The Danger of Disobedience, 28 July 2019

The Danger of Disobedience
Series—All The King’s Choices
2 Kings 25:1-21

Big Idea:
Our actions have consequences, and disobedience can be dangerous…even deadly.

Every parent’s favorite verse can be found in the book of Ephesians, where Paul writes,

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (Ephesians 6:1)

Paul repeated the command when writing to the church in Colossi:

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

Of course, obedience is not only for children. Jesus said plainly,

“If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14:15)

Do you love Jesus? Prove it…by your obedience.

We’ve been looking at various kings in our series “All The King’s Choices.” Last week during our study of King Josiah, we noted

Humbly Obeying God’s Word is the true path to success and satisfaction.

God blessed the (few) good kings of Israel and Judah, but the fate of those who rejected God was quite different as we’ll see today. God warned them, as far back as Moses in Deuteronomy chapter 28. Quite simply,

Our actions have consequences, and disobedience can be dangerous…even deadly.

Before we look at today’s text, I want to set the scene for you. You may remember when God led the people into the Promised Land, he gave them occupancy on one condition: their obedience. As we have seen, most of the kings were evil, leading to their downfall. Nebuchadnezzar has come against Judah, the southern kingdom of the Jewish people. He invaded in 605 BC, taking more than 3000 captive including Daniel. Eleven years later, he took 832 captives back to Babylon. He takes Jehoiachin captive and in 2 Kings 24:17, we’re told of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon,

He made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah. (2 Kings 24:17)

Nebuchadnezzar was quite the king! He replaces one king with another and then changes his name. I can’t even imagine ruling over another king!

Do you remember good king Josiah from last Sunday? Zedekiah is the third and final son of Josiah’s to rule Judah, yet he was nothing like his godly father. Zedekiah reigned for ten years with self-interest, indecisiveness, brutality, and self-preservation which led him to form an alliance with Egypt to rebel against Babylon. Chapter 24 is filled with the evil ways of not only Zedekiah but Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin before him.

It was because of the LORD’S anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end he thrust them from his presence.

Now Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon. (2 Kings 24:20)

2 Kings chapter 25 begins in 586 BC.

So in the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, on the tenth day of the tenth month, 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. (2 Kings 25:1-2)

The details of the date show reveal the importance of this event. This is the beginning of the end for the holy city of Jerusalem.

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. (2 Kings 25:3)

It got so bad that parents ate their own children (Lamentations 2:20; 4:9-10)!

Then the city wall was broken through, and the whole army fled at night through the gate between the two walls near the king’s garden, though the Babylonians were surrounding the city. They fled toward the Arabah, but the Babylonian army pursued the king and overtook him in the plains of Jericho. All his soldiers were separated from him and scattered, and he was captured. (2 Kings 25:4-6a)

This scene seems so distant from the world in which we live. Of course, there are many wars raging around the world right now, but the warfare methods were obviously more primitive than the high tech battles of today. There was a wall around the city of Jerusalem—there is a newer one there today—and the wall was penetrated. The people were starving, the king and his army flee the city, the soldiers are scattered, and king Zedekiah is captured. It wasn’t enough that he rebelled against God…he revolted against King Nebuchadnezzar, his boss.

This is not a good day, yet it was avoidable. It was all the result of disobedience. In fact, Jeremiah predicted Jerusalem would fall, yet the people just hated the prophet for speaking the truth.

Our actions have consequences, and disobedience can be dangerous…

King Zedekiah is captured and then

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. (2 Kings 25:6b-7)

Can you imagine anything worse?

I’ve been told the hardest thing in the world is to lose a child. I know some of you have had that experience and my heart grieves for you.

This king not only loses a child, he loses his sons. Furthermore, they are killed in front of him. If that’s not bad enough, then they put out his eyes, bind him, and carry him to Babylon. The last thing Zedekiah ever saw was the execution of his sons!

One of the most common questions is why bad things happen to good people. There’s little wonder why bad things happen to bad people, or at least disobedience people. This invasion didn’t just happen. This was not an ordinary war. It was the result of rebellion and defiance against Almighty God by Zedekiah and most of his predecessors.

Sometimes people blame God for their pain and suffering, and in this case it would be justified. God allowed this catastrophe to happen, but it wasn’t because He was being mean. He was being just. His wrath is real because He hates sin. He despises disobedience. Is anybody listening? Clearly King Zedekiah wasn’t listening.

But there’s more!

On the seventh day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of 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. (2 Kings 25:8-9)

Again, we’re told the exact day, one which would live in infamy. The holy temple where the presence of God dwelled was destroyed by fire along with virtually every building in the city, including the king’s palace which stood for nearly 400 years.

I’ve read about the Great Chicago Fire and it was nothing like this! This wasn’t just any city. It wasn’t any temple. Jerusalem was leveled! False prophets said it could never happen, but they couldn’t have been more wrong.

On a side note, I wonder what God thinks of our nation. After all, our money says, “In God we trust,” but it seems like we trust money more than God. We are not Israel and the promises made to the Jews in the Old Testament do not apply to us, but it seems like God has been exceptionally merciful with our country. Some say it’s because we’re friends with Israel. Maybe it’s because there remains a remnant of USAmericans who
are obedient to God’s commands to love Him, love their neighbors as themselves, and make disciples. I’m not certain, but I do know no place is beyond God’s blessing or judgment. I’m reminded of Psalm 139:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. (Psalms 139:7-12)

This is comforting…for the one who is faithful to God. It is quite frightening for the one who is running from God.

The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem. Nebuzaradan the commander of the guard carried into exile the people who remained in the city, along with the rest of the populace and those who had deserted to the king of Babylon. But the commander left behind some of the poorest people of the land to work the vineyards and fields. (2 Kings 25:10-12)

Nearly every person is taken to Babylon. Only the poorest remained to maintain the land. We’re still not finished!

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. They also took away the pots, shovels, wick trimmers, dishes and all the bronze articles used in the temple service. The commander of the imperial guard took away the censers and sprinkling bowls—all that were made of pure gold or silver. (2 Kings 25:13-15)

These were sacred tools used for worship, removed before the temple was burned into a pile of rubble.

Jerusalem has been turned into rubble nearly thirty times throughout history. After each destruction, it is rebuilt upon the remains of the past cities. This is why archaeology is such a challenging task. Many ancient cities are buried twenty, thirty, or more than forty feet underground! There are actually cities on top of cities on top of cities!

The bronze from the two pillars, the Sea and the movable stands, which Solomon had made for the temple of the LORD, was more than could be weighed. Each pillar was eighteen cubits high. The bronze capital on top of one pillar was three cubits high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its network, was similar. (2 Kings 25:16-17)

There was so much copper they couldn’t weigh it! That’s incredible!

The commander of the guard took as prisoners Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank and the three doorkeepers. Of those still in the city, he took the officer in charge of the fighting men, and five royal advisers. He also took the secretary who was chief officer in charge of conscripting the people of the land and sixty of the conscripts who were found in the city. (2 Kings 25:18-19)

The religious, military, and government leaders are taken as prisoners, but it would get even worse!

Nebuzaradan the commander took them all and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah. There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed.

So Judah went into captivity, away from her land. (2 Kings 25:20-21)

There has rarely been a greater tragedy in the history of the world. And it was all the result of simple disobedience by the king and his subjects.

Our actions have consequences, and disobedience can be dangerous…even deadly.

I know you’re not a king. You probably wouldn’t be an evil king if you ever were to become a king or queen. This story happened thousands of years ago. How could this possibly be relevant to us in Toledo in 2019?

I’m glad you asked!

God never changes. He has always hated sin. He has always loved His children. He has always been omnipresent…everywhere at once. He has always been omnipotent…all-powerful. He has always been omniscient…all-knowing. He’s God!

Because we can’t see Him, sometimes we forget He’s here, with us, watching us. He’s not out to get us, but He does want us to get Him, to know Him, to obey Him, to love Him. He’s a good, good Father, but good fathers know they can’t let their kids run wild and do whatever they choose. They need guidance. They need discipline.

Whether it is an individual or a nation, He wants obedience. He knows what’s best for us. He can be trusted.

Countless research studies have shown most USAmericans believe in God, but what does that really mean? Satan believes in the existence of God (he used to work for Him), but he doesn’t trust God. He doesn’t follow God. He doesn’t humbly obey God.

Author Ruth Haley Barton (
Invitation to Silence and Solitude) gets to the point when she writes,

When it comes right down to it, many of us do not believe that God's intentions toward us are deeply good; instead we live in fear that that if we really trusted him, he might withhold something good from us.

Most of the kings of Israel and Judah rejected God, His wisdom, His commands, and His Word. They did so at their own peril.

I love you, church. I want what’s best for you. I want you to be successful. I want you to experience deep satisfaction. Lasting contentment will never come from your stock portfolio, car collection, job title, education, or even relationships. It only comes from loving God and loving others as we love ourselves. It comes from listening, reading, knowing, and obeying God’s Word. It comes from following Jesus…with our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The message today is simple:
obey God!

We’ve all sinned. We’ve all messed up. So repent, do a 180, get rid of the sin, flee from the enemy and run to Jesus. His arms are wide open. No shame. Don’t wait another day. The Almighty is a God of justice, but He’s also filled with grace. Zedekiah had many chances to repent and God would’ve extended mercy, but he refused to obey God and suffered terribly.

Last Sunday I was overjoyed when more than one person told me they’re sick and tired of their sin. They said enough is enough! I praise God for their courage and obedience, because

Our actions have consequences, and disobedience can be dangerous…even deadly.

Most of us have no idea how harmful sin is in our lives, and we’re usually clueless about how our sin affects others…usually the ones we love the most.

On the flip side,

“Obedience is the burial of the will and the resurrection of humility.” – John Climacus

Humbly Obeying God’s Word is the true path to success and satisfaction.

You can say all you want to about our president or governor, Baby Boomers or Generation Z, the rich or the poor, the bottom line is one day you and I will stand before Almighty God and be judged for how we lived this one, precious life we’ve been given. I know it’s old school, but trust and obey God. You’ll never regret it!

You can listen to this message and others at the First Alliance Church podcast here.