“During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god.” Daniel 1:1-2
For decades, the prophets had warned the rulers of Judah that their idolatry, immorality, and injustice toward the poor and needy would lead to the nation’s ruin. The prophets saw the day coming when God would bring the Babylonian army to destroy Jerusalem and the temple and take the people captive to Babylon. A century before the fall of Jerusalem, the prophet Isaiah had proclaimed this message, “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Listen to this message from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘The time is coming when everything in your palace—all the treasures stored up by your ancestors until now—will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 39:5-6) and Micah his contemporary shared the burden. “Writhe and groan like a woman in labor, you people of Jerusalem, for now you must leave this city to live in the open country. You will soon be sent in exile to distant Babylon. But the Lord will rescue you there; he will redeem you from the grip of your enemies.” (Micah 4:10) Jeremiah lived to see these prophecies, plus his own prophecies, all come true. God would rather have His people living in shameful captivity in a pagan land than living like pagans in the Holy Land and disgracing His name. There should be a lesson in this for us today. We cannot continue to see our nation continue in sin and God do nothing. There is coming a time of judgment.
The fall of Jerusalem looked like the triumph of the pagan gods over the true God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar burned the temple of God and even took the sacred furnishings and put them into the temple of his own god in Babylon. Later, Belshazzar would use some of those holy vessels to praise his own gods at a pagan feast, and God would judge him. No matter how you view the fall of Jerusalem, it looked like a victory for the idols; but it was actually a victory for the Lord. He kept His covenant with Israel and He fulfilled His promises.