2 Kgs. 24:8-17; Ps. 79; Matt. 7:21-29
On Sunday, we heard from the prophet Jeremiah, who was called by God to warn of the impending doom of the Babylonian Exile to a people who did not want to listen. And during this week, we have been hearing the Exile unfold as it is recounted in the Second Book of Kings. Jeremiah, who came to be known by the message he proclaimed, namely, “terror on every side,” was preaching a message no one wanted to hear. It was as if the people were in denial and complacent, more interested in business as usual rather than being attentive to the Word of God. We heard this clearly today as Second Kings tells us that Jehoiachin did evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his forebears had done. We might even say the last four kings of Judah prior to the Exile were little more than vassals for Babylon and their pathetic rebellions we just excuses for Nebuchadnezzar to send his armies to crush them, the first stage of which was the destruction of the Temple—the religious center of the people. Today’s psalm is a lament of the destruction of Jerusalem: “O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple, they have laid Jerusalem in ruins.” Once the Temple was destroyed, the next stage of takeover was to capture the army and the craftsmen—basically, anyone who could resist. The last stage, then, will be the deportation of all the leaders, which we will hear about tomorrow.
I would like to draw a parallel between what we hear from Second Kings and what is going on in our country today. It is becoming more clear each day that an outside force has been working its way into our country for years. This force has been spreading its ideology through people in positions of power and influence. That ideology is Marxism, and it has been systematically unleashed on us for decades under the guise of Socialism, which today stares each of us in the face as Communism. This is a foreign idea, a foreign enemy, and while it comes to us from the outside, it wreaks its havoc on the inside, seeking to corrupt and destroy our nation from within. That includes the removal of cultural icons, religious icons, and yes, even God Himself. It begins with a revolution and ends with a total takeover. And while the last kings of Judah all revolted against Babylon, each of them were put in place by the king of Babylon. It was clear they were not serving the Lord, but rather another master on earth. Perhaps this was the evil they did in the sight of the Lord. They sold themselves, and their people, out for positions of power.
Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven.” In another place, he says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). And on Sunday he said, “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known” (Matt. 10:26). What we see unfolding in our country is the unveiling of a great monster, a Leviathan, with its tentacles spread across our land. But, despite this apparent reality, Jesus wants us to remain solid in our faith. Throughout the ages, God always leaves a remnant of believers in the land. Might we be the remnant of our age? And if so, our greatest defense against doom and destruction from an outside power is our faith, build on solid rock. The rain will fall, the wind will blow, the floods will come, but we will not collapse, because our faith has been set solidly on rock, it has been set on Christ. May the communion we share today, physically and spiritually, strengthen us in our faith, and may we all stand firm against error, beacons of light and truth in a world of darkness and error.
Given during the COVID-19 pandemic.