God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, March 16, 2015
12 When the seventy years are finished, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation the land of the Chaldeans for their guilt, declares the LORD. I will make it a desolation forever. 13 I will bring on that land all my words which I have spoken against it, all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings will make slaves of them, and I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.
The city of Babylon was captured and overthrown by the Medes and Persians led by Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C. This was just about seventy years from the time of this prophecy made by Jeremiah in 605 B.C.
Over the years, some commentators have proposed that this chapter marks the ending of the first scroll by Jeremiah. The book is extremely long (something like 33,000 words), the longest book, word for word, in the Bible, and only slightly shorter what you would find if you combined ‘divided’ books like 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, or 1-2 Chronicles. The conjecture is that “2 Jeremiah” (chapters 26-52) began with chapter 26:1, and that verse 13 above served as a kind of summary statement for “1 Jeremiah”—“all that is written in this book which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations.”
However, this would only be true if Jeremiah himself had an idea as to how long the completed document would be. But since the king burned his scroll, causing Jeremiah and his scribe Baruch to re-write the whole thing (Jeremiah 36:27-28), it’s possible that the prophet chose to make two halves of the document, and that quite a bit more was written after the Babylonian crisis boiled over and Jeremiah was carried off into his own exile in Egypt. All of this is just a theory, but it doesn’t detract from the prophet’s message or contradict anything in the Bible.
What is proclaimed here is judgment for the enemies of God’s people. We can pray that God would be victorious over his enemies in the same way. This is what David did: “Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies… Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you.” (Psalm 5:8-10)
When we pray in this way, we are simply asking God to do what he has promised to do, and we are telling our God that we will not take these matters into our own hands. He is the judge, and we can delight in his judgments because they are always just, always righteous, and always correct.
More than this, we also fall to our knees in humble joy because he has lifted our judgment from us. Because we put our faith in Jesus, God’s punishment will not fall on us. This is what it means to be saved! Jesus promised: “Not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life” (Luke 21:17,18).
Pastor Timothy Smith
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