Explore the Bible Study: Just

8:44 PM

When we observe people around us “getting away with things that are wrong,” it probably bothers us a bit. You might even wonder why they get away with things, and you can’t. The Explore the Bible Study: Just will remind us, as believers, that while judgment for wrongdoings might not ever take place this side of eternity, eventually God will judge.

Up until now in the book of Jeremiah, it seems as if God’s judgment was only against His chosen people. It seemed as if the surrounding countries who didn’t follow God were getting away with much worse.  But this wasn’t the case.  It was now time for God to reveal through Jeremiah how He was going to judge the nations. No one could escape God’s judgment for rebellion and sin. Jeremiah announced each judgment against each nation in Jeremiah 46–52.

  • Egypt’s judgment was announced first in Jeremiah 46.
  • The Philistines’ judgment was announced in Jeremiah 47.
  • Moab’s judgment was announced in Jeremiah 48.
  • The Ammonites’ judgment was announced in Jeremiah 49 as was Edom’s. Those who witnessed the judgment against Edom would compare it to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jeremiah 49:17-18).
  • In Jeremiah 49, Jeremiah also announced the judgment that would take place against Syria, including Damascus (Jeremiah 49:23-39).
  • Babylon’s judgment came last and is described in Jeremiah 50:1 - Jeremiah 51:64.

It’s safe to say by this series of judgments, God was revealing Himself to the entire world as the Lord God of Armies. No one could escape His judgment. This brings us to the passage for this session. It looks further into the judgment God announced against Babylon in Jeremiah 50:11-34.

In this passage we will be reminded that God is just. While He did discipline His people for their sins, He also offered forgiveness and redemption. But, for those who refuse to acknowledge their sin before a holy God, there will be eternal judgment. Knowing this should cause believers to live differently in a world that seems so unjust.

First, God reveals the attitudes and actions of those who He is going to judge.

God Judges Those Who Mock His People—Jeremiah 50:11-16

Why are the Babylonians being judged even though they were used by God as an instrument of judgment against Israel and Judah? What were the results of God’s judgment?

The Babylonians’ haughty attitude and their view that they were invincible brought about God’s judgment. The statement “frolic like a young cow treading grain and neigh like stallions” highlights Babylon’s arrogance. 

The word “inheritance” indicates God’s special relationship with His people (Isaiah19:25). The Babylonians saw Judah as just another conquest, but God would avenge His people. 

The judgment of God was going to be comprehensive. Babylon would be humiliated and put to shame. They would become a secondary nation lagging behind all other nations. They would no longer be a superior nation. Their land would become an arid wilderness and a desert. Babylon would be a place no one would want to visit because it would be an appalling place. People would make her the brunt of her jokes. She would be threatened on all sides by enemies, and she would be helpless because there were no defense towers or protective walls. Everyone who lived there would “flee to his own land.” They would cut and run to the places from which they came to live in Babylon.

Jeremiah cited Babylon’s sins against the Lord as the reason for her punishment. The Babylonians earlier had been God’s instrument of justice, but they had shown no mercy to their captives, in addition to their pride and idolatry. The empire assumed it would last forever, but Babylon’s judgment would be swift and complete. Babylon now would experience the pain she had inflicted on others.

Believers can face the future knowing God will exact justice. In some cases, that justice won’t come until eternity. Nevertheless, He will bring justice in His perfect timing. 

What should this help you understand about how God deals with nations? With individuals?

(From the ETB Personal Study Guide, p. 113): How should these verses prompt believers to pray? How should they impact the way we face uncertain times?

As we watch world events unfold, we should always look for God’s hand in each situation. We should pray and seek wisdom from Him so that we can know how to respond and live during these experiences. We should not find solace in the judgment of those who reject Christ but sympathy for them knowing that, but for His grace, we too could be experiencing the wrath of God. 

We also see in this passage that along with justice God also brings restoration to His own people.

God Restores His People When They Turn to Him—Jeremiah 50:17-20

How does Jeremiah’s use of the imagery of Israel being a stray lamb being chased by lions help you understand the way God viewed Israel?

For most of the Jews’ history, they faced powerful enemies and had little chance against these oppressors—much like a stray lamb that, separated from the shepherd, couldn’t stand against lions. God was going to rescue that stray lamb and restore it to its pasture. He would restore His people to their homeland where agricultural and pastoral life could return to normal. 

Jeremiah uses two nations like bookends to describe how God would restore the people of God. First was Assyria. Jeremiah says they “devoured” God’s people. In 721 BC, the Assyrians conquered Samaria, capital of Israel’s Northern Kingdom and deported much of the population to other regions (2 Kings 17:6, 2 Kings 24). 

Next, the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar had conquered the Southern Kingdom and crushed his bones. In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, burned the city and its temple, and deported much of the population to Babylon (Jeremiah 39:1-10). 

These twin conquests of God’s people by the Assyrians and Babylonians marked two of the darkest hours in Old Testament history. But God would restore His people and judge the rebellious Babylonians as He did the Assyrians.

God would not only rescue His people, but they would be cleansed of their iniquity (sin). Both Israel’s and Judah’s sins would not be found because they would be forgiven!

What makes this passage so special for believers? How should this change your perspective on life and on God?

Resting In His Redemption—Jeremiah 50:33-34

Read Jeremiah 50:33-34 and consider how this should change the way you view your circumstances today and the future Christ promises upon His second return.

What results would come from God’s Redemption and being their Champion?

Which of these words--Redemption or Champion-- are most meaningful to you as a believer?Which of these words give you the most comfort?

Jeremiah affirmed their Redeemer is strong. The word Redeemer denotes someone who rescues or ransoms another from a particular situation.  Jeremiah also assured his readers that God would fervently champion their cause. God Himself would represent them and contend for them. Therefore, they had nothing to fear.

God's Words to Us Today

Imagine these words are for believers today. We may be oppressed. We may be held captive to the influence of past sins or by the rules of unjust and ungodly nations who refuse to release us. But our Redeemer is strong. He is our champion who will one day bring rest to us and to the earth upon Christ’s return, but turmoil would be reserved for those who reject God and torment those who have been redeemed.

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. 

Download PDF Version

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LifeWay Explore The Bible Resources

These teaching helps are intended to be used as a supplement to your study of Lifeway's Explore the Bible curriculum resources. Portions of this material are taken directly from content copyrighted to Lifeway Christian Resources Explore the Bible and is used with permission.  This material has not been reviewed by Lifeway Christian Resources. 

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