A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. (Proverbs 14:16)
I have heard it said that insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. The nation of Judah exemplifies that notion, and I see the same pattern in our nation today.
Toward the end of the sixth century B.C., Judah rebelled against God and followed the gods of the pagan nations around them. Jeremiah prophesied during these final years of the nation and suffered severe persecution because of it. Judah knew the law of God and continued to practice the rituals, but their zeal was for the gods that are “no gods.” “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit” (Jeremiah 2:11).
The surrounding nations were faithful to their “gods,” yet Judah, who knew the true God, abandoned Him for the false gods. Not that God can be surprised by the actions of humans, but in human terms, their actions were perplexing. Despite numerous warnings and pleas, Judah refused to repent, until God finally had enough of their unfaithfulness. “How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses” (Jeremiah 5:7).
Johoiachin, a.k.a. Coniah,a.k.a. Jeconiah, a.k.a. Jechonias, reigned as the final king of the sovereign nation of Judah. He was the third wicked successor of good king Josiah. By the time of his reign, Judah plunged to the depths of her depravity. To him God instructed Jeremiah to “Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day” (Jeremiah 36:2, emphasis mine). God wanted to make clear the warnings He had given in the recent past. This book was the written Word of God. However, rather than heed God’s Word, Johoiachin discarded the Word of God as rubbish to be burned. “And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, [Jehoiachin] cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (Jeremiah 36:23). The other national leaders in the audience did no better. “Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words” (Jeremiah 36:24). As a result, God allowed the Babylonians to invade and conquer Judah and Jerusalem. This was the first time Nebuchadnezzar took away captives from Jerusalem. The prophet Daniel went into captivity at this time.
In many ways, Nebuchadnezzar showed kindness to Judah by installing Mattaniah, a.k.a. Zedekiah, as king to govern the conquered province. One might think that Judah learned her lesson. “But neither [Zedekiah], nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of the LORD, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah” (Jeremiah 37:2). “And [Zedekiah] did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done. For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon” (2 Kings 24:19-20).
Zedekiah was not alone in his rebellion against God. “Moreover all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place” (2 Chronicles 36:14-15, emphasis mine). One of those messengers through whom God showed compassion was Jeremiah. He suffered beatings and imprisonment for speaking God’s Word. Yet the people refused to listen. “But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16).
“And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about. And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah” (2 Kings 25:1-2). With Jerusalem under siege for more than two years, starvation and sickness plagued the city until they could not withstand the armies of Babylon. Jerusalem fell once again and Zedekiah and many others were taken captive for the second time. This time, Nebuchadnezzar was not so nice. He had Zedekiah’s sons killed as he watched and then had his eyes put out so that was the last thing Zedekiah saw.
Jerusalem and the Temple were burned and the Temple treasures were carried off to Babylon. Even with that, the people remained unrepentant until a third and final invasion took the last of the able-bodied.
Judah fell into a deep hole of depravity, but despite all of God’s pleading through His prophets, Judah just kept digging the hole deeper. It got to the point where God would not even entertain prayers on their behalf. God told Jeremiah to stop praying for these people.
As I contemplate the state of our nation, the USA, and compare it to Judah, I see a perfect parallel, except for one thing. The nation of Israel has the promise of God for her preservation; the USA does not. God gave us a great land, godly founders, and a constitution founded on the Word of God. Throughout the years, God has provided great “prophets” proclaiming the Word of God, and for most of our history, we have listened to those prophets. No more! We have, as a nation, cast aside and trampled the Word of God. We embrace wickedness and call it inclusion. We bow at the altar of Gaia and call it “the Green New Deal.” We celebrate infanticide and call it women’s rights. We idolize celebrities in all their different venues – movies, sports, and even religion – while those that preach and teach the true Word of God are held in contempt. We have dug a deep hole for ourselves, and we only keep digging it deeper. Stop digging!
When Solomon dedicated the first Temple, he prayed that God would bless it. God answered, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14); but that promise was for them. Many well-meaning pastors urge their people to pray for our nation and claim this promise in hopes that it will turn around. However, that promise was not made to the USA. If anything, I hear God saying, “pray no more for this people.” The hope for this nation, and the world in general, is for Christ’s return to establish His righteous kingdom on earth. Our prayer, then, should be, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
Jesus is coming soon. The signs for His appearing are increasing in intensity and frequency. Are you prepared to meet Him? If you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
 2 Kings 24:10-12; Jeremiah 36:29-30
 2 Kings 24:17; Jeremiah 37:1