Learning a Lesson from King Zedekiah

Zedekiah. Source: alchetron.com

Not many people I meet on a daily basis have heard of King Zedekiah.  His name doesn’t come up much in dinner table conversation.  Yet, as the last King of Israel before the Babylonian Exile his name must have been seared into the mind of every young Jewish boy and girl.  He was a young king who had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 24:19).  In his pride, he thought he could rebel against the Nebuchadnezzar.

Zedekiah sees his sons killed. Source: istock.com

Eventually this King would be carried off into exile, his two sons killed before his eyes, and his eyes would be put out (2 Kings 25:7).

This pattern of sin, disobedience, and mercy is repeated countless times throughout scripture.  But is this pattern repeated in our own lives as well when we reflect back?

Zedekiah is blinded. Source: lookandlearn.com

I remember before entering the Jesuit novitiate I had to give up my cell phone.  I loved my cell phone very much. Suffice it to say, I found a little “loophole” in the Bell system which allowed me to not really have to pay my bills by obtaining free credit.

Haha, not my best moment.  I did my thing, cleared my bill, gave my cell phone device to a friend, and then “wiped my hands” clean.   Three months later, my friend calls me and lets me know about all these extra charges that he had! Terribly, perhaps illegally, Bell found a way to gets its money back.

Source: llifewire.com

This annoying little story is part of my history.  And I see much of Zedekiah there too! I too was puffed up by a bit of knowledge into the inner workings of a company. I too took advantage of the system, and did what was “unlawful.” And finally, it was not only I that paid the price but my friend as well.

It is amazing to see the many interwoven patterns that make up the fabric of our past.  For Israel it was essential to recognize that disobedience to God’s law led eventually to poverty and slavery.  The western world and the Roman Catholic Church is in a strange place today.

Vocations are to all forms of religious life are down.  Church attendance in many parts of Canada is waning. Finally, our government says and does things, which are just blatantly against Christian morality and teaching.  Could we say that our own poverty and slavery today is also due to the fact that we too, many in our own ways, have been disobedient to God’s laws?

Perhaps no one really has heard of King Zedekiah.  Yet we must know about him.  It is perhaps urgent that we too look back on our lives, not only our own, but also the lives that make up “our people” so as to discover those patterns of obedience which have led to God, and those patterns of disobedience which have led away from Him.  Or perhaps, history must repeat itself, and we need the violence of having our eyes put out before we can see clearly.

Raj Vijayakumar is a Jesuit scholastic studying at the University of Toronto.

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