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by Ron Rose
Even during the reform of Josiahs reign, the people remained self-deceived and calloused. They refused to heed Jeremiahs words of warning. After all, they had recent memories of the greatest Passover feast in generations. Surely God would never allow his city and his temple to be destroyed. When King Josiah died, the people mourned deeply, but the revival died with him. And the judgment predicted by Jeremiah loomed on the horizon.
Stubborn King Zedekiah was ruling the southern kingdom when God permitted Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to capture and finally destroy Jerusalem, the Temple, and the city walls. Because the people had been unfaithful and disloyal for so long, God allowed his city to be completely devastated and his people to be exiled to Babylon. For the Israelites, the unthinkable had happened. The articles within the temple were confiscated and carried off to Babylon, and the temple and Jerusalem, the glorious city of David, were burned to the ground. The southern kingdom was gone.
Jeremiah, Gods prophet of doom, lived through the destruction he had foretold. While the best and brightest people were hustled off to Babylon, he chose to stay in Judah with the poor people whom Nebuchadnezzar left behind.
Reflection: Our merciful God sees the long view. Unfaithful Israel had to be punished. But when they turned back to him, God would restore them in preparation for the coming Messiah who would introduce a new kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, that would expand out of Jerusalem and cover the earth.
God does some of his greatest work in the midst of his discipline. He doesnt ask us to understand it; he simply calls us to be faithful and trust his lead and to wait quietly for his salvation.
Author: Ron Rose
Publication Date: August 6, 2002
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