Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry. — Jeremiah 51:36
Even now I can hear my mother’s words as if it were yesterday. “If anybody tries to do that again, just let me know, and I will go and talk to them!” she would say emphatically.
These were the “scary” promises of my little mother, a dynamic lady who is several inches shorter than me now that I am fully grown. She was definitely the champion of my siblings and me. If we ever had trouble at school, she was the proverbial mother hen, ready to go and protect her chicks. Mom had a way of saying exactly what she wanted to say, and my siblings and I knew she was on our side as long as we were behaving ourselves. She was a master at pleading our causes!
Her verbal abilities ultimately could prove to be embarrassing, though, so school incidents were not always reported at home. At times it was just easier to put up with a trying situation, rather than to have our teachers and fellow students know that Mom had come to take care of things. But it was always good and reassuring to know we had someone at home who would stick up for us — whether or not we chose to enlist her help!
In our focus verse, God was declaring Himself to be the Champion for the Children of Israel. He would plead their cause against their tormenters because He loved them, and would protect and deliver them when they were obedient to Him. In this portion of Scripture, God was pronouncing judgment upon the nation of Babylon, and wreaking vengeance on behalf of His people.
Let us not forget, as we go about our work and daily lives, that God is our Champion, our Advocate, our Protector, and our Defender. We are His children, and we have the assurance that He will be our source of help in times of trouble. We can call upon Him and rely on Him when we face difficult circumstances. He is ready to plead our cause! And He is always available to help.
In today’s text, Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Babylon. Throughout Israel’s history, God at times used other nations, including Babylon (the Chaldeans, as they were frequently called), to implement His plan against the disobedient Jewish people. However, the wickedness of the idolatrous Babylonian people was not to go unpunished. Babylon would be destroyed.
God declared that the devastation of this nation would be so extensive that the rubble would not even be re-used for new construction, and the land would be without inhabitant and desolate forever (verses 25-26). Through the prophet, God said He would call for the surrounding nations to come and attack. The mighty men of Babylon apparently felt completely safe within their strong city walls, so when this prophecy was fulfilled and they discovered enemies inside the city, they fled, panic-stricken. Just as He had said, the Lord threshed Babylon as grain is threshed (verse 33).
Nebuchadrezzar had taken all the riches and fine things of Judea, devouring the good and discarding the remains. Therefore, God proclaimed that He would have vengeance, drying up all available water and making Chaldea notably desolate. When this came to pass, Babylon was taken while the inhabitants were celebrating with revelry and wine. Since it was late in the day, some were killed while asleep in bed, suddenly thrusting them into a perpetual sleep (verse 39).
Sheshach (verse 41) was the name of a goddess and idol, and perhaps in this context the name meant Babylon. “The praise of the whole earth,” referred to Babylon’s reputation as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. When it was destroyed, wave after wave of Babylon’s enemies came upon her as a sea, overrunning the city.
Bel (verse 44) was the Babylonians’ supreme deity, and God said He would require all of the treasures stolen for dedication to this idol be returned. Also, nations would no longer flock to admire this great city. In verses 45-46, God warned His people to flee away from Babylon; He asked them to remember Jerusalem, perhaps encouraging them to go and restore the city (verses 50-51). They were ashamed that their Temple had been desecrated by strangers. In verses 52-53, the Lord promised that even if Babylon was fortified to the heavens, He would still avenge His people.
Verses 59-64 record how Jeremiah asked Seraiah to write the prophecy against Babylon and read it to the Children of Israel there. He was then to tie a stone to the prophecy and throw it in the river, signifying the demise of the city.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The pronouncement of judgment against the nations
I. Against Babylon
9. The description of Babylon’s destruction (51:25-58)
10. The instructions to Seraiah (51:59-64)
God is just, and ultimately will not tolerate any form of wickedness. If we live righteously and follow His guidelines, He will be our Advocate.