Fox-Hole Faith – That is the best summary description of Jeremiah 34.
In this chapter the king of Babylon has finally reached the gates of Jerusalem and has begun the arduous yet inevitable process of besieging a city. King Zedekiah and the rest of Jerusalem’s inhabitants are terrified! Jeremiah the prophet comes and delivers a message that basically says, “Repent, and prove your repentance by the good deed of setting all of your slaves at liberty.” King Zed and the rest of the folks obey the word from Jeremiah and release their slaves. Yeah, God’s people experienced genuine repentance and respond to His word with obedience… sort of.
Until the King of Babylon leaves the siege in order to go fight on another border. Then the people (v.11) take back their slaves! The pressure abates and the people rescind their promises of repentance and obedience. It is a clear example of Fox-Hole Faith. It is a tragedy and we are not immune. All of us are tempted to vow oaths that we think will please God if he will just “get us out of this mess.” Once, however, we are rescued from the “mess” we easily forget what we vowed. May we be characterized as a people whose repentance is not motivated by what mercy we can squeeze out of God, but rather by the mercy he has already lavished on us in Jesus Christ. If He never does another act of mercy for us for all eternity besides the Cross, than that is enough to wish like the hymn writer for “a thousand tongues to sing” our Great Redeemer’s Praise!