The Scriptorium

Babylon Busted

And it ain't pretty. Jeremiah 50

Judgment on Babylon (1): Jeremiah 50

Pray Psalm 62.11, 12.
God has spoken once,
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God.
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work.

Sing Psalm 62.11, 12.
(Germany: Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness)
Once God has spoken, twice I have heard: Power belongs alone to the Lord!
And lovingkindness, Lord, is Yours; You recompense us for our works.

Review Jeremiah chapter 50; meditate on verses 4 and 5.

1. What was God’s message to Israel in the midst of this word of judgment?

2. Why was God going to be so harsh in judging Babylon?

Let’s bear in mind that this chapter and the next, describing the coming judgment on Babylon, were sent, not to the king of Babylon, but to the people of God captive in Babylon. They had not believed God when Jeremiah and others declared His judgment against them. They did not listen, or repent, or obey Him when He called them to surrender to the Babylonians, so that they might stay in their land.

Now they were living the consequences of their disobedience. But hopefully, they learned that God’s Word is reliable and sure. What He says, He will do.

So, as God had spoken judgment against all the nations around Judah and Israel, now He spoke judgment against Babylon. That would surely come; but, then what?

God did not want His people to despair in the face of one more terrible round of judgment. Though Babylon would be busted, the people of God would be spared, freed, and returned to the land by God’s servant, Cyrus.

The people had many years of captivity ahead of them, but at least now they had a word of assurance that their captivity would not be indefinite. Seventy years after the first wave of captives were taken to Babylon under King Jehoiakim, God would destroy the Babylonian empire for its pride and treachery, and He would return His people to their land.

So they didn’t need to despair, and they must not doubt. Their suffering would know an end, and the land of promise was being readied by the remnant who remained to receive the people back again.

We have an even more sure promise. God is already pouring out His wrath on unrighteous people and nations (Rom. 1.18ff), but a greater day of wrath is coming. We who know Jesus need not fear the wrath or condemnation of the Lord (Rom. 8.1). We may know some hard times before or during these seasons of wrath, but we must not despair, and we must not doubt. God will free us; Jesus is even now preparing a place for us with Him forever; and the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells will be our permanent dwelling place with God forever. So make disciples; be fruitful and holy; pray for the peace of our world; and keep looking to Jesus and seeking Him and the future and hope He is preparing for us even now (Jer. 29.7-14).

1. As God’s judgment comes upon unbelieving nations and peoples, what should we who believe expect?

2. How can believers help one another keep fixed on and trusting in the promises of God for a future and a hope?

3. What does it mean to seek Jesus with all your heart?

 Jeremiah now promises that God would be their liberator after the time of exile had passed, of which he had spoken. Thus we perceive the design of this passage, in which the Prophet, after having referred to the destruction of Babylon, makes a sudden transition, and refers to God's mercy… John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 50.4

Give me strength to be faithful to You today, O Lord, as I…

Pray Psalm 62.1-10.

How do you wait on the Lord? Try waiting in silence as you think about His promises and the day ahead of you.

Sing Psalm 62.1-10.
Psalm 62.1-10 (Germany: Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness)
My soul in silence waits, O Lord – safely I stand within Your Word!
You are my Rock, my Stronghold true, and my Salvation, Lord, are You!

How long will foes give me offense, striking me like a tottering fence?
They counsel to destroy with lies; they bless, but all the while despise.

My soul in silence waits, O Lord, hoping in You, and in Your Word.
You are my Rock, my Stronghold true, and my Salvation, Lord, are You!

On You my hope and glory rest, Rock of my strength, and Refuge best.
Trust always in our God, the Lord; take refuge only in His Word.

Trust not in men of low degree; lighter are they than breath shall be.
Do not rely on strength or gold; trust in the Lord, Who rules from old.

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).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore