2 Kings 25
Ah, so the residents of Judah are finally carried off into Babylon, and Jerusalem is destroyed. How depressing. Reading this chapter, I felt especially bad for Zedekiah, who watched his sons being killed before his eyes were plucked out. That would be an awful image to have to remember for the rest of your life. It’s just another stark reminder of the evil darkness we face when we try to live life without God.
And then, continuing on in the chapter, I was somewhat surprised to see this: "On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan... came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down... The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the Lord and they carried the bronze to Babylon. They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver." (vs 8-9, 13-15)
The Babylonians plundered God’s temple. This must have been absolutely shocking to the people of Judah. For all their idol worship, they must have known deep down that the God of Heaven was still the one, true God. They must have thought that—despite their evil—nothing would ever be able to demolish His dwelling place.
They were wrong.
Throughout the centuries, God had been pleading with the people of Judah and Israel for their cooperation and obedience. He had been pleading with them to turn from their idol-worshiping ways and return to Him. He wanted to be their God, and He wanted them to be His people. But they were bent on running after other gods.
So, what did God do? In the end, He suffered the shame of their sin along with them. He could have put some sort of supernatural hedge around His temple and just allowed the people of Judah to be carried away. He could have symbolically made it clear that He was abandoning His people because they weren’t faithful. But He didn’t do that.
Instead, He allowed His name to be run through the mud as well. He allowed heathen nations to look at what had been done to His temple and say, See? We told you the God of the Israelites was nothing! He couldn’t even save His own house! He suffered the scorn and shame along with His people—even though He had never been anything but faithful to them. When the time came, He stood shoulder to shoulder with them and bore the consequences of their sin.
Doesn’t that just sound like God?