After the LORD says, “You are My battle-ax and weapons of war” in Jeremiah 51:20, He goes on to say the words “with you I will” ten times in verses 20-23. One question some have is: who is God speaking of? Is He speaking of Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, or is He speaking of Cyrus (who would destroy Babylon); commentators seem to have some disagreement about this. I believe the text has prophetic insight not just about what happened to ancient Babylon, but the one that we see will rise up in these last days spoken of in the book of Revelations. OK, now, back to the phrase, “with you I will.” That is a powerful statement; it’s all God’s plan and power, but He has chosen to work through vessels. What God has done or will do, He does through people. Even as Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
The LORD speaks of Bozrah (capital of Edom) in Jeremiah 49:16; He says, “Your fierceness has deceived you, The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,’ says the LORD.” They were deceived to think they would continue to have peace and prosperity. What deceived them? It was their military strength and the pride in their hearts. The LORD explains, it doesn’t matter how high up a person or nation is, His judgment will bring them low.
Jeremiah prophesies the judgment on Babylon… this judgment happened in the prophet Daniels day but I believe it has foreshadowing’s of the Babylon seen in the book of Revelation. Jeremiah 50:2 says, “"Declare among the nations, Proclaim, and set up a standard; Proclaim—do not conceal it— Say, 'Babylon is taken, Bel is shamed. Merodach is broken in pieces; Her idols are humiliated, Her images are broken in pieces.'” God’s judgment is always just, but He longsuffering desiring people to repent. The verse above shows us the good that comes out of judgment… the false gods and the powers of darkness behind them are “shamed” and “broken.”
Jeremiah 50:4 continues with the good that would happen: "In those days and in that time," says the LORD, "The children of Israel shall come, They and the children of Judah together; With continual weeping they shall come, And seek the LORD their God.” The LORD relents from doing harm (Joel 2:13 & Jonah 4:2), but when it is inevitable, He releases in a way and a time to bring as many people as possible back to Him. God is good; His mercy is forever, so we must “consider the goodness and severity of God” (Rom. 11:22).
The first of the 10 Commandments given was: "You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). What is it about humanity that they continually want to change who God is and serve a god that isn’t God at all. It’s not our job to tell God who He is; it’s our job to love the truth and seek Him with a humble heart. The devil presents to every culture and every people “a god or gods” that are more suitable for their carnality.
The prophet proclaims judgment on the false gods in Jeremiah 46:25 (Amplified Version), “The Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, says: Behold, I will visit punishment upon Amon [the chief god of the sacred city, the capital of Upper Egypt] of No or Thebes, and upon Pharaoh and Egypt, with her gods and her kings--even Pharaoh and all those [Jews and others] who put their trust in [Pharaoh as a support against Babylon].”
Some gods are hard task master like Allah, or a person’s god could be the god of self (their knowledge, their money, their power). Regardless of the false god, it is pride to reject the truth to embrace a lie. We need to “consider the goodness and severity of God” (Rom. 11:22).
The LORD said in Jeremiah 48:7 to Moab, “because you have trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken. And Chemosh shall go forth into captivity, His priests and his princes together.”
Although God suffers long, the most “merciful” thing God can do to a wicked people that refuses Him is bring judgment.
A group of survivors comes to Jeremiah for council from the LORD; they want to know where they should dwell. They told Jeremiah with their mouth that they would do whatever He told them, but in their heart they were saying they would do whatever God said as long as it fit into their plan. How many Christians do that today? They ask God for His plan for their life, but when it isn’t what they want, they conclude that it isn’t from God.
Jeremiah 42:1-3, & 6 says, “Now all the captains of the forces, Johanan the son of Kareah, Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people, from the least to the greatest, came near and said to Jeremiah the prophet, "Please, let our petition be acceptable to you, and pray for us to the LORD your God, for all this remnant (since we are left but a few of many, as you can see), that the LORD your God may show us the way in which we should walk and the thing we should do. …Whether it is pleasing or displeasing, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God to whom we send you, that it may be well with us when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.’"
Jeremiah got a response from the LORD after 10 days; he told them to stay in the land of Israel. The people thought going to Egypt looked like the obvious best choice. Egypt looked safe and prosperous which was the opposite of Israel. Jeremiah told them what they should do, but Jeremiah 43:4 says, “… all the people would not obey the voice of the LORD, to remain in the land of Judah.”
So, the question to ask our self: When we tell the LORD that we want His plan for our life and we will do what He asks, do we really mean it?
Ebed-Melech the Ethiopian put his neck on the line by standing up for Jeremiah (the one speaking God's true words), but this shows that he had faith in the messages from Jeremiah. Jeremiah 38:8-9 says, “Ebed-Melech went out of the king's house and spoke to the king, saying: "My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they have done to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon, and he is likely to die from hunger in the place where he is. For there is no more bread in the city." Just before Jerusalem was destroyed, Ebed-Milech received a precious promise from the LORD in Jeremiah 39:16-17: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will bring My words upon this city for adversity and not for good, and they shall be performed in that day before you. But I will deliver you in that day,...and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid.” The LORD gave this Ethiopian eunuch mercy that He desired to all if they would have just believed and repented.
Psalms 79:2-4 gives us a bit of a depiction of Jerusalem at its destruction. It says, “The dead bodies of Your servants— They have given as food for the birds of the heavens, The flesh of Your saints to the beasts of the earth. Their blood they have shed like water all around Jerusalem, And there was no one to bury them. We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scorn and derision to those who are around us.”
The LORD told Jeremiah when called him as a prophet that He had put His Word in His mouth “…to root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10). As surely as God’s Word would root out and destroy, God purposed to rebuild Israel and plant His people back in it. These chapters contain many promises from the LORD to bring back His people and rebuild the land. The LORD did this to a measure 70 years after their captivity and in recent times Israel has been more blessed as a nation, but the fullness of the promises will only come to pass at the return of Yahshua Ha Mashiach.
Jeremiah 30:2: "Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: 'Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.” When we write down what the LORD speaks to our hearts, it solidifies the reality of those words in our hearts. The things the LORD speaks to us can seem to be somewhat ethereal, but when we write them down, we are saying, “yes, the Lord spoke this; yes, this is true; yes, this will come to pass.”
The LORD says in Jeremiah 31:33-34, “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. …For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." These promises the LORD has given us through Jesus Christ couldn’t be any better; make sure you thank Him today.
The LORD outlines a root problem of the people: people speaking for God who are not speaking God’s Word. The LORD says in Jeremiah 23:21-22, "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil way And from the evil of their doings.” Amazing: if God could have gotten these false prophets to listen to Him and speak His Word, it would have caused a nation to turn from its wickedness. There is great power in preaching!
In Chapter 26 the LORD makes good on His promise to protect Jeremiah (see Jeremiah 1:18). When there are some who rise up and want to kill him, the LORD has men there who persuade them to relent.
The LORD calls Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon “My servant” in Jeremiah 27:6. It’s not because Nebuchadnezzar willfully served the LORD, but because the LORD was using him to bring judgment to the unrepentant nations; Nebuchadnezzar "served" God's purposes. The LORD promised that He would eventually judge Babylon also if they did not repent.
The LORD never stopped giving Judah a chance at peace if they would just repent. He says in Jeremiah 18:7-8, “The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.” The LORD is always willing to take a marred piece of clay and reform it if that clay (city, person) will allow it, but Judah continued to be stubborn until their end. Instead of being as a moldable piece of clay (in chap. 18), Judah was as the hardened pot Jeremiah smashed (in chap. 19).
In the judgment of the LORD, His amazing mercies continued to be seen. The LORD says the Babylonians are about to attack, “… but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him” (Jeremiah 21:9). God does not give up on people.
After Jeremiah complains about the trials he’s faced from the wickedness of his people, the LORD responds in Jeremiah 12:5, "If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” The LORD tells Jeremiah that it’s going to get worse when the invading army comes in. What “wearies” us is relevant to our mental state and our willingness to press through difficult situations. Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2).
Chapter 13 gives a powerful example of how humility “clings” to the LORD and His Word, but pride holds to their own ways and will destroy a person.
The reward for serving God is greater than expected, and after reading these chapters you can see that the misery of turning away from the LORD is greater than most would expect. If there was genuine repentance from the people there would be hope, but without it, judgment has drawn near. The LORD says in Jeremiah 15:1, "Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth.”
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan