Judah was in a state of victory and joy on one hand, but on the other hand they could not stop sinning and continued to commit sins with the enemy.
God had warned that if His people became faithless, He would send the pagan enemy after them and protect them no longer.
This all happened as a result of prophets speaking things falsely in the name of the Lord when it was not from Him.
God showed the prophet Jeremiah two baskets of figs. One basket was filled with good, first ripened figs and the other basket held figs that were disgusting and inedible.
God said that this was the condition of Judah. The cause of this ruin was largely because of their prophets.
Jeremiah 23:30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words everyone from his neighbor. V.31 Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.V.32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.
Now Judah (God’s people), were at a place where God could no longer bless them. They were led to the national prison called Babylon. They were held there by King Nebuchadnezzar at God’s command.
The purpose of this captivity was to separate Judah from the sin which they never truly broke away from. God also wanted them to separate from the words and works of the false prophets.
Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, and other holy, righteous prophets of God were also brought into this captivity in Babylon. These men of God did not run, but went right into the same captivity and condemnation as the sinners did.
They suffered with the righteous and unrighteous alike. However, it was to Ezekiel that God revealed his plan at the very end.
You see, the true prophets of God never reveal the problem without offering hope and clearly defined heavenly direction.
True prophets of God do not understand by imagination, but their pure lives reveal the burden of the Lord. True prophets are willing to die for their submission and they do not run or hide in the day of trouble.
Part of the difficult experience of the captivity of Judah was that they could remember how it used to be in Zion. They were told to sing and praise with the songs of healing like they did in Zion. They sat by the calm streams and rivers, but wept because all they had were memories.
Psalm 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. V.2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. V.3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. V.4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
In Zion, the songs were written and sang because of inspiration and praise to Almighty God, the deliverer. They were the songs of their own heart, filled with heavenly adoration. There was dancing, and shouts of jubilation overflowing with joy.
Now the same songs were like punishment to them. When Judah goes into captivity, their singing becomes like torrents of condemnation. Now the song becomes a requirement.
Judah just wanted to hang their harps on the willow trees next to the rivers. The Babylonian rivers and streams were a prison to Judah. They were diminished to an anguish so deep that singing was the last thing they wanted to do. Yet they required them to heal each other with the mirth of the songs of Zion.
Can we hear the weeping around the river and the memories of when singing healed? Seventy years of self-inflicted pain because they listened to the wrong voices.
This picture of Judah, God’s people, is so sad. But this can also be the condition of an individual who has listened to the wrong voice and has been carried away into captivity.
You might have listened to the voice of reason and it has contaminated you, placing you in captivity. The voice of reason often holds lies and portrayals of inaccuracies designed to bring you into offenses. It is intended to deceive, destroy, and kill the child of God.
Alas, God revealed His truth to the prophet and gave him the word: I will not always allow my people to be held in captivity. I will have mercy and forgiveness and grant them deliverance!
I will return to Jerusalem with my people and there I will be with the old and the young; the boys and girls will fill the streets playing together in safety!