“Behold, a people comes from the north.
A great nation and many kings will be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth.
They take up bow and spear.
They are cruel, and have no mercy.
Their voice roars like the sea.
They ride on horses,
everyone set in array,
as a man to the battle,
against you, daughter of Babylon.
The king of Babylon has heard the news of them,
and his hands become feeble.
Anguish has taken hold of him,
pains as of a woman in labor.
Behold, the enemy will come up like a lion
from the thickets of the Jordan against the strong habitation;
for I will suddenly make them run away from it.
Whoever is chosen,
I will appoint him over it,
for who is like me?
Who will appoint me a time?
Who is the shepherd who can stand before me?”
Therefore hear the counsel of Yahweh
that he has taken against Babylon;
and his purposes
that he has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans:
Surely they will drag them away,
even the little ones of the flock.
Surely he will make their habitation desolate over them.
The earth trembles at the noise of the taking of Babylon.
The cry is heard among the nations.
As we read earlier, there were those who thought that Jeremiah was helping Babylon’s cause by discouraging the people with his words. It’s pretty clear that Jeremiah was simply speaking God’s words because God also had quite a few things to say against Babylon. I think that Jeremiah had something bad to say about all of the countries in the area. There’s a lesson for us even in these things.
Just because someone says something that sounds discouraging, doesn’t mean that it isn’t right. It’s easy for us to make the assumption that we are doing fine, when actually we have been sinning. It is discouraging to hear that we have been sinning, but it is very arrogant for us to pretend that we haven’t. When God warns us of the consequences of our sin, the most positive thing that we can do is repent. Attacking the messenger just makes our sin bigger.
The fact that Jeremiah had something bad to say about everyone, reminds us of another basic Gospel truth. One of the important purposes of God’s word, is to expose our sin. If our sin isn’t exposed, we can’t see that we are sinners that need saving. God’s word through Jeremiah informed all of the nations in the area that they were all guilty before God, including Israel. The fact that all have sinned, is foundational to the Gospel. Let’s look at what God told us through Paul:
for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;
No nation is good enough to stand before God and that’s because no individual is good enough either, except for one. Jesus is the one who was good enough to stand before God and He spent His life in order to save us from the consequences of ours. Just as Jesus saves us individually, He will also be saving the nations of the world someday too because He is the only one who can stand before God without being judged by His word.