Today’s readings are 2 Kings 25, Amos 1.
This devotional is about 2 Kings 25.
Judah’s final defeat to the Babylonians was recorded in this chapter. Although the Babylonians were ruthless to the people of Judah, their ruthlessness was militarily shrewd. Consider:
Before invading Jerusalem, the Babylonians used a siege to starve the city, weakening both the bodies of Judah’s army and the spirit of everyone in Jerusalem (vv. 1-3). After Zedekiah, king of Judah failed to escape Jerusalem (v. 4), the Babylonians killed Zedekiah’s sons (v. 7a). So, there would be neither heirs to his throne nor retaliation from his family. Then the Babylonians blinded the king and made him a prisoner (v. 7b). The Babylonians then invaded Jerusalem and burned down “every important building” (v. 9c)--the Lord’s temple and the king’s palace included (v. 9). This signaled both complete spiritual and military domination. But before burning the temple, the Babylonians destroyed all of the furniture used in the worship of God (v. 13). They also carried away all the valuable things they found in the temple (vv. 14-17). But, that’s not all; the Babylonians rounded up key leaders in the temple worship (v. 18) and in the government (vv. 19-20). They forced these men to march to Nebuchadnezzar who ordered them executed (v. 21).
All of this was designed not only to defeat Judah but to grind their faces in the dust and emphasize to them that they had been decimated in every way--militarily, spiritually, and administratively.
Then the Babylonians sent in an administrator who promised they would be safe as long as they submitted to Babylon (vv. 22-24).
So here we have God’s chosen people and their Davidic king utterly defeated and humiliated by a pagan foreign nation. We understand that all of this happened because of Judah’s idolatry and disobedience to God. But why did God allow it to happen in such a brutal, thoroughgoing way?
The answer is that God wanted to show his people something that Jesus told his disciples hundreds of years later: “Without me you can do nothing.” Jesus said that in John 15:5 but God’s people proved it to be true over and over again.
God’s promise to his people was that in His will they would be unbeatable but outside of his will they would live in constant defeat. God still had plans for redemption for his people, but first he wanted them to experience absolute destruction without him.
As Christians, we don’t operate in a political and military context but the principle underneath this passage is as true for us as it was for Zedekiah and the rest of the people of Judah. We must trust God and be obedient to his commands if we will have any power in this life, any success spiritually. Are you living your Christian life in obedience to God’s word? Have you suffered some defeats and setbacks that might indicate your need to depend on God?