In the year 589 BC, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the walled city of Jerusalem, site of God’s Temple, and laid siege to it. In 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon burned the walled city of Jerusalem, site of God’s Temple, to the ground.
In between, as well as before and after, there was Jeremiah.
The people said and the priests said and the king and his officials said that they were the City of David, God’s Chosen, and they had God’s Temple. Their national pride firmly declared that nothing and no one could harm them.
Jeremiah and history and God disagreed.
Jeremiah said they must repent and surrender. No longer would God remove their punishment, but if they would do what they should have done in the first place, acknowledge their sins and confess their sins and turn from their sins, it might go a little better on them.
They had not, would not, and did not.
Instead, sometime between 589 and 587 this happened:
“Thus says the LORD: He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war, and live. 3 Thus says the LORD: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken.” 4 Then the officials said to the king, “Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm.” 5 King Zedekiah said, “Behold, he is in your hands, for the king can do nothing against you.” 6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” Jeremiah 38
The Faith of Jerusalem had, overtime, become nationalism. They believed that God would save them neither because of who He was or what they deserved, but because of who they thought THEY were. Because of what they though they deserved based on their own self identity.
They thought there could be no repercussions from the greed, idolatry, oppression of the poor and needy, and their irrational belief that the Throne of David some how made the King holy and untouchable.
They were fools. Nebuchadnezzar had just done the same thing not 10 years before, taking the king and putting another in his place. Being the children of Abraham had not saved the tribes in the North who were devoured by Assyria.
So no matter how the priest preached that God was always with them, no matter how much the King boasted of the blood of David, and no matter how much the people said they were loyal to God, none of it mattered. Not one word.
Pride does not save nations.
Identity does not save nations.
Talismans and totems and flags and buildings and bloodlines do not save nations.
God saves when His people confess their sins as individuals—and as a collective—and repent and seek Him, he will save nations.
Everyone keeps saying this is not America. This is unthinkable. This is unprecedented.
People have not been paying attention.
Babylon is at the wall.
Confess and repent, and it might go better.
And I will keep an eye out for cisterns.