When The Chosen Are Delivered Over To Their Oppressors

The nation of Judah provides a meaningful example of how God deals with sin among His chosen people.  When Judah begins to be attacked by Babylon, the king puts forward this plea to Jeremiah:

The word came to Jeremiah from the LORD when King Zedekiah sent to him Pashhur son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah. They said: “Inquire now of the LORD for us because Nebuchadnezzarking of Babylon is attacking us. Perhaps the LORD will perform wonders for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us.”  — Jeremiah 21:1-2

Now, under normal circumstances we would expect to see God’s response be one of help and compassion.  But a different side of the Lord is now revealed to the people.

But Jeremiah answered them, “Tell Zedekiah, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians who are outside the wall besieging you. And I will gather them inside this city.  I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in anger and fury and great wrath.  I will strike down those who live in this city—both men and animals—and they will die of a terrible plague.  After that, declares the LORD, I will hand over Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague, sword and famine, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to their enemies who seek their lives. He will put them to the sword; he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.’ Jeremiah 21:3-7

Did the chosen people expect to hear their God say “I myself will fight against you”?  And that He would hand them over completely to their tormentors?  We know that God’s grace will be extended to them again after they have been in exile for a number of years, but it is interesting to note that He chooses to give them up for a time, in order to bring about their repentance.  Remember – this is the same, exact Lord that we serve today.  He hasn’t changed.  Unless our repentance is real and our hearts are turned to Him, He may choose to hand us over to tribulation for a while, as well.


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