READING: 2 Kings 24-25, John 13:1-20
The scene must have been agonizing. From the days of David’s kingdom to the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the fall was great. The captain of the Babylonian king’s guard entered the city, “burned the Lord’s temple, the king’s palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem; he burned down all the great houses” (2 Kgs 25:9). Furthermore, “the whole Chaldean army with the captain of the guards tore down the walls surrounding Jerusalem” (2 Kgs 25:10). With the exception of the poorest left to farm the land, the enemies of God’s people deported them from the holy city. They took not only the people, but also the temple items made of precious metals.
God’s judgment had fallen on His people. He had warned them through His prophets, and now He would keep His word against His unrepentant people. The summary statement within this chapter is indeed stark: “So Judah went into exile from its land” (2 Kgs 25:20).
I cannot help but think today about God’s command for us to be holy because He is holy (1 Pet 1:15-16). He who created us in His image has a right to give us the ground rules, and we choose to disobey Him at our own peril. At the same time, though, He sent Christ to die for us so we would not remain exiled from Him forever. He loves us and draws us to Him out of our disobedience. That’s a gift we do not deserve!
PRAYER: “God, help me not to take for granted both Your holiness and Your grace.”
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Chronicles 1, John 13:21-38