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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 12 - THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM

INTRODUCTION: THE WEEK WE STUDY THE SIEGE AND FALL OF JER. IN 588
BC THE BABYLONIAN ARMY SURROUNDED JER AND LAID SIEGE TO IT. THIS
WENT ON FOR 2.5 YEARS UNTIL JER FELL. THE BABYLONIANS THEN BURNED
THE CITY, THE TEMPLE AND THE PALACE AND BROKE DOWN THE WALLS.

     SO LETS START OUT JUST AS THE BABYLONIANS ARRIVE.

I. INQUIRE OF THE LORD

     A. READ JER 21:1-2. ISN'T THIS GOOD NEWS? ISN'T THIS WAS JER
     HAS BEEN WANTING ALL ALONG? FOR THE KING TO LISTEN TO HIM
     INSTEAD OF THE FALSE PROPHETS?

          1. SO WHY THE CHANGE OF HEART FOR THE KING? (REMEMBER ONE
          TEST OF A PROPHET IS WHETHER WHAT HE SAYS COMES TRUE.
          WELL, OLD ZED COULD EVEN FIGURE THAT ONE OUT. INSTEAD OF
          THE BABYLONIANS BRINGING BACK THE TEMPLE VESSELS, THEY
          WERE OUT THERE IN FORCE CARRYING WEAPONS!)

          2. EGW SAYS THAT WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR EXCEPT THAT WE
          FORGET HOW GOD HAS LED US IN THE PAST. ISN'T ZED A REAL
          MAN OF FAITH HERE? HE SAYS I REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS DONE
          FOR HIS PEOPLE IN THE PAST, MAYBE HE WILL PERFORM A
          MIRACLE AGAIN FOR US?

               a. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT? (IF YOU HAVE BEEN 
               IGNORING GOD ALL YOUR LIFE, WHEN YOU GET INTO A JAM
               SOMETIMES TURNING TO GOD TOO LATE IS JUST TOO LATE. 
               *NOT SALVATION*)

     B. BEFORE ZED'S MESSENGER GOT TO JER GOD HAD ALREADY TOLD JER
     WHAT TO SAY TO ZED. THIS IS A LITTLE LONG, BUT WE NEED TO READ
     IT. READ JER 21:3-10

     C. WAS IT REALLY TOO LATE? WERE THERE ANY OPTIONS? (YES. TO
     SURRENDER.)
          1. THIS WAS WHAT JER HAD TOLD ZED TO DO ALL ALONG: TO 
          JUST GO ALONG WITH BABYLON.  

          2. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT ZED DIDN'T DO THAT NOW SINCE HE
          WAS LOOKING FOR JER'S ADVICE? (PRIDE. HE BELIEVED THAT HE
          MIGHT BE ABLE TO WIN. AND HE WAS GOING TO DO WHAT HE
          WANTED TO DO AND NOT WHAT GOD TOLD HIM TO DO EVEN NOW.
          egw suggest fear of scorn of the nobles.)

          3. THE BIBLE TELLS US IN JER 39:9 AND JER 38:19 THAT SOME
          PEOPLE FOLLOWED JER ADVICE AND SURRENDERED TO THE
          BABYLONIANS.

     D. DO YOU SEE ANY APPLICATION TO OUR LIVES TODAY? DO WE HAVE
     BABYLONS TO WHICH WE SHOULD SURRENDER?(THAT IF WE REBEL
     AGAINST THE LORD, AGAINST DISCIPLINE, WE CAN EXPECT TO SEE
     SOME TOUGH TIMES. BUT EVEN AT THE LAST MINUTE, IF WE ARE
     WILLING TO GIVE UP SELF, GOD IS WILLING TO WORK WITH US: EVEN
     THOUGH AT THAT POINT THE OUTCOME MAY NOT BE WHAT WE WANT.)

     E. LETS CONTINUE OUR STORY: READ JER 37:3-5.

          1. THE EGYPTIAN ARMY STARTS MOVING TOWARDS JUDAH. HOW 
          WOULD KING ZED REACT TO THAT? WOULD IT BRING HIM CLOSER
          TO THE LORD? (NO. THIS HAD BEEN A PROBLEM FOR SOME TIME.
          INSTEAD OF DEPENDING ON GOD, THE JEWISH LEADERS WERE
          DEPENDING ON EGYPT. (SEE REFERENCE TO THIS IN JER 2:36.)

          2. DO YOU SEE ANY IRONY IN JUDAH TURNING TOWARD EGYPT?
          (THE BOOK OF JER HAS TONS OF REFERENCES TO GOD SAYING,
          "I'M THE GOD WHO RESCUED YOU FROM EGYPT." SO WHY THEY
          WOULD TURN TO THEIR FORMER OPPRESSOR AND TAKE A CHANCE ON
          THAT AGAIN IS REALLY SOMETHING IN MY MIND.)

     F. READ JER 37:6-10. ZED HAD ASKED THAT JER PRAY TO GOD FOR
     THEM AND THIS IS THE MESSAGE GOD GIVES ZED.
          1. NOTICE IN v.10 THAT IT SAYS THAT IF THE ZED WERE TO
          DEFEAT THE BABYLONIAN ARMY THEY WOULD BURN JERUSALEM. 
          
          2. HOW CAN THAT BE?
          
          3. WHAT IS REALLY MEANT HERE? (THE RESULT IS ORDAINED BY
          GOD TO THE EXTENT THAT IF THERE WERE ONLY WOUNDED
          BABYLONIANS LEFT, THEY WOULD OVERCOME ZED.)
          
          4. WHAT IS THE SPRITUAL LESSON? (THE LESSON HAS A QUOTE
          THAT REALLY CAUGHT MY ATTENTION: "THOSE WHO FEAR GOD THE
          LEAST FEAR THEIR FELLOW HUMANS THE MOST."  THE POINT HERE
          IS THAT WHETHER THINGS LOOK GOOD (THE BABYLONIANS
          WITHDRAW OR THEY ARE ALL WOUNDED) OR BAD FROM A HUMAN
          POINT OF VIEW,  THE OUTCOME IS IN GOD'S HANDS.)

     G. LET ME SUMMARIZE THE NEXT FEW VERSES OF JER 37 AND 38. IN
     JER 37:12-21 JER IS ARRESTED ON THE FALSE CLAIM THAT HE IS
     DESERTING TO THE BABYLONIANS.  HE IS PUT IN AN UNDERGROUND
     DUNGEON, AND LATER WHEN ZED WANTS TO TALK TO HIM AGAIN, JER
     SAYS HE WILL DIE IF HE HAS TO REMAIN IN THE DUNGEON, SO HE IS
     ABLE TO TRANSFER TO A MORE BEARABLE PLACE, THE COURTYARD OF
     THE GUARD.
          IN JER 38:1-13 WE FIND THAT WHILE JER IS IN THE COURTYARD
     HE IS APPARENTLY TALKING WITH PEOPLE AND TELLING THEM WHAT IS
     GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE CITY. THE PRINCES DECIDE (WITH THE
     APPROVAL OF ZED) TO DUMP HIM IN A DRY, BUT MUDDY, WATER WELL.
     JER SINKS DOWN IN THE MUD. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT PREDICAMENT? 
     A PALACE OFFICIAL APPROACHES ZED AND ASKS PERMISSION TO PULL
     JER OUT. HE GETS THAT PERMISSION, PULLS JER OUT OF THE MUD AT
     THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL AND PUTS HIM BACK IN THE COURTYARD OF
     THE GUARD.

     H. LETS READ ON: JER 38:14-19. ONCE AGAIN ZED WANTS TO KNOW
     THE TRUTH AND ONCE AGAIN JER TELLS HIM THE TRUTH. 
          1. DOES ZED DO WHAT HE IS SUPPOSED TO DO? (NO)
          2. WHY NOT? (HE SAYS (v.19)THAT HE FEARS JEWISH
          DESERTERS.)
               a. WHY WOULD THEY BOTHER HIM? (THEY HAVE SEEN THE
               RESULTS OF HIS DISOBEDIANCE.)

               b. DOES THIS SEEM REDICULOUS TO YOU? (HE WAS MORE 
               AFRAID OF THESE DESERTERS THATN HE WAS AFRAID OF
               GOD.)

               c. WHAT KIND OF CHARACTER DOES THAT SHOW?
               (VACCILATING--AGAIN.)

     I. WE HAVE SEEN SEVERAL TIMES IN THIS LESSON THAT ZED WANTS TO
     HEAR WHAT JER HAS TO SAY, AND THEN DOES NOT OBEY. WHY DO YOU
     THINK THAT HE DID THAT?

          1. DO YOU KNOW PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT THEY WANT TO KNOW THE
          LORD'S WILL WHEN THE BIBLE MAKES HIS WILL CLEAR?
          
          2. OR PEOPLE WHO LOOK FOR A PASTOR WHO WILL AGREE WITH
          THEM THAT THE SIN THEY ARE INVOLVED IN IS "OK?"

          3. NOW, WHAT ABOUT US? DO YOU PRAY THAT GOD WILL GIVE YOU
          INSIGHT ON SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW IS SIN? (I HAVE A
          FRIEND WHO IS CLEARLY INVOLVED IN SIN AND HE IS ASKING
          WHAT GOD'S WILL IS. IT IS NOT TOO HARD (FOR ME) TO TELL
          THE LORD'S WILL IN HIS SITUATION.)

               

     J. THE EVIL CONSEQUENCES OF SIN ARE SELDOM LIMITED TO THE 
     PERPETRATOR. WHAT ELSE WAS HURT BECAUSE OF ZED'S COWARDESS AND
     WEAKNESS? (38:18 & 52:13-14, THE TEMPLE WAS BURNED. AND JUST
     ABOUT EVERYTHING ELSE.)

     K. THIS WAS SOLOMON'S TEMPLE. THAT FOR FOUR CENTURIES HAD BEEN
     ON MT. ZION.

II. NEXT WEEK: A NEW BOOK: LAMENTATIONS. STUDY IT FOR CAMP MEETING!