Jeremiah continues to declare judgment upon Babylon. The prophecy is primarily directed to Babylon-past, the nation that conquered Jerusalem and burnt down the Temple, but as you read through the prophecy and notice little nuances, you’ll also come across aspects of future judgment, clearly connected to the “Babylon” of the last days (see Revelation 17-18).
In 539 B.C. God would raise up the Medo-Persians as a “destroying wind” to conquer those who dwell in Leb Kamai (code word for Babylon). (Jeremiah 51:1, 11).
The Jews on the other hand, would be restored…because of His covenant with them, they would be lavished with grace.
Jeremiah 51:5 (NKJV) “For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the LORD of hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.”
When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, they completely destroyed the Temple of the LORD which Solomon built. So complete was that destruction, that when then Jews returned and rebuilt the Temple, they had to lay a new foundation!
God judged Babylon for this:
Jeremiah 51:11 (NKJV) “…for His plan is against Babylon to destroy it, because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for His temple.”
Jeremiah 51:51 (NKJV) “…for strangers have come into the sanctuaries of the LORD’s house.”
In Jeremiah 51:15-18 the prophet proclaims the difference between the LORD who is the Maker of heaven and earth, and the idols which are lifeless and helpless, the work of men’s hands. Israel’s God (Portion) is the Creator of all, and He will judge Babylon, the weapon He used to judge the nations.
Jeremiah 51:19 (NKJV) “The Portion of Jacob is not like them, for He is the Maker of all things; and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance. The LORD of hosts is His name.”
I’ve always loved this truth found frequently in the Scriptures that God is our portion. We see it often in the Psalms (Psalm 16:5; 73:26; 119:57; 142:5; Jeremiah 10:16; Lamentations 3:24). I may not have a lot, but if I have the Lord as my portion (my provision, my heritage) I have all that I will even want or need. The key is to be satisfied with Him.
Commentators are divided as to the identity of the Battle-Ax in Jeremiah 51:20. We know at one time Babylon was God’s battle ax, but this also may refer to the Medo-Persian empire who would conquer Babylon, or maybe even Israel herself.
Jeremiah prophesied of the destruction of Babylon at least 47 years before it happened, they would be “repaid” for the evil they had done.
Jeremiah 51:24–25 (NKJV) “‘And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight,’ says the LORD. 25 ‘Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys all the earth,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt mountain.’”
A couple of quick things in closing this section out:
Pastor Chuck Smith comments on the destruction of Babylon’s walls (Jeremiah 51:44), “The wall of Babylon was 87 feet thick, 300 feet high. There were 250 towers upon it. And God declared this wall would fall. Imagine! It was thought impossible. Eventually in a year’s time, 200,000 men dismantled the wall of Babylon.”
Jeremiah 51:45 seems to point to Revelation 18:4, to the destruction of Commercial “Babylon” in the last days. The Jews in 539 B.C. didn’t have the option of leaving Babylon until the Babylonians were conquered by the Medo-Persians. But in the last days God’s people have the option of leaving, going out of Commercial Babylon…lest they be judged with her.
I need to beware, be warned, be wary of all the materialism and commercialism fed to me living in this world!
As a pastor, Titus was called to teach – and the teaching was to be sound, solid, and practical for all age groups in the church.
We older men are inclined to let our guard down over the years, but we shouldn’t! Older men might struggle with sobriety, discipline, selfishness, doubt, or sloppy agape; we can lose our patience in a split-second! Pastors are to challenge the older men in these areas.
The older women were to be taught to be reverent. Ladies beware of slander and gossip, those “prayer requests” and pumping people for the 411 or distributing it, is not a good thing. The older ladies also were to be sober and even teachers to the younger ladies, challenging them to love their children and enjoy the wonderful role of wife, mom, and homemaker. This sends out a beautiful testimony to the watching world.
Then there are the young men, the category that Titus fell under, to which Paul directs his message telling him and all the young men to show yourself to be a pattern of good works. We are to be patterns for people. Witnessing is not something we do as much as it is something we are. Let’s live our lives in such a way – in word, deed, and integrity so that one day we could echo the words of Paul who said in:
1 Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV) “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
God help us to live our lives so much like Jesus that even our enemies are disarmed due to our love and Christlike character.
Employees were to be taught to be submissive, to do what the boss says, have a good attitude; don’t resist, answer back, or take anything that doesn’t belong to you. I love the way Paul describes such behavior, that it adorns the doctrine – it makes being a Christian attractive to a world that’s watching…there’s something different about that guy, that gal!
It’s interesting what Paul says about grace, beginning in Titus 2:11 – it’s not a license to sin, no, God’s grace teaches us, even empowers us to live pure lives in this evil age, and something else that helps us, is knowing that Jesus can come at any time…this is our blessed hope, His glorious appearing!
We see it a bit in the English, but in the original Greek it’s even stronger…Jesus is our great God and Savior. He gave Himself, God gave Himself to redeem us with His blood, pulling us out of the pit of lawless deeds, and setting us on the rock of purity and good works. May we never forget we were saved to serve and called to catch – people for Christ.
Preach it Titus! May we all “preach” it in one way or another!
The word “reigns” is only found twelve times in the Bible, but four times in this section of the Psalms (Psalm 93:1; 96:10; 97:1; 99:1). It seems to be the emphasis of the Holy Spirit at this point.
The fact that God reigns should lead us to tremble and also to trust. It should bring peace as well as praise. We should see Him where He is, exalted in majesty, there between the cherubim, and willing to answer our cries as we call.
Moses, Aaron, and Samuel were among those who called upon the Lord, and He answered them. He spoke to them. He will do the same for us.
Psalm 99:8 teaches us that God does forgive us of our sins, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be any ramifications or consequences for those sins. God is indeed merciful, but the law of the LORD is that we reap what we’ve sown (Galatians 6:7-8). Many of us are now living lives that bear the fruit of our failures (child-support, alimony, messed-up brain cells, broken down bodies, strained relationships, and so much more) all because we’ve sown those sins in the past. Prayerfully this truth causes us to fear God, to love God, and to do our best, to be resolute to sin…less.
Psalms 99:8 (NLT) “O LORD our God, You answered them. You were a forgiving God, but You punished them when they went wrong.”
To tie this all together, I’ve always loved the beautiful truth and balance behind 1 John 2:1
1 John 2:1 (NKJV) “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
Proverbs 26:17 (NKJV) “He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.”
If you grab a dog by its ears, you’re almost guaranteed to get “bit.” Such is the case for a person who unwittingly meddles into business he or she just does not belong. The admonition is NOT to do so.
Such a person causes unnecessary heartache to themselves.
Wise is the one who knows when and when NOT to get involved. King Josiah definitely learned the hard way…it cost him his life!
2 Chronicles 35:20–21 (NKJV) “After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates; and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent messengers to him, saying, ‘What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I have not come against you this day, but against the house with which I have war; for God commanded me to make haste. Refrain from meddling with God, who is with me, lest He destroy you.’”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.