2 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. 3 The king of Egypt dethroned him in Jerusalem and imposed on Judah a levy of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 4 The king of Egypt made Eliakim, a brother of Jehoahaz, king over Judah and Jerusalem and changed Eliakim’s name to Jehoiakim. But Neco took Eliakim’s brother Jehoahaz and carried him off to Egypt.
5 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD his God. 6 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked him and bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also took to Babylon articles from the temple of the LORD and put them in his temple there. 8 The other events of Jehoiakim’s reign, the detestable things he did and all that was found against him, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. And Jehoiachin his son succeeded him as king.
9 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. He did evil in the eyes of the LORD. 10 In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon, together with articles of value from the temple of the LORD, and he made Jehoiachin’s uncle, Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem.
11 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. 12 He did evil in the eyes of the LORD his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke the word of the LORD. 13 He also rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him take an oath in God’s name. He became stiff-necked and hardened his heart and would not turn to the LORD, the God of Israel. 14 Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the LORD, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.
15 The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16 But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. 17 He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and spared neither young man nor young woman, old man or aged. God handed all of them over to Nebuchadnezzar. 18 He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the LORD’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. 19 They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there. 20 He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the LORD spoken by Jeremiah. (2 Chronicles 361-21 NASB)
It’s been hundreds of years since David became king of Israel. Not very long after, most of the tribes of Israel rejected David’s grandson as king and set up their own king. The land of Israel was split into 2 kingdoms, north and south. The north kingdom so quickly abandoned God that by the time of what we just read, they had all been carried off into captivity by other countries and were no longer a country. Only Judah remained.
But Judah’s kings, and priests, and people had become increasingly evil, and proud, and foolish. They angered foreign kings, they angered God by worshiping other gods. God sent prophet after prophet to warn them of what would happen if they didn’t change their ways and obey God again, but they wouldn’t listen.
So God stopped protecting them.
All of them were carried off, out of the promised land, into exile in Babylon. They served the king of Babylon now, and it’s people. The kingdoms of Judah and Israel were no more. They had completely failed to be the people who showed God to the world. They had become exactly like the rest of the world instead.
It seems like this is the end. How is Israel to be a blessing to the nations now? How is God going to bring his promised blessing now?
There is nothing left.
Or is there?
The people aren’t dead, at least, not all of them. Do you think God will abandon them completely? Or does he still have a plan for them?