Warning to Kings

Warning to KingsText: Jeremiah 22:13-17

This passage comes between addresses to two of Josiah’s sons who reigned after him – Shallum/Jehoahaz (Jeremiah 22:1-12; 2 Kings 23:30-33) and Jehoiakim/Eliakim (Jeremiah 22:18-30; 2 Kings 23:34-37). Shallum/Jehoahaz was made king by the people (2 Kings 23:30). Jehoiakim was made king by Pharaoh Neco (2 Kings 23:34). Both did evil in the sight of the Lord (2 Kings 23:32, 37). Regardless of who they were, how they came into their position, or who might come after them, these warnings would apply. There are lessons for us in these as well.

Do Not Forget the Law of God (v. 13)

  • Build without righteousness and justice – does what he thinks is right (Proverbs 14:12); is not impartial (Proverbs 20:8)
  • We cannot DO God’s will if we do not KNOW God’s will (Jeremiah 10:23) – it is possible for us to “drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1); we must not let that happen
  • Lesson for us – we must not forget the word of God and replace it with what seems right to us

Do Not Forget Others (v. 13)

  • Use neighbor’s service without pay – does not give what is rightfully owed (Leviticus 19:13; James 5:4)
  • This comes from an attitude of ARROGANCE and BELITTLES others (James 2:1-4) – we need to recognize the worth of each person (Proverbs 22:2) and treat them accordingly
  • Lesson for us – regardless of our position, we must remember that others are made in God’s image

Do Not Be Self-Centered (v. 14)

  • I will build MYSELF a roomy house…” – focused wholly on himself and his desires (Proverbs 23:6-8)
  • It is very easy to become consumed with SELF (Luke 12:16-19; 18:11-12) – we need to learn humility (Romans 12:3) toward God and toward others
  • Lesson for us – we need to focus more on pleasing God than on pleasing ourselves

Do Not Forget Your Purpose (v. 15)

  • Don’t become a king to compete in cedar – takes a perk and make it his purpose (Deut. 6:10-12)
  • There is a danger that we can leave our first love (Revelation 2:4) – we must not allow our blessings from God distract us from serving Him (Luke 10:38-42; 1 Timothy 6:17-19)
  • Lesson for us – we must not let temporal things distract us from spiritual duties and the hope of eternity

Do Not Forget the Example of the Faithful (v. 15-16)

  • Their father did right and it was well with him – Josiah was faithful so God delayed judgment (2 Kings 22:16-20)
  • There are examples of the faithful that we can look up to (Hebrews 12:1; 13:7) – they are not our standard (John 12:48), but they can be an example (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 3:17)
  • Lesson for us – we can and should learn from those who came before us

Do Not Forget What It Means to Know the Lord (v. 16)

  • Is not that what it means to know Me?” – this is what is required (Micah 6:8)
  • Ultimately, all that matters is to know the Lord and be known by Him (Galatians 4:9; cf. Ecclesiastes 12:13) – to know God means we must obey Him (1 John 2:3-6); there is no way around this
  • Lesson for us – in the end, all that matters is that we know the Lord and faithfully serve Him


  • No matter what position we have in life, we need to remember these warnings
  • Our highest priority must be pleasing the Lord
  • This will not happen by accident – we must be diligent to please the Lord in all that we do

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