The Great Fall of Jerusalem
2 Chronicles 36:11-21; Jeremiah 38:14-18, 24-28
Jeremiah – one of the Major Prophets prophesying to the nation of Judah (The Southern Kingdom)
A prophet both foretold the future and proclaim God’s Word and will for the present. They were generally black and white (told it like it was) in their communication and revelation of God’s message.
Dates: Approximately 620-586 BC
Jeremiah ministry spanned five kings: Josiah (a good king/reformer), Jehoahaz (Wicked), Jehoiakim (wicked), Jehoiachin (wicked) and Zedekiah (wicked). Most of Jeremiah’s ministry was met by the rejection of his message because he prophesied doom and gloom. He was on many occasions beaten, punished, and imprisoned; however, he remained faithful to the Lord’s calling.
The name “Jeremiah” means Yahweh (God) exalts or Yahweh (God) uplifts
Jeremiah’s call was young in his life (He referred to himself as a child)
God was at work in the life of Jeremiah prior to his birth. God was conforming Jeremiah for the call.
Jeremiah overlapped the ministry of Isaiah … Isaiah’s ministry held out hope for Judah if the nation would return unto the Lord … Jeremiah’s ministry withdrew hope and laid out God’s calendar of judgment.
Spiritual Downfall begins with Hardened Hearts (2 Chronicles 36:11-14)
These passages cover the fall of Jerusalem … God’s chosen … the nation of God … the people of God. Jerusalem’s destruction stands as an example to the world that God WILL, because He is holy and just, without exception, judge the nation that turns away from HIM.
It is dangerous to believe God overlooks sin because of who you are. Just because we are “one nation under God” doesn’t exempt us from the judgement of the Lord.
Josiah, the last great King, ruled the kingdom in righteousness … under his rule the nation experienced a spiritual awakening … resulting in peace and prosperity … “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
A sad reality: Even though Josiah was a godly king, his children were wicked, and led the nation away from the Lord.
The wickedness of Judah resulted in poverty and conflict … “The nation that forgets God shall be turned to hell.”
Consider: The last fifty years the United States under the leadership of less than godly men has become a nation without a moral compass sacrificing to the false gods of power, possession, and pleasure: abortion is considered a woman’s right rather than an atrocity …. Homosexuality is considered an alternate lifestyle rather than an abomination against God … the sacredness of marriage has been replaced with pleasure over purity … etc.
While the election results may be considered a victory for conservatism, will there really be change; the kind of change that includes God? It is not enough to put a new president in the White House, we need to put God back on the throne, ruling our nation.
Note the reference to religious leaders in 36:14 … if there will be any real change in America it must begin with religious leaders
King Zedekiah neglected the reality of God’s holiness and justice. He was convinced that Jeremiah’s prophecies of judgement would not, could not happen to Judah. Zedekiah’s real enemy was his pride. He refused to humble himself, admit there was a problem, and repent.
The writer of our lesson noted that there was no real difference between the people of Judah and the heathen nations … it should be apparent to the people around us that we are different. People are not necessary listening to believe, rather they are LOOKING to believe. If they don’t SEE something different they will not believe.
Spiritual Downfall Leads to Despising God’s Word (Jeremiah 38:14-18, 24-28).
God’s Word was rejected by Zedekiah because it wasn’t what he wanted to hear.
The reason the Word of God/the Bible is under attack today is because it requires change and doesn’t allow man to do as man wants to do.
We must hold out the Word of God to the world as the absolute TRUTH … the roadmap to living
Never be afraid of telling someone the truth (based in the Word).
Many of the problems we are experiencing is the result of replacing the truth with convenient lies.
Relate Jeremiah’s brokenness with Christ’s weeping over Jerusalem …
Like Jeremiah, we need to realize that it is not our words, but His word, that matters
In a political environment we don’t need to hear the promises of the politician but the Word of God.
Spiritual Downfall brings God’s Wrath (2 Chronicles 36:15-21).
Just as Jeremiah had warned, Judah fell to the power of Babylon. Many of Judah’s inhabitants were slaughtered … some were enslaved … the city was destroyed and the temple torn down
Sad reality: None of this had to happen. They were warned but they chose to reject the message.
How long before God responds to our sin as a nation and moves against us with judgment?
God is holy and just, and He will judge sin
There is forgiveness and restoration through Jesus Christ.
Don’t be afraid to hold forth the truths of the Word of God.