2 Chronicles 36:15-16, 21—And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years.
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 be intolerant of idol worship and possess a fear of disobeying God. The following devotions now move into the period of restoration, when the people were allowed to return and build the temple again. God was preparing them for a great redemption, the coming of the Messiah.