The Babylonian Destruction of Jerusalem, from the Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493
Sin led to Judah's awful destruction. Jeremiah 39 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar killed all of the sons of Zedekiah (king of Judah) in front of him. Then he slew all of the nobles before him, put out Zedekiah's eyes, placed him shackles and led him away to Babylon! Dreadful scene. Unbelievably harsh. What is made clear is that sin was the cause. Jeremiah's case was the opposite. Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to take care of him. In verse 18, we read that the LORD (Yahweh) was the one who did all of this, the bad as well as the good. I so appreciated the emphasis that John Barry gives to this passage that I am copying it directly over to you. There's actually hope here. . . . IF.
It’s important to pause occasionally to reflect on the cost of sin. If we don’t, we can find ourselves living in it without thought of the ramifications. Few passages illustrate the cost of sin more vividly than the fall of Jerusalem recorded in Jer 39. The fall of Jerusalem is brutal, depressing, and sadistic, but we can learn from Jeremiah’s account of the event.
We could view Jeremiah’s depictions as merely historical, or we could recognize the theological lessons they offer: Sin is expensive. Sin will destroy you. Sin will bring a nation to its knees. Sin will leave you begging for mercy. Sin is death. That’s what God’s people learned from this event: Disobeying Yahweh is a costly action. It’s not that God wants His people to endure this pain, but pain is a natural consequence of their decisions. He cannot defend people who refuse to live as beacons of light—of goodness, beauty, and blessing—to the world. If they aren’t willing to live in His image, then He is not willing to be their defender. If Yahweh did not allow for Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem, the people would never learn. And the exile that comes in this moment is also a natural result of their sin.
When we’re faced with the horror of the destruction of Jerusalem, we’re given a choice: Will we listen to the prophets of our age and respond accordingly? Will we hear God when He calls us back to obedience? Or will we continue to live in sin and suffer the consequences?
As a side effect of the grace that God has given us in Jesus, many people assume that sin is somehow okay—that it’s okay to allow it to exist. God’s response is the opposite. The grace is unmerited, and we must respond with the only merited response: complete dedication and obedience to Him. We must see the death of sin and deny it.Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
What sin is currently present in your life? What do you need to repent from? Have you asked God for direct you in this?