is doing.

But at the same time there is so much that you can know.

And if you if you need to know some things, I would encourage you spend some time reading.

The 1st letter of John, first John.

He walks through many times over and over again.

This is how we know we can know these things.

We can know we have life.

We can know that we're forgiven.

We can know that we have the Holy Spirit.

We can know that we're children of God.

We can know.

God wants to give great certainty.

And solidity to our hearts and lives.

We don't have to live under the burden of a great question.

Thinking well, maybe this is just random.

Maybe this is just human efforts for good or for bad.

Maybe this is just other people that God is dealing with and I'm just experiencing the overflow.

Now you can live in #4.

You can live.

In a life that is experiencing the work of God's grace.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart.

If there is any sin that you know of, if there is any practice in your life that is out of line, if there is any habit that needs to be changed, if there is any pursuit, any desires, any activity like.

Get rid of it.

If there is a lack of pursuit of God, then pursue God.

If there there is something missing, that you know God called you too, but you're not yet fully engaged in it, then engage in it like you can resolve so many things.

By dealing with.

Your relationship with the Lord.

And there could be 1000 questions in your life.

But when you know and you can say.

I am exactly where God wants me to be.

Then no matter how many questions there are.

There is a certainty.

There is a foundation of rock to build your house upon.

Because you know God, you know his will, and you know you're right there in the center of what he's planned for you.

Why choose to live under a question mark?

Stop resisting. Stop running.

And fully embrace all that God has for you.

But I pray for each one of us.

That you would help us, Lord, in these questions that we ask Lord, may each one be a reminder and a prompt for us.

To surrender our lives to you.

And Lord, there's going to be a lot of questions that we would want.

Answers to you, but you.

Would choose not to provide it this time.

We'll know in eternity.

Will thank you in eternity in the meantime.

It would help us to be people of faith who trust you at your word.

To respond when you speak.

To love you.

And submit our lives to you.

May we be your living sacrifices, Lord.

Direct us, lead us.

We pray that your will would be.

Accomplished and not ours.

Lord, that we might have this certainty.

You're at work, your grace.

Is abounding.

To give us all that we need.

For this life.

And for a glorious eternity.

We pray this in Jesus name.