Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah. It was a great city of commerce and trade. The temple and king’s house were both located in the city. During times of war people would seek refuge or safety within the fortified walls of Jerusalem.
When the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, came against Judah, he chose to build a siege wall against Jerusalem. A siege wall prevents anyone or anything from entering or leaving the city. This meant that Jerusalem was completely cut off from its food supply. When they heard that Babylon was coming, all the people from surrounding communities fled to Jerusalem for safety. Before the gates could be closed, the city quickly became overcrowded, leaving people to sleep in the streets. Although Jerusalem had its own internal water supply, the people were limited to whatever food they already had on hand. Any wood supply for cooking fires would have quickly disappeared, making it impossible to cook any grains or meat. Since they were unable to leave the city, the garbage probably started piling up in the streets causing an increased number of rodents and diseases.
While the people of Judah were struggling for survival within their own city gates, the Babylonian army was enjoying the opposite. They had fresh food and water every day. They rested well each night just waiting for Jerusalem to weak- en. It was almost a vacation for them. Their siege wall lasted eighteen months. By then, the people inside were not able to put up any kind of fight when Babylon finally broke down the walls of Jerusalem. Most of its occupants were carted off to Babylon as slaves.
The book of Lamentations records the cries of sorrow over the loss of Jerusalem. Lamentations 1:1 pretty much states it all: “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.”
God had offered the people of Israel an opportunity to be children of the Almighty King, but they chose to reject God’s offer and were now considered the least among people.
REVIEW: Last week we learned about King Jehoiakim’s disregard for God’s Word. The prophet Jeremiah wrote God’s message on a scroll and had it delivered to the officials. The message of judgment against Judah scared the officials, so they brought the scroll to the king. Instead of repenting and pleading for God’s forgiveness, Jehoiakim burned the scroll.
What did God say would be the result of Jehoiakim’s sin? He and his entire family would be removed from the royal line.
- Today’s passage names four different kings that reigned in Judah during a short period of time. What are the names of the four kings? Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.
- Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, and Jehoiachin were brothers. Their father was Josiah, the king who started a great reform in Judah after reading the scroll that was found in the temple. How does the Bible describe these last kings of Judah? they did what was evil in the eyes of the lord. Read Jeremiah 22:15–16. How does the Bible describe their father, King Josiah? “He did what was right and just so all went well with him.” In spite of their father’s example of walking in the ways of the Lord, his sons had to make their own choice of how they would live. The same is true for us. We may have parents that love God and teach us God’s ways, but we still have to choose for ourselves whether or not we are going to love God and walk in His ways. Having Christian parents does not automatically make us Christians. We must choose to either accept or reject Jesus. What choice have you made? If you have not chosen to accept Jesus, then you have chosen to reject Him. The good news is that you can change. Come to God and He will forgive you. see the Basics of salvation in the back of this guide.
- How does the Bible say that each of the last four kings lost their thrones? they were each defeated by another nation. the kings of egypt (neco) and Babylon (nebuchadnezzar) defeated the kings of Judah. In our Old Testa- ment study we have learned about the many kings of Israel and Judah. Although they were different men, and the events happened over hundreds of years, the outcomes were always the same. If the king chose to walk in the ways of the Lord, the country was protected against its enemies. The country even celebrated miraculous defeats against its enemies. On the other hand, if the king chose to do what was evil in the eyes of the Lord, the country was vulnerable to attack. The country even suffered defeat from nations that were weaker than Israel. What lesson does this teach us about how we choose to live our lives? When we give our lives over to sin, it will blind us to what is right; it will bind us so we are weak in fighting against what is wrong; it will make it easy to be caught by the enemy. When we sin against God, there will be consequences.
- Verses 15–16 of 2 Chronicles 36, tell us of God’s desire for His people to turn back to Him. We read that God sent messenger after messenger, but the people mocked, despised, and scoffed at His words. Reread verses 17–21. As you read the verses, think about how much God’s heart was breaking as the devastation was taking place. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “the lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New Testament. His desire is the same today as it was thousands of years ago; for all people to come to Him.
Recognize that you are unable to follow God by yourself; you need God’s power in your life to overcome evil.
Acknowledge God as your only means of salvation from sin. • Ask God to help you to be faithful to Him.
The nation of Judah got into a lot of trouble because of their sin. This game will help us to understand the seriousness of sin and its consequences.
supplies: blindfold, string long enough to tie hands together, one chair for each person Directions:
• Using the chairs, make a large circle in the middle of your room. If you don’t have enough room for chairs, have everyone sit in a circle on the floor. The chairs/people should be facing out.
• Go around the circle and whisper a number into the ear of each family member. Choose and announce one number to be “Judah.” Place a blindfold on “Judah’s” eyes and tie his or her hands.
Explain that this represents the bondage that Judah faced from the Babylonian king.
• After“Judah”inbound,call out another number to be the“enemy.” The“enemy”willnothaveanyblind folds or ties to restrict him or her.
• When you say “Go!” have the “enemy” chase “Judah” once around the circle of chairs. Be careful to remove obstacles. The object is for the enemy to catch and tag Judah. Judah must get around the circle and back into his seat before he is tagged. Obviously, Judah will be easily caught.
Use this game to illustrate how giving our lives over to sin will blind us, bind us, and make it easy to be caught by the enemy! When we disobey God, there will be consequences.