This post is dedicated to Joseph and Jennifer Fletcher, who serve Christ’s Kingdom faithfully. How much more shall He reward the Fletchers compared to Nebuchadnezzar?
“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will carry off Egypt’s wealth. He will loot and plunder the land as pay for his army. I (YHWH) have given to Nebuchadnezzar the riches of Egypt as a reward for his efforts, because he and his army worked for Me,’ declares the Sovereign Lord.” (Ezekiel 29:19-20)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the epitome of evil.
When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC, he captured Judah’s King Zedekiah and murdered the king’s male heirs to the throne of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, so the last thing the blind and deposed king of Judah would see in life was the murder of his male descendants (see II Kings 25:7).
King Nebuchadnezzar defined “breaking bad.” He was a bad man.
Yet, Nebuchadnezzar and all the wicked people on earth work for God.
The ancient metropolitan merchant city of Tyre was to the ancient people what New York City is to the modern world. In three chapters of the scroll of Ezekiel (see chapters 26-28), God promised to judge the king and people of Tyre because they felt they did not need the LORD. They had confidence in themselves and were PROUD of their Tyrian accomplishments. YHWH said to the king of Tyre and the people of Tyre:
“‘In the pride of your heart
you say, “I (King of Tyre) am EL (the Supreme God)” – Ezekiel 28:2
God used wicked king Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army to bring judgment on Tyre for their pride. God uses evil people to fulfill His plans of humbling the proud and exalting the humble.
History records that Nebuchadnezzar surrounded the fortress Phoenician city of Tyre and laid siege to it for thirteen years. But before Nebuchadnezzar could breach the fortress walls, the Tyrean king and people fled in ships. Nebuchadnezzar, possessing no navy, watched as the Tyreans sailed away with the city’s wealth on board their ships.
The herculean effort of the Babylonian army to conquer Tyre had “made the men bald (their helmets rubbed off their hair) and their shoulders raw (their armor had chaffed their skin) – Ezekiel 29:18.
After Tyre, the LORD had Nebuchadnezzar, and his wicked Babylonian army turned south toward Egypt (585 BC). In four chapters of the scroll of Ezekiel (chapters 29-32), God promises through Ezekiel to punish the seven nations that surrounded His people, including the nations of Tyre and Egypt.
History records that King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Egyptian army in 585 BC and scattered the Egyptian people, taking many with him back to the Babylonian captivity.
God sent Nebuchadnezzar to punish the people of Egypt for their self-confidence and pride.
The point I was to make is the astonishing statement in Ezekiel 29:20.
“I, the LORD, have given Nebuchadnezzar and his army the riches of Egypt because THEY WORK FOR ME” (Ezekiel 29:20).
It is astonishing how the LORD of the universe is concerned that the wicked are treated justly. The LORD sits on His throne and directs the nations to act on His behalf. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is no accident. It never took the LORD by surprise. All armies – even pagan ones under tyrannical leadership – report to YHWH of ARMIES. The LORD rewards the wicked for fulfilling His Divine purpose.
HOW MUCH MORE will GOD reward those who WORK FOR HIS KINGDOM,
“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,”
and all the things you worry about (food, shelter, clothing, etc…) will be GIVEN TO YOU.
If you ever find yourself fearful about tomorrow, concerned about a recent prognosis of poor health, or depressed because it seems like the odds are stacked against you, please remember pagan Nebuchadnezzar and his wicked army.
If God pays the wicked to do His work, how much more will He pay the righteous who love His Kingdom?
Relax. God’s got you in His hand of provision.
The just, compassionate, and gracious God will meet all the needs of the righteous who love His Kingdom.
If He does it for the wicked, He’ll do it for you.