THE SERIOUSNESS OF SIN
Father God, we bow before You, offering You thanks and praise for Jesus Christ, who faced Your judgment for our sin.
Read 2 Kings 24:20b—25:17
20 It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.
The Fall of Jerusalem
Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
25 So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army. He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. 2 The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
3 By the ninth day of the fourth[a] month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. 4 Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians[b] were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah,[c] 5 but the Babylonian[d] army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, 6 and he was captured.
He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. 7 They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.
8 On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. 10 The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. 12 But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields.
13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried the bronze to Babylon. 14 They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. 15 The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver.
16 The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of the Lord, was more than could be weighed. 17 Each pillar was eighteen cubits[e] high. The bronze capital on top of one pillar was three cubits[f] high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its network, was similar.
a 2 Kings 25:3 Probable reading of the original Hebrew text (see Jer. 52:6); Masoretic Text does not have fourth.
b 2 Kings 25:4 Or Chaldeans; also in verses 13, 25 and 26
c 2 Kings 25:4 Or the Jordan Valley
d 2 Kings 25:5 Or Chaldean; also in verses 10 and 24
e 2 Kings 25:17 That is, about 27 feet or about 8.1 meters
f 2 Kings 25:17 That is, about 4 1/2 feet or about 1.4 meters
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThe weight of your sin was laid upon Christ. Reflect on that.
The response of the Babylonian superpower to Zedekiah’s rebellion was swift (25:1), calculated (25:2,3) and thorough (25:9–12). What a contrast to the patient forbearance God had shown to Judah! Generation after generation had rejected him. Through his prophets, God had wooed and warned his people—to no avail. God’s patience finally ran out, leaving Judah to face his anger towards their rebellion (24:20).
We may question why a loving God allowed the horrendous human suffering caused by the siege (25:3,9; see Lamentations). The thought of an angry God carrying out his judgment troubles us—surely God is love. Moses taught that the “Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Num. 14:17).
The punishment for guilty Judah was the reversal of covenantal blessings: they were thrust from God’s presence through exile and through the total destruction of the Temple (the visual symbol of God’s presence with them). Since the consequences of sin are so serious, how marvelous is the one who was punished for our sin and rebellion!
Do you view sin as God does? Begin to ask God daily to help you see sin the way he sees it. Write down any changes you notice about yourself.
Thank You, Jesus, for taking the punishment of my sin upon Yourself. May I never take Your sacrifice or You for granted.