"And now I have given all these lands
into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar
the king of Babylon, MY SERVANT;
and the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him.
And it shall be, that the nation and kingdom
which will not serve Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon,
and which will not put its neck
under the yoke of the king of Babylon,
that nation I will punish, says the Lord,
with the sword, the famine, and the pestilence,
until I have consumed them by his hand."
The whole point of this chapter is to point out that when God brings judgment upon a person or a nation, they are not to resist it. After many prior warnings and their refusal to repent, God raised up Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to be a fierce king who would come and destroy the temple and the city of Jerusalem, and who would take all the gold and silver vessels from the temple and bring them to Babylon. Note the words, "Nebuchadnezzar ...MY SERVANT." This was an unsaved gentile king, a man who conquered many lands through great violence, yet the Scriptures tell us that it was God himself who raised him up to bring judgment on unrepentant Israel.
"I also spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah
according to all these words, saying,
'Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon,
and serve him and his people, and live!'"
The Scripture shows that those who would accept it and submit to it, will live. Their lives depended on it.
In the runup to this story, the false prophets in Israel were prophesying what the people wanted to hear, namely that they are the chosen people to whom God had given many victories in the past, and that they would defeat this king also. They hated Jeremiah who was contradicting them and prophesying that Nebuchadneazzar surely WILL destroy their city and take them captive to Babylon.
"Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets
who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’
for they prophesy a lie to you,' for I have not sent them, says the Lord..."
When judgment comes, when the law of sowing and reaping brings judgment, do not resist it. When God allows a trial in your life to purge you, do not resist it. If you surrender to God and acknowledge that his judgments are righteous, you will receive mercy - not that the judgment will be stopped, but that the Lord will walk with you THROUGH it and grant you mercy. If you resist it and fight it, you're fighting God.
"...yes, thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel,
concerning the vessels that remain in the house of the Lord,
and in the house of the king of Judah and of Jerusalem:
They shall be carried to Babylon, and there they shall be
UNTIL the day that I visit them, says the Lord.
THEN I will bring them up and restore them to this place."
Judgments have to run their course. In the case of Israel losing Jerusalem and being taken to Babylon, Scripture foretold that this judgment would last 70 years, and that afterwards God would bring them back to their land and they would then rebuild their city Jerusalem, and he did exactly that. But the judgment was not ABLE to be removed one single day before it. They had to stay there 70 years. Period.
This is a hard word, but a true one. Not all bad things that come upon us are judgments from the Lord, but many times they are, and we are to seek the Lord in each case and ask him to show us whether to resist in the name of Jesus, or to surrender to a judgment or a trial that he is putting upon us.
If anyone tells you that God does not judge believers, that is a lie. God allows the consequences of our sins. And many times it is he who is inflicting it - for a purpose. It's not an act of anger in the life of a believer, it is an act of love. As a good father he is saying, "I love you too much to leave you like this."
"For whom the Lord loves he chastens,
and scourges every son whom he receives."
"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God;
and if it begins with us first, what will be the end
of those who do not obey the gospel of God?"
1 Peter 4:17