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Jerusalem Falls (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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September 19, 2023 6:00 am

Jerusalem Falls (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 19, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the book of the Acts

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Judah had the temple.

They had the law. They had the priesthood. They had the prophets.

They had the kings. They just didn't have Yahweh anymore. They didn't have the Lord. This is the same problem Christ runs into the churches in the book of Revelation.

You left your first love. I stand at the door and knock, the one to Ephesus. Ephesus, the darling church of the first Christians, the church that had so much invested in it.

They left their first love, which warns all of us against that. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of 2nd Kings. Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the book of 2nd Kings chapter 25 as he begins his message, Jerusalem Falls. Let's open our Bibles to 2nd Kings chapter 25, Jerusalem Falls.

I had hoped to come up with a more profound and exciting title, but that is it. Were it not for the prophet Jeremiah, this would just be a pretty drab study, but he brings a spiritual element to it. This chapter has the fallen captivity of Judah.

It has a man named Gedadiah who's made governor. He will be murdered, not in this chapter, but at this time. And then we again read about Jehoiachin, released from prison, and Zedekiah, what happens to him who is the present king. The last verse of the previous chapter ended with Zedekiah going against his pledge of allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. And when he broke that pledge and started looking towards Egypt for help, Nebuchadnezzar was pretty upset. Modern proverb, you don't pull on Superman's cape, and that's just what he did.

He yanked on the wrong cape, and he's going to really pay for it. Samuel, the prophet, long ago said that the nation was susceptible to God's judgment if they departed from God. Well, he was just quoting what Moses taught them when he came down from the mountain, in detail as cataloged for us in Deuteronomy especially. 1 Samuel 12 verse 25, but if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.

Interesting is seven years prior to these events of chapter 25, the false prophet, Hananiah, he was praised for his false prophecies in the court of the king. Ah, Nebuchadnezzar is not going to come. In two years did Babylon be defeated, and Jeremiah said, I wish it was so. But it's not going to be so. And a lot of drama was connected with this, and Jeremiah leaves and God speaks to Jeremiah and says, I want you to go back.

And I want you to declare that not only is that not true, but that you're going to be dead within the year. And that is what happened, and I've remarked about Jeremiah's profound prophecies and how so many of them were fulfilled in his lifetime, but unfortunately they weren't pleasant prophecies. They were prophecies of doom, and he's not the prophet of doom.

He didn't cause this. He just called them out on it. Well, that battle between the prophets, Hananiah and Jeremiah, one man's word against another man's word, both claimed to speak in Yahweh's name. What settled the matter was the fact, the truths that came out, but who was the one that was right? The one that adhered to the Scripture.

That's who won. That's the man that found God's favor. And for that, as a reward for Jeremiah, he was beaten, he was threatened, he was ostracized, he was chased, he was chained, and he was left in the prison.

Now we look at verse 1. Now it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and camped against it, and they built a siege wall against it all around. And so they don't storm the city in those days, they just build a wall and starve you to death. Jerusalem had its own water supply, but that would not be enough. This is Zedekiah that it refers to in the ninth year of his reign.

We know that from Jeremiah 31, 9, it names him. But here Nebuchadnezzar, with all of his army, comes up, and within 14 months, Jerusalem will fall, and Zedekiah will be tortured and imprisoned and carried off, imprisoned in Babylon. Ezekiel gives us even more details about the siege. But an interesting fact is that the motives that prompt a bad man into action may be different from the motives which incline God to allow him to do what he's going to do.

And this is an example. The motives of Nebuchadnezzar was to control the region, to gain wealth from the people that he conquered, to build his empire at the expense of other kingdoms. That was his motivation. God, on the other hand, was going to use him to discipline the Jewish people. But you can't factor out with Nebuchadnezzar that there's a man in Babylon that is influencing him in righteousness, and that would be Daniel. Daniel has already been there, and I think we're going to see some of the fruit of his ministry, because Daniel was a dynamo in Babylon behind the scenes. And much of what came out of Babylon, in the righteous sense, was because of him. Now, he didn't overturn the Chaldeans. He did not, you know, just make Babylon something other than what it was.

But he did salt the kingdom at the top, and that does show up. It says here in verse 1, they built a siege wall against it all around. Well, almost two and a half years, this wall's going to be up. The Egyptians will come to the aid of the Jews, but it won't work. It will interrupt the siege for a little bit, give them a little break. That extends the timeline out. I mentioned it would be 14 months, probably a little bit longer than that because of their interruption. Some of the Jews, when Nebuchadnezzar comes back and continues his siege, they will turn to cannibalism.

It won't be the first time in their history that they've done that. When Samaria was besieged, and in the days of Elisha, the prophet, some of the people turned to cannibalism there. Now, verse 2, we'll come back to that cannibalism in a minute. Verse 2, so the city was besieged until the 11th year of King Zedekiah. Now, Jeremiah had been counseling Zedekiah quite a bit. He was a weak king, and I think he was more weak than he was mean. But he was an idolater nonetheless, and it brought a lot of suffering, his evil ways did. And this prophet Jeremiah had encouraged him to surrender the city and therefore save the city, the people and the city.

The temple did not have to be chopped up into little pieces and broken down. No, he would not listen. He refused to obey God's word and arrested Jeremiah as a traitor for disagreeing with them. And after Jeremiah's words came true, you'd think that there would be a line outside of his door to apologize to him.

That's never the way it goes, it seems. Jeremiah will be in his grotto writing the Lamentations of Jeremiah. And here the siege continues without hope of relief. And here's a point that you get to sections that talks about Ammon and Moab and Philistia, and you're just like, this is kind of boring reading, but it is connected. In Ezekiel 25, Ezekiel pronounces judgments on Amnon, Moab, Edom and the Philistines, and God adds in that chapter for each one, because you, and he points to how they treated Judah at this time. They were in an alliance with Judah against Babylon, and when that didn't work, instead of just being defeated people by Babylon or subjected people, what they did instead is they waited so they could go in and loot Israel and Judah also, as much as they could take. And the prophet Ezekiel calls them out on that. In verse 3, so do some of the other prophets, incidentally, the minor prophets. In verse 3, in the ninth day of the fourth month, the famine had become so severe in the city that there was no food for the people of the land. Well, what does that have to do with me?

You know, everything. This is God's word. And if it is all true, and it has to be an all or nothing deal, if it's not all or nothing, then you put yourself as the judge of God's word, and the whole thing breaks down. Well, if it is true, and it is God's word, then it's to me. It has something to do with me in my life, where I find myself, in the workplace, amongst unbelievers, amongst believers, wherever I go.

There should be some influence. Jesus asked, whose image is on the coin? Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. And the implication is, well, if you're giving to God what belongs to him, then whose image is on you? Well, we're created in the image of God. Sin ruined that.

Christ has restored that. Ergo, Christ's likeness. The likeness of Christ upon us, because of the work of the Holy Spirit. Here in verse 3, and my point is, it's meaningful.

Don't dismiss this. It's just Jewish history. It's a spiritual book. It goes beyond just a historical account. God's got his fingerprints all over this. He didn't cause this, but he called it.

It's a concept a lot of people seem to have a problem with. Just because God prophesies and knows everything, doesn't mean he causes everything. He certainly controls, makes its boundaries. Jeremiah describes the horrors of this siege, particularly in Lamentation, chapter 4, verses 9 and 10. He speaks about the cannibalism in gross detail. Just those two verses, for example.

About 140 years earlier was the siege in Samaria that I mentioned in reference with Elijah. And there in 2 Kings, chapter 6, Leviticus 26, God said, you shall eat the flesh of your sons and you shall eat the flesh of your daughters. That's the outcome, God is saying.

I'm not going to force anybody to do this, but when you turn from me and you start getting into the voodoo and all the other stuff that these other people are worshipping, you're going to draw to yourself evils that you can't imagine. And that is what happened. He brings it up in Deuteronomy 28 also. And so as we look at this history, it's too grotesque a story to dwell on, aside from the fact that God said it would happen.

And he's always right. When you come to the book of Revelation, God said this is going to happen. And it's going to happen just like that. We won't have the luxuries of Jeremiah watching his prophecies fulfilled, but we also are spared the sufferings, at least here in America right now, because there are other Christians in other parts of the world, they're not spared. Remember those in chains, wrote Paul to the Hebrews. Verse 4, then the city wall was broken through and all the men of war fled at night by way of the gate between two walls, which was by the king's garden, even though the Chaldeans were still encamped all around against the city. And the king went by way of the plain, which is the desert, Araba, and the Hebrew has there.

It's rightly translated, the plains. Zedekiah, he dared not let God save him and the city and his family when Jeremiah was just laying it on him no less than three times. We have it recorded of Jeremiah telling him these things.

There's more, but those are three direct times in face to face. Instead, he deserts the people whom he has doomed. He doomed the people. All he had to do was submit to Nebuchadnezzar. But instead, he defied him. And now they're all going to pay. And his flight, his flight reminds us of his lifelong flight from reality. Well, there's a lot of people like that.

I mean, we all want escapes from reality, ergo, entertainment. Well, this man went beyond that and it could only have one outcome. And we're going to read about it. Verse 5, but the army of the Chaldeans pursued the king and they overtook him. In the plains of Jericho, all his army was scattered from him. Well, the men that were entrusted to protect the women and the children in the city, they fled and they got caught because Jeremiah, because he warned them, it's too late now. So the men of war became men of flight, repeatedly ignoring the warnings, vilifying the one giving them the word of God, as do we when we tell people about the judgment of hell for rejecting the Christ. We're vilified oftentimes. It's a true fight.

It's hard. We love to talk about loyalty, but people will vilify us for being loyal. If you're loyal to what God has called you to, maybe you belong to a church, you're loyal to that church and somebody doesn't want you to be loyal to that church and they try to make you feel small for it. That's our cue to stand up.

Even little problems, you know, as a pastor you put policies in place and when people defy those problems, you have a problem. You can say, you know, I'm about tired of all this. I don't need it.

I'm out of here. But then where's the courage in that? How do you get anything done against hell if when inconvenienced, you look for the path of least resistance?

It's natural. It's just not spiritual. And it comes down to what we learn from men like Jeremiah and Paul. It comes down to trusting God and letting Him let you suffer while you trust Him. We let the mercy of God overrule the judgment of God because God does that. That's why we love to talk about the mercy and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ because we know we're guilty. We know that He is a God that judges righteously. But if that is all we had, we would be doomed. We need something more than judgment and justice from God.

We need mercy. And His mercy overrules His own justice. Well, I don't want to say justice because it's not an injustice. It's one law superior to another law on the terms of God. And the easy illustration is the law of gravity. God does not violate the law of gravity.

He overcomes the law of gravity by giving man the ability to fly planes and things like that. And so God has it all figured out. Men like Jeremiah, they figured out that God had it figured out and they stayed there.

He could have just left. He could have said, I'm just going to live up in the tribe of Dan. I'll take up gardening or something.

I'll live off the land. I don't need to be a prophet telling people what God has to say to them. Maybe you're like that in the workplace. Maybe you've lost your fire for the truth. Maybe you've been Christian long enough to find out it's tough going. And now you're just another potted plant in the workplace.

There's no light there. Well, just be encouraged. Don't think that has to be the end of the story. Be loyal to God and that's what we're looking at in the life of this man, Jeremiah, in these last days. As horrid as it is, he remains the prophet. So in verse 6, so they took the king and brought him up to Babylon at Riblah and they pronounced judgment on him. Judah had the temple, they had the law, they had the priesthood, they had the prophets, they had the kings. They just didn't have Yahweh anymore. They didn't have the Lord.

This is the same problem Christ runs into the churches in the book of Revelation. You left your first love. I stand at the door and knock, the one to Ephesus. Ephesus, the darling church of the first Christians, the church that had so much invested in it.

They left their first love, which warns all of us against that. And then of course, Laodicea, the other bookend. Ephesus is the first church that the Lord addresses and then Laodicea. And here's another fun fact, who does the Lord address when he deals with the mess in the church?

Does he say, and to the congregation of the church at Ephesus, he does not. He says to the messenger. Well, who's the messenger? The pastor. We call the preaching the message, do we not? To the pastor of the church. And if he knows his scripture, he's going to be more afraid of hearing the Lord rebuke him than anybody dislike him.

These things should be exciting to us because it gives us a chance to beat back what the devil does time and time again. And so be strong, stick to the Lord and his scripture. It says, so they took the king and brought him up to the king at Babylon. That's Zedekiah. Riblah is where he is about 200 miles north of Jerusalem. Verse 7, then they killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Put out the eyes of Zedekiah, bound him with bronze fetters and took him to Babylon.

What a waste. All of this 100% was avoidable. It is his fault.

He is the one to be blamed. Those who could claim a right to the throne, his sons. Well, they eliminated that standard operation procedure for the ancient kings.

You get rid of the threats and any known threats. His daughters will be set free. We read that in Jeremiah 41 and Jeremiah 46. But Zedekiah, once they put his eyes out, he would see nothing again. No fresh visuals to sort of help erase the last thing he saw. That stuck in his head.

He'd see nothing again. We read it in 2 Chronicles 36, the parallel account. He did evil in the sight of Yahweh, talking about Zedekiah. Yahweh his God and did not humble himself before Jeremiah the prophet, who spoke from the mouth of Yahweh. Now the historian writing Chronicles, he knows he is after the fact, of course.

The Chronicles ends with the beginning of the book of Ezra, the events in the book of Ezra. You know, he's looking back and he's saying to the Jewish people, don't be like this. Don't make these mistakes. Stick to the Lord. Believe in the prophecies. The whole world is supposed to be blessed because of you. That goes all the way back to Abraham.

And yet the whole world is ostracized or separated from you. It has kept them an independent people on one hand, but it has also disengaged them from being the light that God wanted them to be to the Gentiles. Well, coming back to this, here he is now physically blind and physically bound. He was already spiritually blind and spiritually bound. Jeremiah adds this, and put him in prison till the day of his death.

But he also prophesied this about Zedekiah. You shall die in peace and in jail. He's going to be in prison until he dies. He will be blind. That will be his end. He will not be murdered, I guess is the idea. I think as you look at the prophecies of Jeremiah about this king, at least I got the feeling that Jeremiah is holding back. He doesn't want to tell him.

You're going to be blind. This is going to be really... And he wouldn't have to because that's what they did in those days. Zedekiah would have known if he fell into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar without making things right. He was going to suffer.

Well, it happened. Verse 8, And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar then, the captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. There's different standards for measuring the king's reign. I'm not even going to go into them.

And it just makes everything... So when you talk the years, you have to do give or take a couple of years because of the different standards. This standard is the measurement of a Gentile king, which was rare, but we find it here in Kings. Jeremiah is still in the king's prison now. At this point, in the fifth month of the seventh day of the month of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar, captain of the guard, servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem.

And it's conquered now. Jeremiah's in jail. We picked that up in Jeremiah 39, verse 11. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzardan, the captain of the guard, saying, take him and look after him and do him no harm, but do to him just as he says to you.

That's quite profound. Nebuchadnezzar's a potentate. I mean, there's no human with more power than him on earth, known to man at this point in history. And he says, you take care of Jeremiah.

Whatever he wants, whatever he says, you do that. Well, he knew Jeremiah was giving good advice to Zedekiah. But there's got to be more than that. All kings have their sympathizers inside the city.

They don't do this. Where's this coming from? Daniel. Daniel's got the king's ear. Maybe not directly saying to the king, you need to watch out, and I don't mean it that way, but Daniel's influence.

You have to love when the belt of Shazzar offers him the trinkets for reading the handwriting on the wall. Daniel says, you keep it. I don't want it.

Give it to somebody else. I was pretty bold to turn down a king like that and say, I don't need your stuff. I'll tell you what it means, though. So, just such a man of dynamic character, Daniel was. God preserves his record about these people in the Bible. How can you not get excited about Esther saying, well, if I die, I die, but I know what I got to do. I know what my job is, and my duty is this.

And if it kills me, it kills me. In verse 13 and 14 of Jeremiah 39, it goes on, so Nebuchadnezzar then the captain of the guards sent, and then it continues, then they sent someone to take Jeremiah from the court of the prison and committed him to Gedaliah, the son of Ahicham, the son of Shaphan. These are meaningful names, these three characters, that he should take him home so he dwelt among the people. Jeremiah didn't want to go back to Babylon, so when the king Nebuchadnezzar says, do to him what he wants, there's a dialogue between the two, and Nebuchadnezzar, the captain of the guard, says, well, what do you want? You want to go to Babylon? You want to stay here?

I'm going to stay here. Well, they end up kidnapping, not the Babylonians. His own people kidnapped Jeremiah and cart him off to Egypt. Once they find him in the prison, they take him out, they keep him in chains, and they take him to Ramah, about 12 miles north of Jerusalem, and there he will be set free. And we picked that up in Jeremiah 40, where Nebuchadnezzar is speaking with him. He says, now look, I free you this day.

I'll pause there a minute. Nebuchadnezzar says, you know what happened to your people. They messed with Yahweh.

That's what happened. Thanks for joining us for today's edition on Cross-Reference Radio. This is the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia.

We trust that what you've heard today in the book of 2 Kings has been something to remember. If you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series, go to crossreferenceradio.com. Once more, that's crossreferenceradio.com. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast, too, so you'll never miss another edition. Just go to your favorite podcast app to subscribe. Our time is about up, but we hope you'll tune in again next time as we continue on in the book of 2 Kings. We look forward to that time with you, so make a note in your calendar to join Pastor Rick as he teaches from the Bible right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-07 08:49:59 / 2023-10-07 09:00:19 / 10

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