Jeremiah 51 & 52
As a junior high teacher, there have been a couple of times when a student’s behavior warranted their removal from the classroom, even after multiple redirections and warnings. The school administrator would assign a consequence, such as on-campus suspension for one to three days, and then the student would return to reintegrate back into our class community.
While this scenario isn’t a perfect analogy to what we read in Jeremiah chapters 51 and 52, it has a few similarities.
Throughout generations, Israel had been warned over and over about what would be the consequences if they failed to be obedient to God’s decrees. And yet the kings over God’s people and the people themselves rebelled, they did evil in the eyes of the LORD. And God cannot tolerate sin. There had to be consequences.
So God allowed Babylon to capture Israel. God allowed for His dwelling place, the temple built by Solomon, to be ransacked and destroyed. This was the consequence of decades of disobedience.
But throughout this time, God never stopped loving His people. He longed to see them be restored. And so He made a way. The very kingdom that had caused destruction to Israel, would eventually face its own consequences and be brought down by its enemies. God’s people would be released from captivity.
What we read in Jeremiah 51 and 52, describes what no doubt was a rough patch for Israel, to put it mildly. And it even foretells what it might be like during the time leading up to Christ’s second coming.
But we can also read it through the lens of how God must deal with us as individuals. Because He is the Holy One of Israel, there must be consequences to our sin. We are destined to be separated, exiled, from Him because our sin and His holiness cannot coexist. But God longs to be in a relationship with us. And so God provides for a way, through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, for this relationship to be restored. So even though our lives are “full of guilt before the Holy One of Israel”, we will not be “forsaken by our God, the LORD Almighty”.