God expects us to surrender to his will even in tough times. There is no way out of this before God’s time however hard we try. The life of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, is a good case in this regard.
Babylonians who defeated Judah in 597 BC made him king. In fact, he was their puppet king. Though the narratives on the kings in the Bible mentions their achievements and failures, there is no mention of Zedekiah’s achievements except one thing: “Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 24:20). Then we find a long description of how the Babylonians retaliated, how they besieged the city of Jerusalem for the second time, Zedekiah’s flight for life, capture, punishment, imprisonment, the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem and the city, massacres, and deportation of more Israelites to Babylon.
Zedekiah could not anything for his people during his ten-year reign. He could only poke the Babylonians to attack them again and destroy the Temple which they had left untouched in their first attack.
What was Zedekiah’s mistake? His mistake was to rebel against the will of God.
Prophets of his day, particularly Jeremiah, had prophesied God’s punishment upon his people. God has sent the Babylonians to attack them and deport them to Babylonia. After conquering Judah and the capital Jerusalem in 597 BC they made Zedekiah king over the Judah as a tribute paying ruler. The Babylonians were happy if Zedekiah paid the tribute that they demanded. The prophets who prophesied God’s will had also prophesied that God will bring back those who were taken to Babylon after 70 years. Zedekiah was supposed surrender to God’s will and lead his people. He did not. He rebelled with the help of Egyptians, Babylon’s enemies, inspired by the loyalist party. If he had not rebelled, the Babylonians would have let them live and his sons who were murdered before him before they scooped his eyes out. In fact, Zedekiah and his people were rebelling against the will of God.
However, I should add that God’s will is not fatalism. Fatalists believe that they are passive victims of something pre-determined from which they cannot escape. However, God’s will is “good, acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). He never intends his children any harm. We should be assured that God never condemns his children but only disciplines them. God disciplines us only after repeated warnings and calling us to repent and return to him. It is not mechanical fate that controls us, but the active will of a living God. Before he leads us to tough circumstances for a while, he also has ordained the end of it. However, we should live surrendered to the will of God during this time, patiently and prayerfully.