Babylon has served its purpose and is set for utter destruction. It is time she pays for her zeal in destroying Judah and Jerusalem. God is STILL watching over His people.
Babylon was not just going to be conquered but would be utterly destroyed. We know from studying history that this is exactly what happened. But why?
God was the one who used Babylon to judge the nations. He gave Nebuchadnezzar one victory after another after another. He ensured that none could stand against them. But Nebuchadnezzar was MORE than grateful for the successes. BUT he laid ALL that he had become down at the altar of HIS gods. Nebuchadnezzar was also so arrogant in his conquest that he went a too far. HE came into the house of the Lord and DESTROYED it.
Nebuchadnezzar did NOT serve the Lord. He had his own gods that he served. And he attributed his successes to his gods. In the book of Daniel we will see that Nebuchadnezzar respects Daniel’s God but he doesn’t turn from his own gods to the Lord. Laying his successes at the feet of his gods was a BIG disrespect to the Lord.
Another reason why Nebuchadnezzar brought the anger of the Lord down on himself and his nation was their over zealous treatment of Judah and the destruction of God’s temple. God KNEW they were going to burn the city to the ground. He also KNEW they were going to destroy His Temple. But they took great pleasure in doing as MUCH damage as humanly possible. Stripping the gold (what was left), pilfering the treasuries, and utterly demolishing the structure itself. I have no doubt that they cheered as all the artistry and beauty in the Temple came tumbling to the ground. And I have no doubt that they attributed this victory to their gods too. “Our god have conquered Judah’s! How the mighty have fallen.”
This reminds me of another time when God was ‘unhoused’ from His people and other gods given credit for that victory. When the Ark of the Covenant was taken by the Philistines, they gave the credit to their god, Dagon. They even placed the Ark in Dagon’s temple. He fell on his face before the Ark! The Ark caused so much trouble that the Philistines sent it home with gifts, HOPING that doing so would end their troubles.
There is NO WAY Nebuchadnezzar didn’t know about Israel’s God. I have a hard time convincing myself that he didn’t realize where his true victories were coming from; especially after some of God’s prophets made it know IN HIS OWN LAND. In fact, we see one such instance of God’s words being proclaimed in the land of Nebuchadnezzar. Only four years into Israel’s full captivity, Neriah read ALL the words of God through Jeremiah to those in Babylon. Mind you, this wasn’t just the last two chapters we have read. It was a WHOLE BOOK that was read to them. ALL the words of their futures. And it ended with an object lesson like Jeremiah was so famous for. SO like God to do that!
From Nebuchadnezzar we can learn two important things:
1. When someone falls, DON’T gloat and make yourself feel big. Nebuchadnezzar took pleasure in killing Zedekiah’s sons in front of him and then gouging out his eyes. And in demolishing Jerusalem and the Temple.
2. Don’t give credit for what God does to ANYTHING else; including yourself. GOD won the battles. He just brought Nebuchadnezzar ‘along for the ride’.
Father God, keep me always mindful of these two lessons too. I have been known to ‘lean hard’ on the boundaries of them too. I think the hardest person to do this with was “Broomhilda”; deceased co-grandparent who made my, my son’s, and his wife’s lives miserable for a LONG time. Thank You for the times when You inspired compassion during the ordeal, even though I didn’t get to show it because she would do something evil just as I was about to do something nice. THANK YOU for protecting me during all that time! And the rest of those involved. You didn’t let her ‘emperor’ complex win.
Keep my heart sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. Let me meet the needs I can, through You, and be satisfied to put the others back into Your hands to meet through others. Make me an instrument of Your peace. The absolute opposite of Nebuchadnezzar.