In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it. In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer of Samgar, Nebu-sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon. When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled, going out of the city at night by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls; and they went toward the Arabah. But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence on him. The king of Babylon slaughtered the sons of Zedekiah at Riblah before his eyes, and the king of Babylon slaughtered all the nobles of Judah. He put out the eyes of Zedekiah and bound him in chains to take him to Babylon. Jeremiah 39:1-7 ESV
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Romans 5:6-9 ESV
In October of 1929, the United States stock market crashed. What this meant was that people who put their money into stocks of different businesses suddenly lost a lot of their money, perhaps even all of it. The problem was, the stock market had been growing before this, and many people thought that they should put as much money as possible into stocks. Some people took out mortgages on their houses, which meant that they didn’t own the houses anymore, but instead their banks owned the houses, and the people took the money the banks gave them and put it into the stock market. Other people took the money they had been saving for their future and put it into the stock market. When the stock market crashed, many people lost all their hope for the future. Other things happened to make life even worse. Many people lost their jobs and couldn’t find new ones, and many banks failed. People who had money in the bank lost all the money they had saved. It was a sad and hopeless time for many people.
When Jerusalem fell, it was also a sad and hopeless time. Jeremiah had warned King Zedekiah more than once that he should surrender to the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar, but Zedekiah was afraid to do that. He stayed inside the walls of Jerusalem until the Babylonian army broke through the walls, and then the king and his soldiers ran away and tried to escape. But soon the Babylonian army caught up with them and arrested Zedekiah and the leaders of the people who were with him, and brought them to Nebuchadnezzar. All the noble leaders of Jerusalem were killed, and all of Zedekiah’s sons were killed while he watched. This was a very cruel action, but Nebuchadnezzar’s purpose was to make Zedekiah understand that there would be no son to sit on the throne after him. Watching his sons die was one of the last things Zedekiah saw. Nebuchadnezzar put out his eyes and took him as a prisoner to Babylon. By making Zedekiah blind, Nebuchadnezzar intended to make him weak and helpless. Without his sons and his noble leaders, there was no hope that Zedekiah would be able to start a rebellion and regain his kingdom in the future.
We were also weak and helpless, prisoners of sin and death with no hope for the future. But God sent Jesus to be our Savior, and Jesus gave us a wonderful hope for the future. He died on the cross for us when we were helpless to save ourselves, and because of Jesus all our sins are forgiven and we have life forever with God. We don’t have to worry about the future, and not even about the judgment of God, because Jesus’ took God’s judgment on himself. Nothing will ever separate us from God’s love, now or ever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the great love you show us in Jesus, and for giving us a wonderful hope for our future with you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.