Judgment on Babylon (1): Jeremiah 50
Pray Psalm 146.5, 6.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever…
Sing Psalm 146.5, 6, 10.
(Hallelujah! What a Savior!: Man of Sorrows)
Blessed are they whose hope resides in the Lord, Christ at His side.
By Him heav’n and earth abide – God forever reigns in Zion!
Read and meditate on Jeremiah 50.4-8;,20, 33, 34.
1. What will happen to God’s people when Babylon is judged?
2. Who will stand up for the people of God?
These verses are the clearest statement in the book of Jeremiah of God’s resolute determination to save and restore His people. They are spread throughout this otherwise gloomy chapter like glimmers of blue sky in the midst of a storm, and they reach from the time of Babylon’s first fall to the time of its last in the book of Revelation.
Let’s take a closer look.
Verses 4-8 follow immediately on the prophesy of Babylon’s desolation (vv. 1-3). “In those days and that time,” God says, the nation of Israel – which had been two nations for years – would be reunited together in the Lord, back in Zion, and renewed in God’s covenant. They would have new, caring, competent shepherds, and they would return to their land from all the places where God had sent them away into captivity. Here is the near-term vision, pegged to the fall of Babylon, and this would come to pass in the lifetimes of many, like Daniel, who would hear this prophesy.
Verse 20 envisions a day, following the destruction of Babylon, in which the sins of the people of God will be pardoned and carried away. This is the second phase of God’s work of restoring Israel, and points forward to the coming of Christ and His work of redemption.
Verses 33 and 34 likewise point to the coming of Israel’s Redeemer – “The LORD of hosts is His name” – but it adds the idea of giving rest to “the land.” That phrase can just as well be translated, “to the earth”, and could look forward through the entire course of history to the destruction of Babylon which John saw in Revelation, which is followed by the return of the Redeemer and the creation of the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells.
So, again, looking at these three passages as the segments of a spyglass, pull it out one length, you see the near future – Israel’s return to her land and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Pull it out another length and you see the coming of the Redeemer to take away the sins of God’s people. Pull it out full length and you see to the end of history as we know it into the time of eternal rest of the earth and God’s people.
Imagine how these verses would have given hope to the people in captivity in Babylon. These promises would have drawn like a magnet everything faithful Israelites would have understood about the Lord’s covenant, together with everything they had heard from Jeremiah about His new covenant; and they would have given strength to fulfill the instructions of Jeremiah 29 to those now resettled in a foreign land.
1. Where do we fit in this “spyglass” of promises? What hope should we find in them?
2. The people of Jeremiah’s day might not have been able to see the phases of fulfillment sketched out above. But how would these words have encouraged them with respect to their lives in captivity?
3. These and similar prophesies in the book of Jeremiah and elsewhere point out the importance of living with a view to promises and the future. Explain.
…when God promises deliverance from punishment, he does not simply say, "I will restore you from exile or captivity, I will restore you to your own country;" but he says, "I will forgive you your sins." For when the disease is removed, the symptoms also which accompany the disease disappear. So also it happens in this case, for when God shows that he is propitious to us, we are then freed from punishment, that is, what we have for a time suffered, or what awaited us, had not God spared us according to his infinite mercy and goodness.. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 50.20
Thank You, Lord, for taking my sins away; help me to claim your promises and live so that…
Pray Psalm 146.1-4, 7-10.
Pray that we, the followers of Christ will trust only in Him, look only to Him, follow only Him, and serve only Him in every aspect of our lives.
Sing Psalm 146.1-4, 6-10.
Psalm 146.1-4, 6-10(Hallelujah! What a Savior!: Man of Sorrows)
Praise the Lord, my soul, give praise! While I live, His Name I’ll raise!
And exalt Him all my days – God forever reigns in Zion!
Trust we not in prince or man – no salvation’s in their hand;
Death shall take them, breath and plans – God forever reigns in Zion!
He is faithful evermore; He gives justice to the poor,
feeds the hungry from His store – God forever reigns in Zion!
Jesus sets the pris’ner free, heals blind eyes that they may see,
lifts those burdened painfully – God forever reigns in Zion!
He the righteous loves the best; wand’rers in His grace are blessed;
needy ones in Him find rest – God forever reigns in Zion!
But the wicked who defame His eternal blessèd Name,
Them He brings to ruin and shame – God forever reigns in Zion!
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).