In the last book of Jeremiah, we get an epilogue, if you will, of the events that occurred after Jeremiah’s last words in Jeremiah 51. There were a few verses that stuck out to me today so I’m going to share my thoughts on these with you.

We are told that Zedekiah, all of the officials, his sons, and the army fled from Jerusalem when it fell (Jeremiah 52:7). Jeremiah, his sons, and the officials were separated from the army and captured by the forces of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 52:8-9). After being captured Zedekiah’s sons were executed in front of him and then he had his eyes put out (Jeremiah 52:10-11). All of the officials were also executed. What strikes me as sad here is that Zedekiah was told that his family would be spared if he surrendered to the Babylonians but he didn’t (Jeremiah 38:17). It’s bad enough when children die before their parents but to see them executed as the last thing you see is horrific.

Zedekiah didn’t surrender to the Babylonians because he was afraid of what the Babylonians would do to him (Jeremiah 38:19). However, God told Zedekiah, through Jeremiah, that he wouldn’t be handed over to the Babylonians if he surrendered. A surrender would not only have spared his family but the city of Jerusalem wouldn’t have been burned and it would have gone a lot better for everyone involved. When Zedekiah allowed himself to be ruled by fear the worst things happened. I wonder how often circumstances in our lives are worse than we could have imagined because we either act or don’t act because of fear and not faith?

When the Babylonians broke up the items in the Lord’s temple and took them away I wonder if they were just taking away items of value or if there was another purpose there. It was a common practice for enemies to destroy their enemies’ “gods” when they were defeated (Isaiah 37:11-12). I think that taking away all of these items from the Lord’s temple pained the people as much as being carried away themselves. Even though all of these things had been devoted to God through years of worship we know that God is not in the bronze, silver, or even the gold. Indeed, God was in nothing that was destroyed or carried away. We know that items of bronze, silver, and gold mean nothing to the Lord. God didn’t delight in their sacrifices to Him and He doesn’t delight in the things that we think we sacrifice for Him. God tells us that he desires mercy and not sacrifice but the only sacrifice we are to give, as mentioned in the New Testament, is one of praise.

In all of Jeremiah, I don’t recall seeing any mention of anyone surrendering to the Babylonians. I was surprised then when I read this verse today:

Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile some of the poorest people and those who remained in the city, along with the rest of the craftsmen and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon.

Jeremiah 52:15 (NIV)

We don’t know who these people were but we can surmise from other verses that they weren’t the “important” people of the city. For the most part, it appears that those people, from the chief priest and the door guards to all of the advisors, were executed by Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 52:24-27). Often when I’m reading through the Bible I get a picture of the “people” as this teeming mass that sways in whatever direction the ruling class is currently pointing. Therefore, it’s refreshing to read about some people who listened to what God had to say.

I’m surprised, as I usually am, at what I learned today. As followers of Christ, we need to remember that it is Christ who we follow. It’s important to listen to our leaders but ultimately, we, not them, are the ones who will stand before the judgment seat of God to answer for our behavior. We also can’t go wrong by trusting in God and doing things in faith. Choosing faith over fear is always a win. Finally, God’s not in the t-shirt I wear that says “I love Jesus” or anything else that I can see. He dwells in my heart and my mind and although my stuff can be destroyed and this body dies, my soul and the things that matter are eternal.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.