Jeremiah 49 -- 50
It may have seemed to the Kingdom of Judah that Babylon was in control of world affairs, just as Assyria had been at an earlier time in history. Following the Babylonians would come the Medes, Persians, Greeks, and Romans to rule the world. But, as we read the Scriptures, we realize that it is God, the Creator of the universe, who has supreme control over the nations of the earth.
The first message in our reading today concerns the Ammonites, who were descendants of Lot. Historically, the Ammonites were hostile to the people of God (II Chronicles 20:1-3; II Kings 24:1-2; Jeremiah 27: 3). Because of their wickedness against Israel, the Lord foretold that the days are coming . . . that I will cause an alarm of war . . . in Rabbah (the capital) of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap (49:2). The Lord then turned south of Ammon to Moab, saying: You shall be driven out (49:5).
Next, our attention is turned to Edom, a nation descended from Jacob's twin brother Esau. Edom had always been a jealous enemy of Jacob's descendants and rejoiced when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem (Psalms 137:7). Edom had joined Nebuchadnezzar in plundering the city of Jerusalem and even expanded their territory into southern Judah, forming the land of Idumea. Because of this, Edom's fate was accurately foretold by the prophet: I have made Esau bare. . . . his offspring will be destroyed . . . he will be no more. . . . he shall not go unpunished (Jeremiah 49:10,12).
The judgment of God was then pronounced upon Damascus, the capital city of Syria, along with Hamath and Arpad, which were smaller kingdoms controlled by Damascus. All were enemies of Judah. Of them it was foretold concerning Damascus. . . . All the men of war shall be cut off. . . . I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-hadad (title of kings of Syria) (49:23-27). Judgment was then pronounced upon Kedar, Hazor, and Elam: Concerning Kedar . . . King of Babylon shall smite. . . . Hazor shall be . . . a desolation for ever. . . . Against . . . Elam, the chief of their might . . . I will bring the four winds . . . and will scatter them (49:28-39).
Finally, judgment was pronounced upon Babylon, the empire that appeared to be invincible. But its magnificent splendor and fortifications caused no doubt in the heart of the faithful prophet Jeremiah, who said: The Lord spoke against Babylon (the capital) and against the land of the Chaldeans. . . . Declare among the nations . . . Babylon is taken, Bel (their patron god) is confounded (put to shame), Merodach (Bel) is broken in pieces. . . . For out of the north there comes up a nation (Media) against her, which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell there (50:1-3).
Even today, more than 2500 years later, the ruins of Babylon remain a witness to the accuracy of Scripture. Almost as much space in the Bible is given to the judgment upon Babylon as to all the other nations combined. Perhaps this is because Babylon is symbolic of the world forces which will array themselves against the Lord and emerge again in defiance of God and His people in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2,10,21).
Following the prophecy of the destruction of Babylon and the release of Israel from captivity, note that the Israelites will eventually demonstrate genuine repentance and experience conversion. In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: as they go, and seek the Lord their God. . . . saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual Covenant that shall not be forgotten (Jeremiah 50:4-5).
As the Redeemer who pleads our cause (Jeremiah 50:34). Blessed (praised and extolled and thanked) be the Lord God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people! (Luke 1:68). It is Christ . . . who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34).
49:1 their king means Milcom, the national god of the Ammonites, also known as Malcom, Molech, or Moloch, to whom children were sacrificed through fire; 49:2 daughters means villages; 49:8 dwell deep means hide in deeply concealed places; 49:16 terribleness means fierceness; 49:17 hiss means scoff; 50:5 thitherward means toward; 50:12 hindermost means last; 50:20 reserve means keep safe; 50:31 visit means punish; 50:36 shall dote means will become fools; 50:44 swelling means thick growth.
Government Official: Sec. William Cohen (Department of Defense) · Pray for World Missionary Press · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in memory of April Louise Perkinson · Country: Bhutan (2 million) in the eastern Himalayas of central Asia · Major languages: Tibetan and Nepalese dialects · Public worship, evangelism, and proselytization are illegal · 70% Lamaistic Buddhist; 24% Hindu; 5% Muslim; .3% Protestant/Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Realize that you are insufficient (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Memory Verse for the Week:
II Thessalonians 2:12