2 Kings 24:18-25:7 – Our Addiction to Pride Can Blind Us

Posted: October 22, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 24:18-25:7

Zedekiah’s Reign Comes to an End

This passage is sanitized version of what happened at the end of the reign of Zedekiah, the last ruler of what had been the nation of Judah. From other Old Testament books, we know that during the siege there was famine in the land at the same time. It was during this time that people were literally starving to death in Jerusalem. There is even mention of cannibalism during the siege. The beautiful city of Jerusalem was now the scene of unimaginable pain, sorrow and privation. Much of the pain and sorrow could have been avoided if Zedekiah had willingly surrendered to the Babylonian king. The destruction of Jerusalem was inevitable because of this final rebellion by Zedekiah. The hope for an independent nation of Judah was now just a memory. It had all come crumbling down because of the stubbornness of the people and particularly Judah’s kings. They had become consumed with their self-seeking and idol worship. They had ignored God and his counsel concerning their behavior and its effect on their future.

It reminds us in the modern day of how we can be blinded by pride and become consumed by it. It will become more important than God, than family, than friends. Pride like an addiction to drugs will cause us to lie, cheat, steal, and use people to get what they want and need. In this passage, we see that Zedekiah became so consumed with his own pride that he was willing to allow the siege to continue far longer than it should have. He did not care as long as he was king – even if it was king of nothing. Often those with addictions to pride will trample over the feelings of others just so they can get what they want. Pride makes people very self-centered. Pride causes people to view everyone and everything in their life through the portal of what it can do for them and their ability to feed their own desires.

Here, we are not told why Zedekiah rebelled against the Babylonian king, but it probably had to do with pride and not wanting to be subject the rules of a foreign king – even though Judah was so weak that it could not rid itself of Babylon. The circumstances of the internal decay and giving away the nation’s treasury to foreign kings to maintain some semblance of independence had crushed any ability for Judah to be strong again. But yet Zedekiah rebelled. Even though he would have been better served to just do what Nebuchadnezzar told him to do, he could have continued to live a life of some semblance of being king. But pride got in the way. He was addicted to his own pride of who he was. He wanted to control his own destiny to continue living as he wanted to live – even if it flew in the face of reason. Just submitting to those in authority of you could have spared him his humiliation and eventual death in captivity and spared his people starvation. However, pride was so all consuming that it blinded him to the realities of life.

Have you ever been so blinded by something, addiction, pride, self-seeking, etc. that it caused you to make decisions that are detrimental to you and possibly others? That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through this passage, 2 Kings 24:18-25:7. When we become consumed in self-centered activities, we drift away from God and make our own desires the god of our lives. When we leave God out of our lives, we make what we want more important that realities of life, relationships with others, and so on. With that in mind, let’s read this passage now:

18 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years. His mother was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah from Libnah. 19 But Zedekiah did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, just as Jehoiakim had done. 20 These things happened because of the Lord’s anger against the people of Jerusalem and Judah, until he finally banished them from his presence and sent them into exile. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

Chapter 25

1 So on January 15, during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls. 2 Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign.

3 By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign, the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone. 4 Then a section of the city wall was broken down. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians, the soldiers waited for nightfall and escaped[d] through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley.

5 But the Babylonian troops chased the king and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered. 6 They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah. 7 They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.

In this passage, we see that Zedekiah’s eyes were gouged out. One can only assume that this act was highly painful and humiliating all at once. Blinding was a common punishment for rebellious captives in the ancient Near East (see Ezekiel 12:13). Zedekiah ignored the counsel of Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 38:14–28). Jeremiah had urged the king to surrender to Babylon because the Lord’s judgment was inevitable. Through a peaceful surrender, Jerusalem could be spared destruction. Zedekiah’s stubborn resistance brought only horrible results for both his family and the people. Zedekiah himself died in Babylon (see Jeremiah 52:11).

When we become addicted to our own desires it pushes God to the side and makes us see people as pawns in our game of self-determination. When we become addicted to our own desires, it blinds us often to the realities of life. It blinds us to what is good for us in the long run as long as we are getting what we want in the short term. It is only through submitting to God that we realize that the world is not solely about us and what we want. We finally see ourselves for what we really are – sinners who use people to get what we want without remorse or care.

Even though the people have been exiled and the land has been lost, God’s spokesmen continue to preach and write to the remnant of Israel. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel all have important messages to give to the people of God. The destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC is the end of an era, but it is not the end of God’s plan for Israel and the rest of the world. It is a reminder that even though we can destroy our lives at times through our own pride, our own addictions to self-centered activities, we can be redeemed by repenting of our sinful behavior before God, asking for forgiveness, and believing in Jesus Christ as the Lord over our lives. He can redeem even the most utterly destroyed life and making it into something beautiful and useful to the kingdom of God.

Amen and Amen.

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