My Bible reading today reminded me of the sad and tragic consequences of sin upon a nation as well as the people who practice it… In fact, in my Bible I jotted this note of reminder: “Jeremiah 52… A sad, sad, chapter in the Bible!” Here’s a digest of the chapter from the Bible…
“Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem… And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD… For because of the anger of the LORD it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that he cast them out from his presence… And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem, and laid siege to it. And they built siegeworks all around it. So the city was besieged till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. On the ninth day of the fourth month the famine was so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Then a breach was made in the city, and all the men of war fled and went out from the city by night by the way of a gate between the two walls, by the king’s garden… But the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho… Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon … and he passed sentence on him. The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes… He put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him in chains, and the king of Babylon took him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death. In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month… Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the LORD, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive some of the poorest of the people and the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the artisans… And the pillars of bronze that were in the house of the LORD, and the stands and the bronze sea that were in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans broke in pieces, and carried all the bronze to Babylon. And they took away the pots and the shovels and the snuffers and the basins and the dishes for incense and all the vessels of bronze used in the temple service; also the small bowls and the fire pans and the basins and the pots and the lampstands and the dishes for incense and the bowls for drink offerings. What was of gold the captain of the guard took away as gold, and what was of silver, as silver… which Solomon the king had made for the house of the LORD, the bronze of all these things was beyond weight… So Judah was taken into exile out of its land!”
Yet in spite of this the Lord had declared his ultimate purposes for His people through their discipline… “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope! Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will hear you! You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord!” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Seventy long years later, after bearing the consequences of their sin and the Lord’s discipline, they return to Jerusalem, a neglected pile of rubble… Now the challenge of rebuilding – one of the most difficult tasks of life anyone faces… How could it be done after the wasted years and with what was left over after the enemy’s destructive activity? The answer? … Not human effort alone… “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts… The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it!” (Zechariah 4:6-8)
Perhaps you are facing the sad and devastating consequences of your sin? It seemed like the “exile” would never end! But you heard the good news of “hope” and God’s purposes for you in the gospel, repented and returned! Now the challenge of rebuilding a reputation, a marriage, your family, your life! How can it be done? Not in your strength alone… “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord!” Take heart, God will help you! He’s working with you and within you to make the rebuilding project a success!