For a period of less than 100 years between the supremacy of the Assyrian Empire and the time of the Medes and the Persians, the Babylonians were the regional superpower in the ancient Middle East. They were raised up by God to discipline rebellious Judah. Like the Assyrians before them who conquered many nations, the Babylonians had a special role in taking over Jerusalem and whatever other cities of the Promised Land that had not already fallen in earlier conflicts. The Lord instructed the kings of Judah to surrender to them.
Because Jeremiah brought this message to God’s elect, many incorrectly supposed that he was a secret sympathizer of the Babylonians when he was simply proclaiming the Word of the Lord. When it was time to deliver God’s message against the Babylonians, Jeremiah did not hold back.
Though God determined to use Babylon for the chastisement of Judah, that foreign power was never supposed to rejoice over the defeat of the Lord’s children. They would have to face a day of judgment for their own sins. God spoke plainly about the trouble that would soon come to Babylon, and He also announced a future era of blessing for His chosen Zion.
Though the period of Babylonian rule was comparatively brief, the name of Babylon continued to be used throughout the Scriptures as the example of an ungodly tyranny that would one day face destruction. In the New Testament the name “Babylon” was frequently a reference to Rome as the great empire of the first century. But “Babylon” also referred more generally to all the powers of the world that would one day face the wrath of Christ.
The Lord has a fire that He can bring against any foe. Though He is a most exacting Judge, He is also a powerful Redeemer over the people He has determined to save.
Only King Jesus will reign forever. The world will one day stand before Him who is coming to judge the living and the dead. Despite that frightening prospect, God, who is rich in mercy, has a way of raising up His elect even from among the likes of a proud Babylon. Those who are truly wise will hear the Word of the Lord and humble themselves now before the great King of Kings.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, in every age there would seem to be a superpower. Each one imagines itself to be invincible. Can we see nothing from history? Will we not believe Your Word? You make a people of power to be an instrument of Your plan for a brief time. When their pride reaches a summit, they will be brought low, like all the great nations that have come before. Your wrath, O Lord, is far too much for the mightiest Babylon. How strong is Your Son, and how invincible in His Kingdom! We marvel at Your ways, O God. Your Son came in weakness. When He died on the cross, it would have appeared to every observer that His days were gone forever. How could this one man be anything compared to mighty empires like the Assyrians or the Romans? Yet He has established a kingdom that shall not perish. Through His death and resurrection a temple is being built up that will never be torn down. All those who have proudly defied Your Son will find an enemy in Him that is glorious in mighty power. The God-Man who died on a cross will come again to judge the living and the dead. We rest in Him. Whatever strength or wisdom other kingdoms may seem to have, it is only for a moment. Our Jesus lives, and His Kingdom is forever. How we long for the fulfillment of all Your promises! We dream about the peaceful valleys of Your great Land! There we will live in security and joy forever. Every brutal enemy will be harmless against us in that great day.