“Yet you have not listened to me,” says Yahweh; “that you may provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own hurt.”
Therefore Yahweh of Armies says: “Because you have not heard my words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,” says Yahweh, “and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations around. I will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the lamp. This whole land will be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
“It will happen, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,” says Yahweh, “for their iniquity. I will make the land of the Chaldeans desolate forever. I will bring on that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, even all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. For many nations and great kings will make bondservants of them, even of them. I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the work of their hands.”
The reason that I am so serious about going through the Bible like this, is because I can’t think of anything more important to people today. The reason that our world is suffering so much, is because people are continuing to avoid God’s word. It should not be a surprise to me that people will avoid my blog and Daily Bible Radio too because that’s what people tend to do to God’s word, but the reason I do it anyway is because the consequences are so high and this passage talks about that.
When we refuse to listen to the Bible, it’s a sign that there’s something else that we would rather have. We don’t want the Bible to tell us that we can’t have something we deeply desire, so we would rather provoke God to anger than to give up our sin. God makes it clear that it will be to our own hurt if we continue to live this way.
Then what we have are two examples of nations that refused to listen to God’s word. First, we have Israel. Because Israel stubbornly refused to listen to God, their cities were going to be deserted and become a national example of what happens when people decide to ignore God. Then we have the example of “the land of the Chaldeans.” Because Babylon also refused to follow God’s word, they would become “desolate forever.” It doesn’t matter if you are God’s favorite, like Israel was, or you are a nation of the world, God’s word cannot be avoided. I believe that this implies that the opposite is also true. Whether you are Israel, or another nation of the world, following God’s word will make your nation great.
We also have a very interesting detail about God’s world-wide control over all authority on earth. Notice that God says: “I will send to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon…” God took full responsibility for the actions of this foreign government official. There is a great deal more we learn about how God dealt with this man in the book of Daniel, but here we clearly see that God was in charge of Him. He even called this Gentile leader: “my servant”. It could be that Nebuchadnezzar became a follower of the God of Israel, but we also know that God claims to be over all kings on earth. Whether a king believes in Him or not, God is the one in charge of their actions because He is the highest authority and is the one who gives that authority to the nations. When those nations avoid His word, it eventually leads to their end.