Jeremiah 51:41-64 – Escape the Disgrace

Read Jeremiah 51:41-64

God’s explanation of “why” the Babylonian empire must fall was simple. “Just as Babylon killed the people of Israel and others throughout the world, so must her people be killed.” This is one common picture of justice, known as retributive justice. “For the Lord is a God who gives just punishment; he always repays in full.”

What surprised me was that long before Babylon’s destruction, roughly seventy-seven years, Jeremiah sent messages to Babylon about its own demise at the hands of God. What a bold move! Notice Jeremiah used someone else to deliver this message from God to Babylon. Imagine what those hearing God’s message must have thought. It would be their descendants who would witness God’s fulfillment of these words.

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Jeremiah 51:20-40 – How God Works

Read Jeremiah 51:20-40

Unlike the promise of restoration given for Jerusalem, Babylon’s destruction is final. According to my study notes, the first four verses of this passage are likely referring to Cyrus, God’s partner for paying back Babylon for all the wrongs done to the Israelites. God is going to work through someone else to complete his purposes.

It’s texts like this that prompt people to say God is frighteningly cruel. When people avoid God saying he’s mean or vengeful, the example of his plans for Babylon is on point. I view what God is doing here as being loving toward his people. Like a protective parent rushing to defend a child being bullied, God means business.

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Jeremiah 51:1-19 – Vindicated

Read Jeremiah 51:1-19

With the fall of Babylon, those Israelites in captivity seem to have been vindicated from their guilt. Those same Israelites and the generations before them had been defiant and rebellious toward God. Their punishment for this behavior is about to end as God now crushes Babylon! I’m hopeful those in exile were repentant.

Recalling these words would give hope to those living in captivity. “For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has not abandoned Israel and Judah. He is still their God, even though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.” Have you ever felt abandoned by someone you loved or trusted? Scars from that experience run deep. It’s good to know that no matter what, our heavenly Father never abandons us. We are never alone through whatever worldly strife we may encounter. Praise be to God!

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Jeremiah 50:21-46 – Day of Reckoning for Babylon

Read Jeremiah 50:21-46

The LORD says, “For Babylon’s day of reckoning has come.” What does that even mean? According to a definition by Merriam Webster, it’s “a time when the consequences of a course of mistakes or misdeeds are felt.” Babylon had done so much harm to God’s people, it was now time to experience the consequences. They would soon see that you don’t mess around with God’s people.

The news in Jerusalem from those who have escaped is that “the LORD our God has taken vengeance against those who destroyed his Temple.” Do you think the people of Babylon realized they had been used as a “puppet” by God to bring about the destruction they did? They certainly didn’t realize that those actions would lead to their own demise, did they?

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Jeremiah 50:1-20 – Watch Out Babylon!

Read Jeremiah 50:1-20

Were you surprised to see God’s fury unleash on Babylon? Both Chapter 50 and 51 will focus on God’s plans for Babylon. Interesting that the very world power God used to wreak havoc on his people and the surrounding nations will also fall.

For the simplicity of the message, “Babylon will fall,” there is a lot of complexity to this extended prophecy. One scholar identifies thirteen prophetic units. We’ll take it in a few chunks (not 13)! We’ll notice the vivid poetic imagery used and the promises for God’s people. We aren’t told when Jeremiah wrote these words, but it is clearly written about “future” events.

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