2 Kings 24:10-14 (NIV) 10 At that time the officers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon advanced on Jerusalem and laid siege to it, 11 and Nebuchadnezzar himself came up to the city while his officers were besieging it. 12 Jehoiachin king of Judah, his mother, his attendants, his nobles and his officials all surrendered to him. In the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon, he took Jehoiachin prisoner. 13 As the LORD had declared, Nebuchadnezzar removed all the treasures from the temple of the LORD and from the royal palace, and took away all the gold articles that Solomon king of Israel had made for the temple of the LORD. 14 He carried into exile all Jerusalem: all the officers and fighting men, and all the craftsmen and artisans–a total of ten thousand. Only the poorest people of the land were left.
On 2 Kings 24:8-19: These verses describe how in approximately 597 B.C. while Jehoiachin is king of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invades Judah again, this time deporting back to Babylon approximately 10,000 Judahites, including King Jehoiachin, his mother, wives, officials, 7000 soldiers and 1000 craftsmen and artisans. Only the poorest of the poor are left in Judah. Nebuchadnezzar also takes all the gold inside the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, just as Isaiah the prophet had predicted in 2 Kings 20:13-18. This is the second time that people from Judah are deported to Babylon (the first time being in 605 BC during Babylon’s first invasion of Judah). Nebuchadnezzar then makes Jehoiachin’s uncle Zedekiah king in place of Jehoiachin.
What can we learn from this?
1.God is true to His Word. He will accomplish what He says He will do.
2.When King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom advanced upon God’s people in Judah, it was an invasion by force that hollowed the land of its best resources. Compare that to the way God’s kingdom advances upon God’s people:God’s preferred way of dealing with people is not to invade their lives by force. Rather, God gently and patiently waits for us to open the gates ourselves and welcome Him. During our lifetime, He will only take over as much land as we willingly give Him. That’s how God likes to expand His territory in us. As Jesus says in Revelation, “Here I am: I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
God’s goal in letting His kingdom take over your life is not to hollow you out like Nebuchadnezzar, but to fill you. God’s goal in advancing His kingdom in your life is not to abuse you and enslave you, but to have you a love relationship with you and to set you free. And while Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom did not last, Jesus’ kingdom will last forever. Those are crucial differences between the kingdom of men and the kingdom of God.
2 Kings 24:20 (NIV) 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. Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
On 2 Kings 24:20-25:7: King Zedekiah of Judah has rebelled against Babylon, refusing to pay tribute to King Nebuchadnezzar. So King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invades Judah a third time, this time intent on destroying the capital city of Jerusalem completely. After laying siege to Jerusalem for almost 2 years, King Nebuchadnezzar sends the Babylonian army to break into Jerusalem, takes Zedekiah prisoner, and kills Zedekiah’s sons in front of him before putting out his eyes and deporting him to Babylon. Then King Nebuchadnezzar sets fire to Jerusalem, burning down the temple, the royal palace, homes and every important building. Anything of worth in the temple is removed and taken back to Babylon. The priests and leaders of Jerusalem are executed. Jerusalem has fallen and lies in ruins. In Jeremiah 39, you can read of how the prophet Jeremiah experienced the fall of Jerusalem first hand.
What can we learn from this? While the fall of Jerusalem was triggered by Zedekiah’s rebellion against King Nebuchadnezzar, in 2 Kings 24:20 we read of the ultimate reason why Jerusalem fell: it was because of God’s anger against Judah’s sin and Judah’s persistent rebellion that Jerusalem finally fell.
It goes to show that rebelling against God always comes at a cost. When we keep rebelling against God, we risk losing everything that God has entrusted to us.We are always better off trusting God than rebelling against Him.
Heavenly Father, thank You that when Your kingdom advances in my life and in my land, it is not a burden that enslaves me, but a blessing that sets me free. Thank You for being a king who does not force His way into our lives, but who is patient and merciful even when we are rebellious, and who gently waits for us to open the door to You. Expand Your territory in my life today. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!