In our study, we will look at a great man of prayer and examine the prophecies that were given to him concerning the end times. In this first chapter, we will get a little background on the man and his character.
"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god." NIV translation
Jehoiakim was a king that did not follow in the footsteps of his father who was a righteous ruler. Instead, he showed contempt for the word of God as was given by the prophet Jeremiah. Because of his lack of repentance, the Lord turned him and the city of Jerusalem over to the Babylonians. With the victory came spoils from the fallen city which were taken back to Babylon.
"Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility - young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians." NIV translation
Along with other treasures was taken the best and the brightest of the children from the royalty of Judah. The purpose was to teach them to serve as slaves in the palace.
This was a matter of pride in that, when people visited the king, they would see that the best and the brightest of Israel were brought down to the level of slavery by King Nebuchadnezzar.
"The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service." NIV translation
As we remember, the number three is associated with the display of God's will here on the earth. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to train them for three years and then show them off like trophies. We may ask ourselves why God would allow His children to be treated like this. The simple fact of the matter is that He has a bigger plan and this is all a part of His will. We can remember this as we face the challenges in our lives and hold onto the fact that God is in control and His will is going to be done both here on the earth and in heaven.