When God Takes His Hands Off

So in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign . . . Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army.  He encamped outside the city and built siege works all around it. The city was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.
By the ninth day of the fourth month the famine in the city had become so severe that there was no food for the people to eat. Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night . . . but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho.  . . . and he was captured.
He was taken to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where sentence was pronounced on him. They killed the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes. Then they put out his eyes, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.
. . . Nebuzaradan, commander of the imperial guard, an official of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the temple of the LORD, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem.  . . . Every important building he burned down . . . [and] broke down the walls around Jerusalem.
Nebuzaradan . . . carried into exile the people who remained in the city . . .  But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards . . . The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars, the movable stands and the bronze Sea that were at the temple of the LORD and they carried the bronze to Babylon.  2 Kings 25:1-13

The picture is clear: Life without God is a hopeless end! We might appear to be prospering without God's involvement in our lives but, in the end, it all comes crashing down.That is what happened to God's people, Israel.

God brought His people out of Egypt with an incredible display of divine power. He supernaturally rained down manna for them and even gave them quails to eat when they were craving for meat in the desert. God parted the Red Sea, parted the Jordan, caused the walls of Jericho to tumble down and even caused the Sun and the Moon to stand still just so that the Israelites could defeat their enemies and possess the Promised Land. 

God had a covenant relationship with Israel: Israel was to serve God alone and no other god besides Him. They were His chosen people and they were expected to keep His commands and be a model nation for the people around them. But repeatedly, Israel rejected God and became obsessed with the worship of other gods. Things were so terrible that even the temple of God was desecrated by the building of images of other gods within the temple. All the warnings God gave to His children fell on deaf ears.

In keeping with the terms of the covenant, God took His hands off and allowed Israel to be destroyed by her enemies. Their land was invaded; their king was captured; the walls of Jerusalem were torn down and the people were marched off into exile!

There is a rather sobering lesson here which we mostly do not want to hear or even be reminded of: God is both a God of grace and a God of judgment. He is compassionate but He definitely moves in the fullness of time to bring severe judgment. We can never presume on the grace of God, turn our backs on Him, reject His word and expect Him to be all smiles all the time. It is never a pleasant thing when God takes His hands off as He did with Israel. 

May we be so full of love for God that our relationship will be one of a healthy fear of who He is and not live to grieve Him. Let's not push the Spirit of God away from us but rather live to delight continually in His presence. May we not push His hand away but rather draw Him closer.

Prayer: Father, I thank you for the deep love and grace you have for me. Please help me to live in a healthy fear of you so that your hand and Presence will be with me at all times. Amen.