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  • Eric Kampmann

The People Would Not Listen

See Lamentations 2:11

In 586 B.C., the fierce and powerful armies of Nebuchadnezzar finally overwhelmed the defenders of the city of David. Those who were not slaughtered immediately were led away in chains to live in exile in Babylon. A small and poor remnant was left behind, but the magnificent temple built by King Solomon was reduced to rubble.

The tragedy was not inevitable, however. The leaders and people of Jerusalem had heard the prophetic messages of Jeremiah and others, but they stubbornly disregarded God’s warnings and continued to adhere to their own misguided and treacherous ways. Speaking through Jeremiah, the Lord says, “There is a conspiracy among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. They have returned to the sins of their forefathers, who refused to listen to my words. They have followed other gods to serve them. Both the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken the covenant I made with their forefathers” (Jeremiah 11:9–10).

Tragically, the people of Jerusalem rejected the warning of their prophets who warned them against abandoning the God of their forefathers. They threatened Jeremiah with death if he continued to prophesy in the name of the Lord (Jeremiah 11:21).

If Jerusalem, or any other city or nation, abandons God, what are we to expect? God provided many clear warnings leading up to the final disaster, including this warning to Moses right before he died: “These people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. . . . I will certainly hide my face on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other gods” (Deuteronomy 31:16, 18).

–Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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