Judgment on Babylon (1): Jeremiah 50
Pray Psalm 59.16, 17.
But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.
To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my defense,
My God of mercy.
Sing Psalm 59.16, 17.
(Neumark: If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee)
But as for me, Your strength I’m singing;
with joy I sing Your grace, O Lord!
My trials and troubles I am bringing
to know the shelter of Your Word.
O God, my strength, I sing Your praise;
You are my stronghold all my days.
Read and meditate on Jeremiah 50.3, 9, 10, 41-44.
1. How would you describe the judgment that is coming on Babylon “from the north”?
2. Who is sending the lion-like foe against Babylon?
The Lord continues to unfold His intentions for the judgment of Babylon. Babylon will be brought down by a confederation of nations from the north (v. 41), led, as we shall see, by the Medes and the Persians. So complete will be the devastation that the city of Babylon itself will be abandoned (v. 3), as it is to this day. The “assembly of great nations” will plunder Babylon and leave it in desolation (vv. 9, 10). When the king of Babylon hears of their coming against him he will tremble with fear and anguish (v. 43), for they will be a force the likes of which he has not faced before (v. 42).
The prophet Daniel reiterated Jeremiah’s prophesy of the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and the Persians, announcing it on the very night that the fall of Babylon occurred (Dan. 5.26-30).
The Babylonians were the fiercest, most violent, and most merciless people of their day (cf. Hab. 1). But, for a variety of reasons, they would be no match for the combined forces of the Medes and Persians and their allies. Greater still is the God who shepherded all this activity for the sake of His people (v. 44), that they might be returned to their land according to His promise. There is none like God, to stand in judgment over Him, or to withstand His judgment when He brings it to pass. Babylon would learn this the hard way.
But in the midst of that great overthrow, God would be working for the redemption of His people. Just so, the overthrow of Satan’s kingdom would be accomplished through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. He came to destroy the devil and his works, that we might be set free to enter the promised Kingdom of our God.
1. God is sovereign in raising Babylon up for judgment, and sovereign in setting it down in defeat. Why was God doing this?
2. The end of today’s Scriptures has God pointing to Himself as the cause of Babylon’s downfall. Why would that encourage the people of God in Babylon?
3. How should God’s sovereignty over the nations of the world give us hope in our calling to make all the nations disciples?
God never so acts by his absolute power as to separate it from his justice; for this would be as it were to wound himself; for these things are undivided, his power and justice, though justice often does not appeal however this may be, his sole and simple will is to us the rule of all justice. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 50.44
I rest in Your Word, O God, as I prepare to…
Pray Psalm 59.1-15.
What challenges are you facing today? Give them to the Lord. Declare your trust in His sovereign wisdom, love, and power. Make plans to seek His Kingdom and righteousness in all you do.
Sing Psalm 59.1-15.
Psalm 59.1-15 (Neumark: If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee)
Deliver me from all my foes, Lord;
set me on high secure away;
From all who seek to work me woe, Lord,
deliver me from day to day.
For, lo, they seek to take my life;
fierce foes advance to bring me strife!
Not for transgressions they assault me,
nor any sin which I have done.
With nothing they can charge or fault me,
and yet to trouble me they run.
Arouse Yourself, O Lord, awake,
and come with haste my foes to break.
Like dogs at large within a city,
they bark and howl fierce threats at me.
They boast of evil without pity,
but You, O Lord, their treach’ry see.
Because of them I watch for You,
O God my strength, forever true!
My God in steadfast love will meet me,
and let me look triumphantly
On all my foes, who would defeat me
did not He shield and shelter me.
That men may know Your pow’r, O Lord,
subdue and rule them by Your Word.
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).