-The word of the LORD concerning Babylon is lengthy and condemning because of their haughtiness and idolatry. God had given them temporary power and authority, but it would end in disaster, horror, desolation, and shame coming from the north. Their idols would be shattered eventually by the Medes and the Persians, even though at the time of this prophecy they seemed immoveable and secure (Daniel 5:30-31). They would one day face God’s wrath, punishment, and crushing for mistreating His people, and would pay a horrible price for their insensitivity to the ways of the LORD. Israel, on the other hand, is given a positive message as they will one day turn their faces back to the land of covenant, which was guaranteed never to be forgotten, to join with the LORD their God (Jeremiah 50:1-5). God says that His people have become lost sheep because their shepherds led them astray to worship idols and false gods on the mountains and hills of their homeland, and they have forgotten their resting place. Those who have devoured them as adversaries said, “We are not guilty, inasmuch as they have sinned against the LORD who is the habitation of righteousness, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers,” did so to their detriment because they too are now found guilty of worshipping false deities in vanity (Jeremiah 50:6-7). God is arousing and bringing up against them a horde of great nations from the north to take them captive and plunder them by His Divine Word (Jeremiah 50:8-10). The reason is given in the next verses. Babylon pillaged His heritage (Israel and in particular Judah) in jubilation in the time of their strength and might. Therefore, they will be ashamed, humiliated, and least among the nations becoming a wilderness and a parched desert. God indignation and vengeance is upon the Chaldeans now by the prophetic word, and they will become completely desolate, running for their lives in fear and terror (Jeremiah 50:11-16).
-Israel’s history of being conquered is recounted with the first destroyer Assyria and then later by the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar. The promise is that Babylon will be punished severely by scattering and driving away just like Assyria, and that the Israeli remnant would repopulate in satisfaction. At that time, God declares, a search for iniquity will be made with none found. The sins of Israel and Judah will be pardoned (Jeremiah 50:17-20). This is should be taken as a Messianic prophesy, which is still coming in the future.
-For Babylon, they were caught in a snare and unaware. The work of the LORD was designed to draw them to Him, but they resisted and continued to worship their own false deities in feigned ignorance. Now the repayment according to their work was to be held in account. There was no excuse for them to claim now, and they would pay the price for their disobedience. They oppressed the LORD’s people in their captivity holding them fast for their own selfish benefit refusing to let them go. The God of the Universe was not pleased with this. For the Jewish people’s “Redeemer is strong, the LORD of hosts (all spiritual powers) is His Name; He will vigorously plead their case so that He may bring rest to the earth, but turmoil to the inhabitants of Babylon (Jeremiah 50:21-34).” The sword would come against the Chaldeans, their inhabitants, her officials, her wise men, her oracle priests (who will become fools), her mighty men, their horses, their chariots, the foreigners who are in the midst of her, and her treasures which would be plundered (Jeremiah 50:35-37). There would be drought and famine in this land of idols because the people were madly in love with them rather than their Creator God. Jackals and ostriches would inhabit this land rather than people from generation to generation just as Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors (Jeremiah 50:38-40). The enemy is coming against Babylon from the north as a great nation with many kings aroused from the remotest parts of the earth with cruelty and no mercy. They leave the king of Babylon with limp hands, distress, and agony like a woman in childbirth as he hears the report about them. In an instant they will make them run away in fear and panic because the LORD is ultimately in control and will preside over the affairs of all the nations’ raisings and fallings. No plan formed against Him will prosper. He is the One, the only One, who can shake the earth and make an outcry heard among the nations. *Application* Babylon is a biblical symbol of anything that sets itself up against God. The LORD has the ultimate authority and will rule no matter what. We see here in the passage that He will give opportunity to turn to Him repeatedly and with compassion He will heal and give rest. However, if we reject His superiority, the antithesis will happen. Babylon rejected the One-True God for their vain idols and paid the price historically as a nation and futuristically as symbolized as any opponent of God. Don’t let yourself be duped into thinking that you are loftier than God. He wins in the end and wants to bless as His faithful, fearful, and blessed servants.
Verses to Memorize: Jeremiah 50:29, 34