2 Chronicles 36:15-16, 21
The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. 16But they mocked God's messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.
The LORD kept sending the prophets with warnings, because he had pity on His people. Judgment would come, but their receptivity to the word of God would have made a world of difference in their transition to captivity. Because they were so hard hearted, despising God's word and scoffing at His prophets, the conquest by Babylon was brutal. Young and old were slaughtered, and everything of value was taken. The temple was burned.
The harder we make our hearts, the more devastating the circumstances must be to wake us up and turn us back. They had faced humiliating defeats during the reign of the last four kings, but none of those defeats caused them to humble themselves before God and turn to Him. There was no remedy. God looked for another way, but there was none. Often people ask how God could have allowed a disaster to happen. In many cases, it is because there was no other remedy. Nothing less would turn people from the hardness of their heart.
Israel had ignored the law of Sabbath rest for many centuries. Every seventh year they were not supposed to plant, but just let what came up on its own be sufficient for them. If they had ignored this law for 490 years, then the land was due for 70 years of Sabbath rests. That is exactly what happened. The land had its rest, and the people had their humiliation and change of heart. Those who returned would become intolerant of idol worship and learn to possess a fear of disobeying God. The following devotions moves into the period of restoration, when the people were allowed to return and rebuild the temple. God was preparing them for a great redemption, the coming of the Messiah.
Prayer: Lord, help our country to turn to You before there is no remedy.
Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus' word, "Bring him unto me." Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, "Bring him unto me." O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, "Bring them unto me." When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician's words, "Bring them unto me." Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.
The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning's need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.