In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem, and besieged it. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. All the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate: Nergal Sharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergal Sharezer, Rabmag, with all the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah the king of Judah and all the men of war saw them, then they fled and went out of the city by night, by the way of the king’s garden, through the gate between the two walls; and he went out toward the Arabah.
But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. When they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he pronounced judgment on him. Then the king of Babylon killed Zedekiah’s sons in Riblah before his eyes. The king of Babylon also killed all the nobles of Judah. Moreover he put out Zedekiah’s eyes and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.
The Chaldeans burned the king’s house and the people’s houses with fire and broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the rest of the people who remained in the city, the deserters also who fell away to him, and the rest of the people who remained. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left of the poor of the people, who had nothing, in the land of Judah, and gave them vineyards and fields at the same time.
Just as God had spoken through Jeremiah, His judgment against Judah finally came. Zedekiah tried to run but ended up watching the murder of his sons before his eyes were removed. It’s tragic when you consider that he came so close to seeing God’s mercy instead. If he had simply believed Jeremiah when he begged him to surrender, he would have saved his sons, the people and the city.
Isn’t it amazing how much humans long to get away with sin? When punishment doesn’t come for a long time, we actually start to think that it will never come. We create what we think is a “new normal.” There is only one “normal” and it is the one that God considers to be normal. The only reason God had given them so much time was because He wanted them to repent and that’s the same way it is today. Back at that time, the issue was the destruction of God’s city, but what we face today is the destruction of the entire earth. It is coming. What is happing today isn’t the “new normal.” God’s just giving us time to repent before the time comes for Him to blow it all up and send sinners to their chosen destiny. Man-made global warming climate change is coming. It will happen when God burns up the earth as a result of man’s rebellion against Him. We are ruining the environment by our lies, murders, sexual sin and drug use.
There’s a precious surprise at the end of this part of Israel’s history. After burning the palace and the city, the captain of the guard of Babylon, decided to take the average people into custody and to leave the destitute people behind. Not only that, he gave them tillable land! God helped the poor even in this horrible time and gave them what they needed. God must have felt their pain the whole time. Notice that it is God’s will to give to the poor. I think it’s pretty obvious that God was paying attention to how these destitute people were being treated and turned the tables in His judgment. May God give us the heart to give to those who are in need before we lose everything we have to our own selfishness.