Facing the End

Key Verse: “The LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.”
—II Chronicles 36:15,16

Selected Scripture:
II Chronicles 36:11-21

THIS LESSON IS AN EXAMPLE of the outcome when one rejects God’s Word. When Zedekiah became the last king in Jerusalem, “he did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (Jer. 52:2) He didn’t humble himself before the Prophet Jeremiah who spoke from the mouth of the Lord. He refused to heed the prophet’s word to surrender to the Babylonians’ invading army. (Jer. 27:1-12) Further, when King Nebuchadnezzar, made him take an oath in God’s name, “he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart from turning unto the Lord God of Israel.” (II Chron. 36:13) He kept looking for human ways to solve the problem by resisting the Babylonians. As Jeremiah had warned, such opposition was fruitless and against God’s desires.—vss. 6-12

“Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the Lord which he had hallowed in Jerusalem.” (vs. 14) Their unfaithfulness took the form of the worship of idols, which occurred even in the Temple itself. Meanwhile, God sought to get the people to turn back by sending ‘messengers,’ prophets like Jeremiah and Habakkuk. The people, however, refused to listen. ‘They mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy.’ (vs. 16) The result of having no remedy for the sins of the nation proved to be destruction.

“He brought upon them [Israel] the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.” (vs. 17) The treasures of the house of the Lord were taken to Babylon, and the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed.—vss. 17-19

This account is also recorded in II Kings, chapters twenty-four and twenty-five in much greater detail, but the Lord’s message warned that if the people were to turn away from God and serve other gods, exile and destruction of the Temple would be the result. Nebuchadnezzar tried controlling Israel as a vassal state when Jehoiakim was king and when his son Jehoiachin reigned after him. Both rebelled and were deposed. We read, “And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his stead and changed his name to Zedekiah.” (II Kings 24:17, Revised Standard Version) Zedekiah served as a puppet king, but he too rebelled and brought on the destruction described in this lesson.

It is possible for the Lord’s people to fall into this same tragedy today if they were to follow Zedekiah’s example of doing evil in the eyes of the Lord. Let us never experience those dreadful consequences as did Israel. Let us hear God’s call to turn back to him, and quickly respond.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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