In the disastrous decision of the ungodly king who took Judah into 70 years of captivity we see the very influence that manipulates away from God, and into rationalism and atheism. Here are the ‘levers’ used by unbelieving society to keep us from God.
‘And King Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, reigned instead of Koniah, the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, made king in the land of Judah. But neither he, nor his servants, nor the people of the land, did hearken unto the words of the Lord, which he spake by the prophet Jeremiah.’
And our subject is ‘how atheism steals our hearts’ in these days. Now, the year of the events here, referred to in the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, occurred in 587 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar had sent a very large raiding force to Jerusalem and deposed the king of Judah and put in his place this man who he named Zedekiah. That was not his original name. He was a royal, but he was nowhere in line for the throne. Why he was selected isn’t said, but probably because he was a malleable person, not inevitably a person of evident strong character, somebody who may turn out to be rebellious. He was selected because he was intelligent. He was a royal of a kind, but also somebody who would make a good puppet king, because Jerusalem and Judah would now be subject entirely to the Babylonian Empire, to the Chaldeans, and in particular to the emperor Nebuchadnezzar.
So that was what took place. They’re now a subject nation, a subject state. And this nation, such as it was left, was in great disarray, because many of their noble people, their aristocracy (called in these passages ‘the princes’) really wanted to feather their nests and carry on as before. They wanted the nation to have liberty and be independent. That was not possible. The nation had sinned against God. God had withdrawn his hand of protection from them, and the Babylonians had taken over. And their best policy was to accept that, to be subject to that.