Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for August 20

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By Jay T. Robertson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, University of Mobile


Jeremiah 50:11–20, 33–34

In this chapter, Jeremiah prophesied against Babylon. God used the Babylonians as his instrument of judgment against Judah. But the fact that God uses a person or nation to fulfill His righteous purposes does not excuse them from their sins.

Jeremiah wrote this prophecy to remind the people of Judah of God’s faithfulness to His covenant. God would hold the Babylonians accountable for having mistreated and harmed His covenant people. Babylon would be invaded by a coalition of nations from the north.

The sons of Israel and Judah would begin their journey home from exile following the plunder and destruction of Babylon (50:10).

Vengeance Exacted (11–16)

Babylon had rejoiced in its plundering of Judah. Its proud exultation was compared to a cow treading grain and eating whatever she wanted and to stallions attacking with arrogant confidence.

These two word pictures describe the self-indulgence and arrogance of the Babylonians as they attacked Judah. Their sense of superiority manifested itself in a disregard for others and the presumption that they could destroy any nation in their path.

Babylon, which had been first among the nations, would now become the least among the nations. It would become as desolate as an uninhabited desert.

Those who saw her ruins would be appalled and scoff at the devastation of this once proud nation.

Just as the Lord had used Babylon as His instrument of judgment against Judah, now He was going to raise up the enemies of Babylon as His instruments of judgment to invade and destroy it. In verses 14–16, the Lord called on the enemies of Babylon to begin the siege of Babylon. He urged them to spare none of their weapons because Babylon “has sinned against the Lord.” Babylon’s invaders took vengeance on Babylon for its evil. God’s purpose would be accomplished.

Return Promised (17–20)

Israel was described as a stray lamb that had been scattered and devoured by lions. The first “lion” to devour Israel was Sargon II, the king of Assyria. The Assyrians completed their conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 or 721 B.C. The second “lion” was Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. The Babylonians first came to Judah in 605 B.C. They destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Like a shepherd leading his flock back to pasture, the Lord promised He would bring Israel back to its own land. They would prosper under God’s protection and provision.

The people would once again experience satisfaction in the restored land of their inheritance.

Most importantly, the Lord declared that He would forgive all their iniquity. They would have a renewed relationship with the Lord. Everyone who turns from their sin and trusts in Christ will be forgiven of all their iniquity and sin!

Redemption Assured (33–34)

Although the promise of freedom and restoration to the land of Judah seemed unbelievable to the Babylonian exiles, the Lord of Armies assured them it would happen as He said. The Lord acknowledged that His people had been oppressed by their enemies. The Lord of Armies guaranteed their release from captivity and return to the promised land.

No power can thwart the Lord of Armies when He champions the cause of His people. Our God is just and faithful. He will do everything He says He will do.

May He strengthen our faith to keep on trusting Him.