Three Views of History

Today's Bible reading: 2 Kings 25:1-21

Dark clouds of disaster had been gathering over Judah long before it was finally conquered by the Babylonian empire.  From King Josiah's death - in 609 BC - to the fall of Jerusalem - in 587 - the people of the small southern kingdom lived under the constant threat of invasion … and there are three historical views about the situation that I would like to share with you.

First – a student of secular history might well claim that Judah’s days as an independent kingdom were numbered because of the inevitable shifts and changes in history.  Nations rise … nations fall.  It is all part of the cycle in which military and economic power are the vital factors – just as they are today.  For a time it was Assyria’s turn to occupy center-stage in the history of the ancient world … followed soon upon by Babylon.

There were some in Jerusalem - in those last dark days - who had another view of history.  They reassure themselves and the people with the reminder that the holy temple was in Jerusalem – and God would not allow His own house to be destroyed.  No, the worship of God and the continual sacrifices in the temple meant that God would preserve both temple and nation.  Even after the deportation of King Jehoiakim and 10,000 of his subjects, the false prophet Hananiah could confront Jeremiah in the temple with the words: “God has already broken the yoke which the King of Babylon has placed on the exiles’ neck.

There is also a third view of these events, found in 2 Kings 24 and 25 … but especially in the book of Jeremiah.  Here we see that more than international politics was involved in Israel's fall.  It was a divine punishment for sin.

Prayer: Great Physician of body and soul, remedy our faults and grant us willing hearts to believe Your Word.  Rule among us by your Word and Sacraments, that we might be Your own and live under you and peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.