Daily Devotional

May 9, 2020

Daybreak: Jeremiah 51:1-24

“He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.” (Jeremiah 51:15)

Creation speaks of the Creator, but we must be receptive to discern the message. Edna was one who heard God speak to her heart through the splendor of His creation.

Edna had been saved as a child, but she let the love of God slip out of her life. She married and had children, and their family was living in Bozeman, Montana. Montana is called Big Sky Country, and the reason was apparent from their home: they could see mountains out of every window, and the sky was truly lovely. Edna says, “From sunrise to sunset, I could not get away from the fact that the Lord had given His creation such beauty. Many times when my husband was at work and our children were at school or outside, I would kneel and pray, thanking God for my good life, for my family, and for some of the most beautiful sunsets anyone could ever see. I also started praying that the Lord would make a way for me to come back to Him.

“One night we received a call that our son and some of his friends were in a terrible car accident. My husband left for the hospital immediately, but I had to stay home with our younger children. I knelt and asked the Lord to please spare our son’s life, and told Him that I would give Him my heart if He would just intervene. The next morning I called my mother and asked for prayer. 

“God answered, and our son’s life was spared. But from that time on, when I looked at God’s creation, I was convicted. It seemed to me that the sky got prettier and the snow whiter. Everywhere there was such beauty, and I knew that I did not deserve it. The more I saw of the beauty God had created, the worse I felt.

“In time, we moved back to Oregon. Then I saw some things happening in my husband’s life that I didn’t like, and I started praying for him. Also, I began reading the Bible. In the spring of 1983, while kneeling in my living room and praying for my husband, the Lord once again showed me my need. I asked Him to forgive me, which He so graciously did. Now I love to look at the sky! When it is exceptionally beautiful, I know the Lord is going to appear at any second.”

Edna heard the voice of the Creator because she was willing to listen. In contrast, the people of Judah and also the Chaldeans of Babylon had rejected the Creator and made their own gods. In today’s text, God, whose infinite power, wisdom, and understanding are clearly apparent in the works of His Hands, is contrasted with the utterly worthless idols worshiped by the Chaldeans.

Has God spoken to your heart through the magnificence of His creation? Let us make sure our hearts are open and receptive to hear Him, however and whenever He speaks to us.

Background

Today’s text continues the pronouncements of God’s judgments against Babylon and the Chaldeans. 

The chapter begins with the declaration that Babylon’s enemies would come against them like a “destroying wind.” Next the prophet gave a word picture of winnowing grain. In the ancient East, corn or wheat was crushed by animals walking on it or by running a heavy wheel over it. Then it was tossed in the air with a shovel so the wind would blow away the chaff and the grain would fall to the ground. 

The word brigandine (verse 3) means a coat of mail, but that armor would not be sufficient to protect the Chaldean soldiers. Their nation would be crushed and destroyed because of their sins against God. 

Although God had severely punished Israel and Judah for their rebellion, He had not totally forsaken them. He had used Babylon as His tool, but God also promised vengeance on that nation because of its own sins. God’s people would be vindicated. Those who wished to help Babylon would not be able to deliver it (verse 9). 

“Thou that dwellest upon many waters” (verse 13), may have referred to Babylon’s location on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, or the city’s numerous irrigation canals. This phrase also may have referred to the many nations and peoples that Babylon ruled. 

The prophet said Babylon’s destruction would come from the Medes (verse 11). The Medes became a notable force about one hundred years before the time of Jeremiah. Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon married the granddaughter of Cyaxares (called Darius in the Bible), who was king of the Medes. This helped form an alliance between the Babylonians and the Medes, and together they defeated the Assyrians (who had taken Israel captive). Under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon took the nation of Judah captive. When Nebuchadnezzar died, the alliance with the Medes broke down. The Medes and Cyrus, King of Persia, joined together and overthrew Babylon. 

Verses 15-19 repeat the message of Jeremiah 10:12-16 and tell of God’s sovereignty. He is omnipotent (all powerful) for “He hath made the earth by his power.” He is omniscient (all knowing) for “he hath established the world by his wisdom.” He designed the heavens and created the rain cycle. By contrast, trust in idols is vain, and the Babylonians’ man-made gods would be no help to them. 

Some commentators believe verses 20-24 refer to Babylon, which had been allowed by God to capture Judah. The Babylonian armies had been excessive in their evil and ravaged the land, burned the Temple, and profaned items that had been consecrated to God. Consequently, their nation would be destroyed.

Amplified Outline

(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III.   The pronouncement of judgment against the nations
      I.   Against Babylon 
            6.   The impending doom of Babylon (51:1-10)
            7.   The instructions to the Medes (51:11-14)
            8.   The revelation of God’s sovereignty (51:15-24)

A Closer Look

  1. What did the prophet say God would fill Babylon with?
     
  2. Why do you think God did not utterly forsake Judah even though the people had sinned greatly?
     
  3. What can we learn from God’s faithfulness to fulfill the prophecies about Babylon?

Conclusion

Today let’s ask ourselves: are we looking at creation and heeding the Creator?

Reference Materials