Summary: God speaks to save, not to terrify or condemn. God speaks the truth.
God did not give up on Judah, despite her disobedience and sinful ways.
• God continued to speak to them, again and again, through prophet Jeremiah.
• God extended grace and showed mercy, still urging them to repent.
Judah did not listen, but that did not stop God. “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8)
• That’s the God we have. That’s the God we believe in and we trust.
• We’re going to see this same compassionate and gracious God yet again, today in the closing chapters of 2 Kings.
• We will look at the last King of Judah, Zedekiah, and hear God speaks to him, many times, more than the usual, in fact.
Nebuchadnezzar came against Jerusalem for the second time and took his predecessor Jehoiachin away, together with the best of the land.
• Jehoiachin’s uncle Zedekiah became Babylon’s puppet King. 2 Kings 24:18-25:12.
EARLY IN HIS REIGN God warned him NOT to fight the Babylonians.
• God prepared him and revealed to him that Babylon will come against this region.
• Jer 27:1-7,12-15 27:1 Early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2This is what the LORD said to me: "Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck. 3Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them a message for their masters and say, `This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Tell this to your masters: 5With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. 6Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. 7All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him.
• 12 I gave the same message to Zedekiah king of Judah. I said, "Bow your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon; serve him and his people, and you will live. 13Why will you and your people die by the sword, famine and plague with which the LORD has threatened any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?
• 14Do not listen to the words of the prophets who say to you, `You will not serve the king of Babylon,' for they are prophesying lies to you. 15`I have not sent them,' declares the LORD. `They are prophesying lies in my name. Therefore, I will banish you and you will perish, both you and the prophets who prophesy to you.'"
The Lord prepares him. The message is simple, surrender to the King of Babylon.
• Don’t fight him. You will be better off not going against Nebuchadnezzar. Listen to what I says, not what the other false prophets are telling you.
• But this is really not easy. To surrender is unpopular and it goes against his intuition or his pride.
Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar came against the city. He laid siege against Jerusalem for two years. DURING THE SIEGE the Lord spoke.
• Jer 21:1-10 21:1 The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: 2 "Inquire now of the LORD for us because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the LORD will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us."
• 3 But Jeremiah answered them, "Tell Zedekiah, 4`This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city. 5 I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in anger and fury and great wrath. 6 I will strike down those who live in this city - both men and animals - and they will die of a terrible plague. 7After that, declares the LORD, I will hand over Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who seek their lives. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.'