Burning the City


In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem. And Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive some of the poorest of the people and the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the artisans. But Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen. Jeremiah 52:12-16 ESV

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:1-2 ESV


On September 11, 2001, a terrible things happened to the United States. Enemies of the United States got on some airplane flights and took over the planes. They flew two of the planes into the World Trade Center in New York, causing its towers to explode into flames and collapse, while many people died. A third plane crashed into the U. S. Pentagon, the headquarters of the American military. There was some serious damage to the building and some people died there, as well. A fourth plane was probably going to crash into the White House, where the President of the United States lives, but some people on the plane were able to stop it, although the plane crashed and all its people died. It was a horrifying day for the American people and for their friends around the world. The enemies of the country were attacking the big buildings representing American power in money, the military, and the government. We don’t know why God let such a terrible thing happen. He doesn’t always give us all the answers.

When the Babylonian army broke through the walls of Jerusalem, the soldiers burned down all the great houses of the city. They burned the palace of the king, and the temple of the Lord, and all the houses of the great and rich people of the city. This was their way of destroying all the buildings that stood for the power of Jerusalem and of the kingdom. The people were almost all taken into exile to Babylon. Some years earlier the rightful king and the noble people had been taken, but now the rest of the people, even the poor people who had been left alone the first time, were taken away from their homes. Only a very few of the poorest people were left to work the land around the ruined city. God had warned the people again and again that his judgment was going to fall on his people because they had turned away from him.

Any time something terrible happens, it’s a warning of God’s judgment against sin. That doesn’t mean that every disaster that happens is a punishment for some particular sin, but it does mean that people who respect God and want to walk in his ways should take the warning. No disaster will ever be as great as the final judgment to come, when the Lord brings the whole world to an end. Other disasters remind us to turn from our sins and to turn to God. We know that we can turn to God every day for the forgiveness of our sins, because Jesus took all of God’s judgment onto himself when he died on the cross. We don’t have to fear any disaster in this world, and we don’t need to be afraid of the final judgment, because we have God’s complete forgiveness in Jesus. We can be sure that because of Jesus, even the most terrible disaster will never separate us from God’s love.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus, our Savior, to save us from your judgment. Please forgive our sins and keep us close to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.