As we finish the book of Jeremiah, we are reminded again that God is a God of justice.
King after king had done “evil in the eyes of the Lord” – and the people did too. Finally, in Jeremiah 52:3, we’re told, “It was because of the Lord’s anger that all this happened to Jerusalem and Judah, and in the end, he thrust them from his presence.” So Jerusalem was destroyed. The temple was destroyed. King Zedekiah was forced to watch as his sons were slaughtered before his eyes, then he was blinded. Then, the king and 3,023 of the few remaining survivors were carried into exile to Babylon. What a depressing end to Israel’s autonomy.
God had used Babylon to punish Judah for her sins. To people of Judah, it hadn’t seemed right – that God would use a country even more wicked than Judah to punish Judah. But the truth remained, Judah needed to be punished.
I’ll pause here and mention – as I read Jeremiah, I see many similarities between Judah back then, and our country today. We too were founded on Godly principles. We too have forsaken God as a nation. We too are arrogant and proud. And I believe that we too deserve God’s judgement. This is a sobering thought.
Back to our story…
Because God is indeed a God of justice, we see in Jeremiah 51 that God is going to punish Babylon too. In Jeremiah 51:49, we’re told, “Babylon must fall because of Israel’s slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon.” And later, in 51:56b, we read, “For the Lord is a God of retribution; he will repay in full.”
This might be a consolation to those few from Israel that survived, but it wasn’t a consolation for those who died. This reminds me of Revelation 13:10, which says, “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” We still have this to anticipate.
We have to remember that this life is not our ultimate reward – it is just a proving ground to determine who will live forever with God, and who will be eternally destroyed. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” – 1 Corinthians 5:10.
God is still a God of justice. Fortunately for us, He’s also a forgiving God. I challenge you today to take advantage of His forgiveness, as we’re reminded in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins, and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at Jeremiah 51-52
Tomorrow’s reading will be Lamentations 1:1-3:36 as we continue on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan