Without a Trace
Thank You, God, that You watch over nations and details in equal measure. I can trust You in it all.
Read Jeremiah 51:33-64
 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time it is trampled; the time to harvest her will soon come.”  “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured us, he has thrown us into confusion, he has made us an empty jar. Like a serpent he has swallowed us and filled his stomach with our delicacies, and then has spewed us out.  May the violence done to our flesh be on Babylon,” say the inhabitants of Zion. “May our blood be on those who live in Babylonia,” says Jerusalem.  Therefore this is what the LORD says: “See, I will defend your cause and avenge you; I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry.  Babylon will be a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, an object of horror and scorn, a place where no one lives.  Her people all roar like young lions, they growl like lion cubs.  But while they are aroused, I will set out a feast for them and make them drunk, so that they shout with laughter- then sleep forever and not awake,” declares the LORD.  “I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams and goats.  “How Sheshak will be captured, the boast of the whole earth seized! How desolate Babylon will be among the nations!  The sea will rise over Babylon; its roaring waves will cover her.  Her towns will be desolate, a dry and desert land, a land where no one lives, through which no one travels.  I will punish Bel in Babylon and make him spew out what he has swallowed. The nations will no longer stream to him. And the wall of Babylon will fall.  “Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the LORD.  Do not lose heart or be afraid when rumors are heard in the land; one rumor comes this year, another the next, rumors of violence in the land and of ruler against ruler.  For the time will surely come when I will punish the idols of Babylon; her whole land will be disgraced and her slain will all lie fallen within her.  Then heaven and earth and all that is in them will shout for joy over Babylon, for out of the north destroyers will attack her,” declares the LORD.  “Babylon must fall because of Israel’s slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon.  You who have escaped the sword, leave and do not linger! Remember the LORD in a distant land, and call to mind Jerusalem.”  “We are disgraced, for we have been insulted and shame covers our faces, because foreigners have entered the holy places of the LORD’s house.”  “But days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish her idols, and throughout her land the wounded will groan.  Even if Babylon ascends to the heavens and fortifies her lofty stronghold, I will send destroyers against her,” declares the LORD.  “The sound of a cry comes from Babylon, the sound of great destruction from the land of the Babylonians.  The LORD will destroy Babylon; he will silence her noisy din. Waves of enemies will rage like great waters; the roar of their voices will resound.  A destroyer will come against Babylon; her warriors will be captured, and their bows will be broken. For the LORD is a God of retribution; he will repay in full.  I will make her officials and wise men drunk, her governors, officers and warriors as well; they will sleep forever and not awake,” declares the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty.  This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Babylon’s thick wall will be leveled and her high gates set on fire; the peoples exhaust themselves for nothing, the nations’ labor is only fuel for the flames.”  This is the message Jeremiah the prophet gave to the staff officer Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with Zedekiah king of Judah in the fourth year of his reign.  Jeremiah had written on a scroll about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon-all that had been recorded concerning Babylon.  He said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud.  Then say, ‘LORD, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither people nor animals will live in it; it will be desolate forever.’  When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates.  Then say, ‘So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring on her. And her people will fall.'” The words of Jeremiah end here. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow is God directing his people in relation to Babylon?
Up to this point, Jeremiah’s prophecies have been directed toward God’s people. Today’s passage comes as part of a section in which God is revealing his righteous judgment against the surrounding nations. Babylon, with all its power, was a pawn in God’s hand (49), but this did not mean that God excused the sin and idolatry of Nebuchadnezzar and his people (52). God will never overlook or pretend not to see sin.Babylon’s idolatry was so abhorrent to God that he would destroy the city (54,55,62,64), making it a desolate place forever. The acts of war against Israel had not gone under the Lord’s radar; there would be a time of reckoning (49). In the midst of God’s wrath, there was hope for his people. God would avenge them (36) as they ran from his punishment of the Babylonians (45-48). The Jews had frequently been tempted either to ally themselves with the strongest surrounding nations rather than trust in God or to strike back against Babylon rather than wait for God’s judgment. How might this passage reassure us today when so much is wrong in the world?
Pray for our nation. Pray for your city. Pray that God would raise up workers who would go into the world in his name.
Thank You, Lord, that You daily bear our burdens and that from You comes escape from death (Psa. 68:19-20).
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