“…no one remained, except the poorest of the land. … But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest people of the land to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil.” … In the thirty seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, King Evilmerodach of Babylon in the year that he began to reign, released King Jehoiachin of Judah from prison; he spoke kindly to him; he gave him a seat above the other seats of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes. Every day of his life he dined regularly in the king’s presence. For his allowance, a regular allowance was given him by the king, a portion every day, as long as he lived.” 2 Kings 24:14f, 25:12, 27-30
The remnant of the people left in Jerusalem are the poorest of the poorest, yet they are given great task and purpose, to be vinedressers and tillers of the soil. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” (Gen 2:15) A remnant survives, the poorest of the poorest; they are given a holy task, the same task as Adam was given in the garden. These who care for the vines and till the soil have no idea that years later a future king will receive mercy from an enemy. They have no way of seeing the glimmer of hope the providence of God will provide. God’s grace is always present. Regardless of circumstance will I/you live out and into the hope of the promises of God? Will we have faith in that we cannot see or even imagine? Or will we drown in self-pity? Many, many generations after King Jehoiachin is released from prison another future King of Israel will return with his parents from exile in Egypt. He will as a young man return from 40 days and nights in the desert to lead His people. A ray of hope shines bright in the future, even if it appears as only a small sliver of a flickering candle. To God be the glory of the great things He has done, is doing and will do! O that I be the best keeper of the vines and tiller of soil He gives me to take care of.