The Scriptorium

The End of Jerusalem

Just as Jeremiah had prophesied. Jeremiah 52.12-16

Jeremiah Envoi: Jeremiah 52 (3)

Pray Psalm 79.
O God, the nations have come into Your inheritance;
Your holy temple they have defiled;
They have laid Jerusalem in heaps.
The dead bodies of Your servants
They have given as food for the birds of the heavens,
The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth.
Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem,
And there was no one to bury them.
We have become a reproach to our neighbors,
A scorn and derision to those who are around us.
How long, LORD?
Will You be angry forever?
Will Your jealousy burn like fire?

Sing Psalm 79.1-5
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
O God the nations all Your inheritance have spoiled!
Your City have they ruined, Your temple they have soiled!
Your servants’ bodies all to the birds of heav’n are thrown;
the flesh of all Your faithful the jaws of beasts now own.

The blood of faithful servants like water flows around;
and none are there Your saints to commit into the ground.
Our neighbors mock and scorn us: How long, O Lord, how long?
How long will You be angry and scorn our mournful song?

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 52.12-16.

Prepare.
1. What did Nebuzaradan do to Jerusalem?

2. What happened to the people who were there?

Meditate.
As far back as the days of King Solomon, prophets like Asaph (Psalm 79) could see what the outcome would be when the hearts of God’s people turned from Him to idols. Jeremiah repeatedly warned the kings of Judah, from Josiah to Zedekiah, that God would destroy their city if they did not repent. Then, in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the unthinkable came to pass.

Once the wall was breached and the Babylonians entered the city, Jerusalem’s destruction was certain. The Chaldeans burned the king’s palace and all the other houses in Jerusalem (v. 13). The Babylonian army broke down the walls of Jerusalem, burning and shattering them into rubble (v. 14). Then began the long trek back to Babylon with captives in tow (v. 15). A small remnant of the poor was left in Judah (v. 16) to work the land as vinedressers and farmers. Chaldean overseers would make sure that a hefty part of whatever crops they managed to harvest would be sent to the king of Babylon.

The people of Judah and Jerusalem had chosen not to hear or heed the Word of God. They still went through the motions of worshiping Him, but their hearts were devoted to foreign deities and material comfort. But God had called them into being. God had redeemed them. God had kept them and given them their city, their temple, and their king. And if they would not serve Him, He would take back all His lavish gifts until they came to their senses and returned to their Lord and God.

And that would take seventy long years. Whatever gifts and blessings God has given us as His people, He is able to take back if we refuse to hear and follow His Word. Paul reminds us that these Old Testament stories were “written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scripture might have hope” (Rom. 15.4). But if we look for learning, patience, or comfort anywhere other than in God and His Word, we will be sorely disappointed.

Reflect.
1. Why was it necessary for God to destroy Jerusalem?

2. What are we supposed to learn from this sad incident in Israel’s history?

3. How can believers encourage one another to be constant and faithful in the Lord?

The entire city of Jerusalem was burned, from the temple to the royal palace to the houses. The city walls were demolished. Leading citizens and some of the poor were deported under Nebuzaradan’s command, leaving only a remnant of peasant farmers to work the fields, vineyards, and orchards. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), Commentary on Jeremiah 52.13-16 NKJV Study Bible Notes

Keep me faithful to Your Word, O Lord, as I…

Pray Psalm 79.6-13.

Pray that God will call His people to repentance, that He will revive and renew us, and that He will send us forth to live and proclaim the Name of Jesus to all the world.

Sing Psalm 79.6-13.
Psalm 79.6-13 (Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Pour out, O Lord, Your wrath on all who deny Your Name;
Who trust You not nor seek You, bring down to deepest shame!
For they have with great rancor Your precious saints devoured;
Lay waste their habitation at this late dreadful hour.

Why should the nations mock and say, “Where now is their God?”
Let there be known among them harsh vengeance for our blood!
Hear, Lord, our groans and sighing; preserve us by Your pow’r.
For we are fairly dying each day and hour by hour.

Reproach those who reproach us with judgment sevenfold!
Let thanks and praise to You by Your precious flock be told.
We are Your sheep, O Savior, we thank You all our days.
Look on us with Your favor as we declare Your praise.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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