Put Aside Your Prison Clothes and Eat at the King's Table.

Bible Reading: 2 Kings 24:6, 8-20; 2 Chronicles 36:12-16; Jeremiah 22:24-30; 37:1-2

Even though Jehoiachin was only eighteen years old when he took the throne, his heart was already hardened to the ways of the Lord. "He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father had done" (2 Kings 24:9). "'As surely as I live,' declares the Lord, 'even if you, Jehoiachin... were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear--to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians. I will hurl you... into another country.... You will never come back to the land you long to return to'" (Jer. 22:24-27).

After a short reign of only three months, King Jehoiachin was taken prisoner and carried into exile, along with his wives and children. Described by Jeremiah as "a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants" (Jer. 22:28), the king's life was defined by failure. With no hope that his future would hold anything but disgrace and shame, he lived the next 37 years in prison. But his story doesn't end in despair.

When Nebuchadnezzar's son took the throne in Babylon, "he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison.... He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor.... So Jehoicahin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king's table. Day by day the king of Babylon gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as along as he lived, till the day of his death" (Jer. 52:31-34).

Are you wearing prison clothes of guilt and shame? Have the consequences of sin handed you over to your fears and hurled you from the life you once knew? Do you remain shackled by regretful memories or destructive behaviors? Are your prison bars constructed of the lies Satan tells you about what you've done, who you are because of it and how God feels about you? Do you believe you will always be "a despised, broken pot, an object no one wants" (Jer. 22:28)? How long have you been trapped inside your prison walls? How long have they kept you from eating at the king's table? Do you feel as if your cries for forgiveness and freedom have been met by heaven's cold, angry silence?

God has not forgotten you. "His anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Ps. 30:5). He hears your prayers; he sees your tears. The moment you confessed your sin, he forgave. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9 NKJV). His Son provided your redemption. Jesus was sent "to proclaim freedom for the prisoners... to release the oppressed" (Luke 4:18). The King of kings offers to release you from sin's bondage and free you from your prison of shame.

Will you accept his pardon? Will you let him lead you out of darkness, into the light of his glory? Will you allow him to seat you at his table so you can feast on the delight of his presence? “Now change your mind and attitude to God and turn to him so he can cleanse away your sins and send you wonderful times of refreshment from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19 LB).

Listen to him speak kindly to you. Look at his face; see the tenderness and acceptance in his eyes. Day by day, for as long as you live, receive a regular allowance of his love and grace from the pages of his word and from his Spirit which dwells within you. You've been invited to eat regularly at the king's table for the rest of your life. Will you put aside your prison clothes and take the seat reserved for you?