Read 2 Chronicles 36:11–14. What do these verses tell us about the last king of Judah before the final destruction of the nation? What spiritual principles of apostasy are revealed in these texts?
Zedekiah (also known as Mattaniah) took the throne at the age of 21, placed there by Nebuchadnezzar as a puppet king. Unfortunately, as the texts say, he hadn’t learned many lessons from what had gone before with previous kings, and as a result he brought even greater ruin to the nation.
Second Chronicles 36:14 states something very profound, a point that in many ways went to the heart of their apostasy. Amid the list of all the evil done under the reign of Zedekiah, it is said that Judah was following “all the abominations of the nations” (NKJV).
There they were, hundreds of years after the Exodus, hundreds of years as the covenant people who were to be a light and a beacon to the nations (Deut. 4:5–8), and yet they were still so caught up in the prevailing culture, so caught up in the cultural and religious environment of their neighbors, that they were doing “all the abominations” of the pagans.
Might there be a message there for us?
Read Jeremiah 38:14–18. What did the king ask him, and why?
The Lord had made it clear on numerous occasions that the nation was to submit to the rule of Babylon, that this conquest was punishment for their iniquity. Zedekiah, however, refused to listen, and he formed a military alliance against Nebuchadnezzar. The nation relied heavily on the hope of an Egyptian military victory. But Nebuchadnezzar was victorious over Pharaoh’s army in 597 b.c. This defeat permanently sealed the fate of Jerusalem and the nation. Despite so many opportunities to repent, to reform, to be revived, Judah refused.
We as a church have been raised up to proclaim a message to the world that no one else in the world is proclaiming. In many ways that is very similar to what Judah was to do. What lessons can and should we learn for ourselves from their mistakes?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q4 2015 «Jeremiah» Lesson 3 – The Last Five Kings of Israel