It is amazing, that even after the first two sets of captives were taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, that the LORD desired the remnant who was left to remain in Jerusalem, to build houses, and till fields, and dwell there. He did not desire the destruction of the city or the temple, nor did He desire the captivity of His people. He did not desire the cessation of the son of David as king on the throne of Jerusalem.
But even after a partial destruction had come upon them, He encouraged them through Jeremiah the prophet, what they needed to do to remain in their land and avoid anything worse coming upon them.
The battle that Jeremiah was fighting, was being believed that he was speaking the word of the LORD, when other prophets abounded who spoke something opposite. Who then do the king and the people believe? The LORD helped them, by saying, “Thus and so prophet is a false prophet, and to prove that I did not send him, he will die this year,” or, “He will be arrested by the king of Babylon.”
But sometimes, it can be hard for us to believe that the LORD could have decreed what seems like calamity to us, from our perspective, such as serving the king of Babylon. It can be hard for us to believe that the LORD would say, the one who rebels against the king of Babylon is rebelling against the LORD.
The king of Babylon was appointed for them as the instrument of the LORD’s correction, because they would not be corrected any other way, either by Torah or by prophet. Even at this late date, there were prophets (a representative of the LORD’s authority in Israel, with fathers, priests, judges, and kings) who were in adultery with their neighbor’s wives (Jer 29:23)! So of course, repentance had not yet taken place!
And yet, the purpose of the calamity is for correction, not destruction. When we have learned repentance, when we have learned to submit our necks to the LORD and not rebel, His word to us is:
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jer 29:11-13