Imminent doom and judgement was coming to Judah and king Jehoiakim was shaking his fist at God. Because all of the bad things happening around him, the king assumed that it was pointless to call on God for help and was frustrated. Because of his sinful heart, his time was up.
Including the king, all of the people of the land had turned their backs on God and were consumed by their own pride. They were refusing to hear God’s words. The prophet Jeremiah explained to the king: “Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23) He was simply trying to tell to the king that he cannot change. The king could not do good because his heart was naturally sinful and did not listen to God.
Why me? What did I do? Like king Jehoiakim, we often go through similar emotions when bad things seem to happen to us. We demand immediate answers during tough trials and we also look for someone to blame. How can we expect God to help us if we don’t turn to him? We want to change for the sake of good but our own wicked and evil hearts remain unchanged. Our hearts will sin over and over again.
Just as Jeremiah stated that a leopard cannot change its spots, we cannot change the fact that we have sin. We all come into this world as sinners (Psalm 51:5). We can do all the good in the world, but we still remain sinners. Doing good does not have the power to affect our being.
If we are going to be changed, we cannot do it on our own. It takes the power of Christ to change us and to create a new being to bring forth good. Righteous acts do not make righteous people but those who are made righteous in Christ will start to do righteous acts from the heart. (see Romans 3:22)
Its only through Christ that we can begin to see good and renew our hearts. Thank God for Jesus and the forgiveness of our sins. Thank the Lord for hope!