We are accountable to God for our attitudes and motives
Jeremiah 50 SCC 9/10/17
GOD WILL NOT EXCUSE PRIDE BUT EXECUTE JUDGMENT AGAINST THE PROUD
50:1-5 This is a title verse for the oracle against Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans. Jeremiah was to announce to the nations the public humiliation of Babylon v 1. Say, Babylon has been captured, her chief deity Bel (also known as) Marduk has been shattered v 2. Her chief idols, Bel and Marduk, would be humiliated, since it was their job to protect Babylon. For a nation has come against her out of the north v 3 (3 times v 9, 41). This does not seem to be the fall of Babylon to Persia because: (1) The Persians are from the east of Babylon. (2) The Persians did not lay waste the land or destroy the city. (3) Daniel, who had access to Jeremiah’s prophecies (Daniel 9:1-2) remained in the city during and after its fall. In those days and at that time…the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well v 4. In those days is nearly always a pointer to the messianic age to come. Turning their faces in its direction v 5 ... they will join themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant. The Israelites would seek direction to return to Zion. This was not fulfilled when Babylon fell to the Persians.
50:6-10 The Lord's chosen people had gotten lost like sheep misled by their shepherd’s v 6. They are still scattered around the world today. The enemies had devoured these sheep, but had rationalized that Israelites deserved what they got we are not guilty, inasmuch as they have sinned against the Lord v 7. The Lord encouraged His people to leave Babylon v 8. God promised to become active again for His people I am going to arouse and bring up against Babylon a horde of great nations v 9. Babylon will be their plunder v 10. The "many nations" and "the north" point to a future fulfillment.
Application: God has plans for Israel that have not taken place yet. The Old Testament destruction is the backdrop to a future escape and reunion of the nation back into its land. In the meantime, ancient and modern nations will ridicule Israel and Jews. In the past it was understood that Israel’s God had abandoned them. Today, it is based in hate, revenge, and prejudice. Only when Christ returns to Jerusalem will the scattered Jews ask for the way to Zion, their faces in that direction.
THE PROUD WHO HARASS GODS PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED: HIS PEOPLE DELIVERED
The Fall of Babylon 11-16
Babylon sinned in proudly destroying Judah. Because you are glad… jubilant, O you who pillage [using violence, especially in wartime] My heritance v 11. She behaved like a young heifer at threshing time or like a lusty stallion. Babylon will be greatly ashamed…humiliated v 12. Completely desolate, horrified v 13. Enemies will draw up…bend the bow v 14…raise battle cry…take vengeance v 15…cut off the sower so the people flee v 16. She would be like a desert compared to a fertile field. The Lord would remove her inhabitants. Observers would marvel and whistle at the horrible condition of the once proud Babylon. The reason for this destruction for she has sinned against the Lord v 14. For this is the vengeance of the Lord ...as she has done to others, so do to her v 15. All this because of the indignation of the Lord v 13. It still waits future fulfillment.
The Restoration of Israel 17-20
Israel (the United Kingdom) is a scattered flock the lions have driven away v 17. First the Northern Kingdom was devoured by the king of Assyria in 722 B.C. Then Judah was taken by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in 586 B.C. He had broken their bones— not just scattered the people but also slain them. Therefore, God is going to punish the king of Babylon and his land, just as I [God] punished the king of Assyria v 18. God will bring Israel back to the land v 19. And in those days [future fulfillment] their sins will not be found for I shall pardon those whom I leave as a remnant, i.e. referring to the New Covenant when sins will be forgiven v 20.
Application: God holds the Babylonians responsible even for their attitudes (glad, jubilant pillaging, skip, neigh v 11) as well as what they actually did. Remember, when the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts (1 Cor 4:5). God will also hold us responsible for our attitudes and motives as well as what we do.
THE PROUD WILL EXPERIENCE UTTER DESTRUCTION BEFORE GOD
Divine vengeance on Babylon 50:21-32
Babylon was doubly rebellious (i.e., more rebellious—Merathaim) than other cities and nations—through its idolatry and pride v 21. Therefore, God will slay and utterly destroy them ... because you have engaged in conflict with the Lord v 22-24. The Lord described Babylon as a wild animal snared in a trap; a thief caught unexpectedly because she had conflicted with Him. Babylon’s destruction is a work of the Lord God of hosts v 25. Babylon's enemies would steal her resources, as people from afar empty out barns piled with good things, until nothing would be left. The young leaders of the nation would die like bulls in a timely sacrifice. Fugitives and refugees would return to Zion v 26-28. Attackers would assail Babylon with their arrows and encamp against her on every side v 29 because she had lifted herself up in pride against the Holy One of Israel. Babylon's young men would fall in her streets v 30. God Almighty announced His antagonism against Babylon for her arrogance arrogant one v 31. The proud Chaldeans would trip and fall while fire…will devour all his environs v 32.
Israel's future redemption 50:33-40
Babylon took them [God’s people] captive and have held them fast, they have refused to let them go v 33. But their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is His name v 34. He would plead their case vigorously by contending with their enemy. The Lord decreed a military invasion for all the people of Babylon v 35-37. A sword (5 times) will be against (9 times) Babylon’s ordinary citizens to the officials and sages, their horses to their treasures. A complete wipe-out! Babylon's waters would dry up, too, in judgment, because of the idolatry that was rampant there v 38. Babylon will never again be inhabited, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbor’s v 39-40. This is still future fulfillment, after Christ destroys Babylon (Revelation 17–18) at His Second Coming, it will never be inhabited again (throughout the Millennial Kingdom). Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer (Revelation 18:21) during the Tribulation.
Application: When we sin we sin against God and that causes a conflict v 24. It pits one against God and God against you. The reason, it is a test of wills. When that happens you are messaging God that you are not interested in His ways. You refuse to recognize his ways as in your best interest. So the battle commences, one you are certain to lose. God will be vigorous to pursue His cause.
THE PROUD CANNOT STAND AGAINST GODS PLAN TO DESTROY THEM
Many kings, from the remote parts of the earth, an innumerable, vast, mighty army are going to march against Babylon v 41. They are cruel and have no mercy, just as Babylon had been to those it conquered v 42-43. Starts historically with Persia, but ultimately in Tribulation. When the king of Babylon heard about the coming enemy, he would go limp with fear, like a woman about to give birth. They will attack swiftly, like a lion, in an instant v 44. There will be no arguing with God’s decision. God says, who is like Me, and who will summon Me into court? No one can. Therefore, hear the plan of the Lord which He has planned against Babylon and His purposes which He has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans surely they will drag them off like a lion dragging a little lamb. v 45 shouting Babylon has been seized v 46. The result would be a major upheaval in affairs of the world, a cry of surprise from the nations (Rev. 18:15-19) woe, woe, the great city…God pronounced judgment for you against her.
So What? We’re looking at a section that deals with judgments that happened in history, but they are reminder to us, both as individuals and people of various nations, that God’s judgment will ultimately come on us as well. God’s judgment is a reality, and even if we ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist, it’s real, and it’s something that the prophets remind us we definitely have to take account of and face up to.
1. God is going to judge every form of human pride. Individually “I can live independently of God, I don’t need him” brings one under God’s judgment. Nationally when lifted up in pride because of wealth or accomplishments, history or heritage or military God going to bring all of that down.
2. These judgments are relevant to us because God hates human pride. God brings down nations that shake their fist in God’s face. We see that kind of pride in our country. Billy Graham, “If God doesn’t judge America, he’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
3. The USA is between Babel and Beast. Between that city that defied God in Genesis 11, and the Beast at end of Revelation who declares war on Gods people. Abe Lincoln believed civil war happened in part because of divine justice. “Every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid for, or paid with-another that is drawn by the sword.” The Noahic Covenant seems to say: The blood meter is running. But God, both with individual nations, and the world as a whole, eventually has had enough, and judgment falls.