As you read each passage, pray for God’s help. Ask yourself:
- What does God reveal about Himself?
- How is your own heart revealed?
- How does this passage underline the wonder of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ, and your own need of Christ as Saviour and Lord?
- Turn these truths into prayer and praise.
27 November Jer 49:23-39
The chapter concludes with brief oracles of judgement on various nations. The familiar themes of terror, destruction and depopulation are highlighted, the ugly fruits of human sin that upend God’s good purposes for His creation (Ge 1:27-31). Notice that, as ever, God singles out for special attention the things in which we wrongly put our confidence: Damascus relied on its fame (v.25); Kedar on its remoteness and mobility (vv.29,31); Elam on its archers (v.35). False refuges! When will be learn that “God (alone) is our refuge and strength …” (Ps 46:1)?
28 November Jer 50:1-10
The oracles against the nations end with the doom of Babylon, the tyrant that has loomed over the whole book. Although God made use of Babylon as the instrument of His judgement, she will herself judged. Her violence will not be the Lord’s final word in history. God will again bring salvation and blessing to His people (vv.4-5), for the earth belongs to the Lord, not to the gods of Babylon (Bel and Marduk, v.2).
29 November Jer 50:11-20
While the Lord grieved at the judgement He brought on His people, Babylon rejoiced and mocked (v.11). Her arrogance will be repaid as God turns her arrogance to shame (vv.12-13). Babylon will suffer the violence she has inflicted on others (vv.14-15). Freed from her tyranny, people of many nations will be free to return to their lands (v.16). In contrast to the fallen empires of Assyria and Babylon, God’s people will be forgiven and restored (vv.17-20). Good news – gospel – indeed!
30 November Jer 50:21-32
The Lord’s holy war against Babylon is vividly depicted in vv.21-27. God’s action is a direct judgement on Babylon for its destruction of the temple (v.28). Although the burning of the temple was God’s own judgement on His people for their backsliding, it was simultaneously Babylon’s blasphemous rejection of the Lord’s rule over all the earth (v.29). God’s triumph over Babylon’s arrogance (vv.29-32) is therefore a vindication of His sovereignty over all nations.
1 December Jer 50:33-46
God’s judgement on Babylon is simultaneously an act of redemption for His people (vv.33-40). The term “Redeemer” (v.34) recalls Israel’s law by which a widow or orphan might be adopted by another family member (e.g., Ruth 4). In this personal, costly way God redeems His people, not only from Babylonian captivity, but ultimately from sin and guilt through our Lord Jesus Christ. Note the irony that Babylon, “from the north” (1:13-14), is now herself hunted by a northern army (v.41).
2 December Jer 51:1-19
What gospel grace God shows to His people (v.5)! And how devastating is His judgement on Babylon (vv.11-14). Yet there is a note of sadness over Babylon’s incurable condition (v.9), reminding us that judgement is God’s reluctant resort when all else has failed. The folly of idolatry contrasts starkly with the glory and grace of our God (vv.17-19). When will we learn?
3 December Jer 51:20-44
God uses Babylon’s horrible violence in judgement (vv.20-23) yet also judges Babylon for its violence (vv.24-26). Babylon will be devoured (vv.27-33), an apt punishment for the nation that devoured God’s people (vv.34-35). How are the mighty fallen (v.41)! Thus passes this world’s glory.