At the age of eighteen he was king. By twenty-one he had lost his throne and spent the next thirty-six years in a foreign prison.
That was the trajectory of King Jehoiachin’s life up until the age of fifty-seven. Caught up in events that heralded the exile of the nation of Judah, Jehoiachin’s personal and public faithlessness both mirrored and encouraged the declining spiritual health of the nation.
You search in vain for any indication that the final years of Jehoiachin’s life might escape the kind of futility and failure that had marked his first fifty-seven years. 2 Kings 24.6-17 and Jeremiah 22 present a depressing picture.
However, right at the end of 2 Kings, the picture unexpectedly brightens up:
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. He did this on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. 28 He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honour higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king’s table. 30 Day by day the king gave Jehoiachin a regular allowance as long as he lived. 2 Kings 25.27-30
At the age of fifty-seven, after a lifetime of frustration, failure and futility, God dramatically changes everything. A new king comes to power in Babylon. And everything changes. God changes everything. For the rest of his life Jehoiachin is honoured in a way that he has perhaps never experienced.
No matter how difficult or frustrating life has been, God can dramatically change things. Thirty-six years of setback can be overturned in one day. That’s God. That’s grace. And it applies every bit as much to you as it did to Jehoiachin. It’s never too late for grace.