Jeremiah – God uses the nations

A few decades later, the prophet Jeremiah follows very similar themes to Isaiah. Writing just before and during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, the book of Jeremiah is full of God’s condemnation of a corrupt Judah and of the certainty that he would punish them. Again, we are reminded that God is the creator and controller of the universe (e.g. Jer 10:6-13; 23:23-24; 31:35) “Look, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for Me?” (Jer 32:27). And, again, this sovereignty is shown in his control of the surrounding nations, and his decision to bring Babylon to attack Judah (e.g. Jer 4:6; 5:15; 9:15; 25:8-14; 29:16-19; 32:28). Jeremiah shares Isaiah’s understanding that God will use evil nations to achieve his good deeds, that the nations are still evil, and that they will be punished for their evil.

 8 “Therefore, this is what the LORD of Hosts says: ‘Because you have not obeyed My words,  9 I am going to send for all the families of the north’– this is the LORD’s declaration– ‘and send for My servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will bring them against this land, against its residents, and against all these surrounding nations, and I will completely destroy them and make them a desolation, a derision, and ruins forever.  10 I will eliminate the sound of joy and gladness from them– the voice of the bridegroom and the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.

 11 This whole land will become a desolate ruin, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for 70 years.  12 When the 70 years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation’– this is the LORD’s declaration– ‘the land of the Chaldeans, for their guilt, and I will make it a ruin forever.  13 I will bring on that land all My words I have spoken against it, all that is written in this book that Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations.  14 For many nations and great kings will enslave them, and I will repay them according to their deeds and the work of their hands.'” (Jer 25:8-14)

 In this passage, we see the next 70 years of history laid out according to God’s plan. Babylon is simply a tool in that plan, and one that will be punished. Later, we see more detail added to God’s plan as he raises another nation to be his tool:

 11 Sharpen the arrows! Fill the quivers! The LORD has put it into the mind of the kings of the Medes because His plan is aimed at Babylon to destroy her, for it is the LORD’s vengeance, vengeance for His temple.

20 You are My battle club, My weapons of war. With you I will smash nations; with you I will bring kingdoms to ruin.  21 With you I will smash the horse and its rider; with you I will smash the chariot and its rider.  22 With you I will smash man and woman; with you I will smash the old man and the youth; with you I will smash the young man and the virgin.  23 With you I will smash the shepherd and his flock; with you I will smash the farmer and his ox-team. With you I will smash governors and officials.  24 “I will repay Babylon and all the residents of Chaldea for all their evil they have done in Zion before your very eyes.” This is the LORD’s declaration. (Jer 51:11, 20-24)

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