Summary: When it comes to God’s Word…information without application leads to judgment
What changes have you made in your life over the past month based on what you’ve learned from the last four messages that I’ve preached? Just in case you’re having a hard time remembering some of the possible actions that I’ve suggested in each of those messages, let’s review briefly:
• In the sermon on the Feast of Trumpets on September 17, I suggested two implications for our lives – 1) we need to be preparing our hearts for the return of Jesus, and 2) we need to be encouraging and building each other up as we await His return. What concrete steps have you taken in the last month to do either of those things?
• In the sermon on the Day of Atonement on September 24, one of the things we focused on was the need for repentance. Over the last three weeks, have you asked God to reveal sin in your life and then taken practical steps to repent of that sin.
• In the sermon on the Feast of Tabernacles two weeks ago, I challenged all of us to participate in a Seven Day Remember and Rejoice Challenge. I’m not going to embarrass anyone by asking for a show of hands, but how many of you actually followed through and did that. I did see some posts from 3 or 4 people and possibly there were some others I didn’t see, but my sense is that not many of us followed through and actually did that.
• Last week in the sermon on Jeremiah’s call, I urged all of us to write down a list of excuses that we make and confess those to God and to throw the list away and to work on developing a personal life purpose statement. Again, I don’t want a show of hands, but how many of you even started the process this week?
Let make take this one step further. What specific actions have you taken in the last month based on what you’ve learned from your own personal Bible reading or from a Bible study you’ve been involved in?
I know that many of you here this morning could easily identify changes that you have made in your life recently based on what you’re learning from the Bible. But I am also pretty sure that the questions I’m asking are also making some of you a bit uncomfortable this morning because you’re having a real hard time remembering the last time you actually applied God’s Word in your life in some practical way. Either way, my prayer for all of us this morning is that we will understand just how important it is that we allow God’s Word to transform our lives on a daily basis.
So here is the big idea that I’d like all of us to take away from the message this morning:
When it comes to God’s Word…
information without application leads to judgment
That is the main idea that we’ll take away from 2 Chronicles chapter 36. In this chapter, we find an overview of the reigns of the final four kings of Judah. This is the same period during which the prophet Jeremiah is ministering in the midst of God’s people. But as we hinted at last week, the people would fail to heed His warnings and the result would be that they would experience God’s judgment.
[Read 2 Chronicles 36:1-4]
Judah was located geographically between the two great powers of this period - Egypt and Babylon – and it becomes the main battleground as those two powers fight for superiority in the region. [Show map]
After Josiah is killed by Pharaoh Necho of Egypt in the Battle of Megiddo in 609 BC, Judah essentially fell under the control of Egypt. The people choose Jejoahaz as their new king, preferring him over his older brother Eliakim. But only three months later, Pharaoh Necho decided to install his own king, one he thought he could control better, and Eliakim, whose name was change to Jehoiakim, became king. Necho also imposed a huge tribute on the Jews.
[Read 2 Chronicles 36:5-8]
Unlike his father, Josiah, Jehoiakim does evil in the sight of the Lord. In Jeremiah 36, we learn that he even has the audacity to burn the scroll that contained all the words God had spoken through Jeremiah against Judah. As a result, God reveals that He is going to bring the king of Babylon against his people and that the kingdom is going to be ripped away from Jehoiakim’s descendants. And that is exactly what occurs here in the last chapter of 2 Chronicles.
Nebuchadnezzar had defeated the Egyptians in the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC and pursued their fleeing army all the way down to the Sinai. He then subdued the Jews, because of their loyalty to the Pharaoh of Egypt. This would be the first of three major campaigns against Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Not surprisingly Jehoiakim changes his allegiance and continues to reign another three years as a vassal of Babylon.