SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Babylon became the world's super power after defeating Assyria in 612 B.C. and Egypt in 605 B.C. The Babylonian invasion of Judah we see in this chapter is the first of three that occur over the next twenty years. (The next two occurred in 597 and 586 B.C.)
- We see Nebuchadnezzar (verse 1) in other books of the Bible, such as Daniel, which tell about the same time period as 2 Kings 23.
- The invasion we read about starting in verse 10 was the second Babylonian invasion of Judah.
- Verse 14ff: When Babylon invaded they would take only the strongest, smartest and most skilled back to live in Babylonian cities. The poor and weak left and given some authority, which tended to win their loyalty.
- What we see happening in this chapter is the fulfillment of the choices the Israelites had been making for a long time. Since the Israelite people and God first moved into a relationship, God had warned them that there were consequences for unfaithfulness. They had been traveling down an unfaithful path for generations, and here we see the result. There are STILL consequences for being unfaithful to God, still ramifications for sin.
- We don't always experience those consequences immediately, but we will eventually. It's kind of like taking your hands off the steering wheel, you might crash immediately, or you might crash eventually, but you are going to crash.
- If we ask Him to do so through Jesus' death, God will forgive us for our sins, which means we will avoid the eternal consequences of our sin, but that doesn't mean we will necessarily avoid the consequences of our sins in this life. Think of it this way: A man gets drunk every day for years. He then comes to faith in Jesus and asks God to forgive all his sins. God does. Does that mean the man's liver is no longer effected by all the alcohol he's consumed? No.
- Realizing that sin always has negative consequences should make us feel desperate to not sin. There may be a short-term payoff, but long run it is definitely not worth it. Will you decide, because you love God, because you love yourself, because you love others, to live a life where you consciously choose not to sin?
- If you make that decision, temptation will still come knocking and there will still be something in you that wants to do what is wrong. The way we have the power to overcome temptation and not sin is through our connection with God and others. We can't do it in our own power, but if we stay vitally connected to God each day (for instance, through prayer and reading the Bible) we will have his power to fight temptation. And if we get vitally connected to others who support us (for instance, through getting in a group at church) we will have even more help in fighting temptation.