Jeremiah 52:27-30 (NIV)
27 There at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king had them executed. So Judah went into captivity, away from her land.
28 This is the number of the people Nebuchadnezzar carried into exile: in the seventh year, 3,023 Jews;
29 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year, 832 people from Jerusalem;
30 in his twenty-third year, 745 Jews taken into exile by Nebuzaradan the commander of the imperial guard. There were 4,600 people in all.
A nation that once numbered over two and a half million souls reduced to mere thousands. It is frightening to observe that a nation that once numbered into the million now has only a few thousand left. The word of our lord becomes ever clearer in the light of the captivity of Judah. “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Do you see the sheer weight of this? There was a day when a few million would claim to know God and worship God. They had made the trip to the temple for worship on certain festival days. They had offered sacrifices for their sin.
What was it that brought about the loss of over 75% of the population of Israel? For many, it was listening to the false prophets that promised a better life now. God was pleased with them even though they were living lives contrary to the nature and character of our great God. “Don’t worry. It will be ok. God does not judge or punish anyone.”
Lives were let to run wild and live to please their flesh without any concern for living for the glory and reputation of God.
Sin was now their mainstay, they could not live without running after and being consumed by their sin. Jeremiah shows up with the few true prophets to warn everyone of certain disaster if they continue to live this way. There were only a few that listened; the rest lost their lives to fall by the judgment of God.
There were a few that survived because they trusted in the word of Jeremiah and submitted to God’s discipline and lived. They not only lived but they thrived in the nation of discipline, Babylon.
Question, are you among the few or the many?