This is what the Lord Almighty says: “The people of Israel are oppressed, and the people of Judah as well. All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go. Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land, but unrest to those who live in Babylon. “A sword against the Babylonians!” declares the Lord — “against those who live in Babylon and against her officials and wise men! A sword against her false prophets! They will become fools. A sword against her warriors! They will be filled with terror. A sword against her horses and chariots and all the foreigners in her ranks! They will become weaklings. A sword against her treasures! They will be plundered. A drought on her waters! They will dry up. For it is a land of idols, idols that will go mad with terror. “So desert creatures and hyenas will live there, and there the owl will dwell. It will never again be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation. As I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah along with their neighboring towns,” declares the Lord , “so no one will live there; no people will dwell in it. – Jeremiah 50:33-40
God shows up for the people of Judah and Israel in this passage. They are oppressed and captives in a strange land. Kind of like all of us I suppose. We are all captives to the ruler of this land of oblivion that we walk and live within. God comes as a redeemer for the people of Judah and Israel, and He does the same for us. Once again the kernel of the Gospel is buried here in Jeremiah.
The captors will be conquered and the captives set free. God promises to bring “A drought on her waters! They will dry up. For it is a land of idols, idols that will go mad with terror.” Babylon is a land of water and rivers so to say that these waters will dry up is a devastating prediction. It would be like someone saying to a modern city or state that all their money will become worthless and they will no longer be able to trade.
The land of Babylon is a land of idols. These idols come in many shapes and sizes, but all will be overcome by the sheer might and power of God when He takes on the Babylonians. The lush and successful land of the Babylonians will be reduced to a place that will “never again be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation”. In the end God will win.
The part of this passage that resonates for me is early on when God says “All their captors hold them fast, refusing to let them go. Yet their Redeemer is strong; the Lord Almighty is his name. He will vigorously defend their cause so that he may bring rest to their land.” I am not sure what meaning the people of Judah and Israel would have attached to the term “redeemer”. They were probably not thinking of a young man who would show up in Galilee. A god-man who would would be pierced for our transgressions and die to redeem all of us.
It is reassuring that our redeemer is strong, stronger than anyone or anything that holds us captive. No matter what idol, habit, practice, or sin holds us captive. He has broken all the snares that hold us tight around the ankles and keep us from finding the eternal rest that God desires for us. He will “vigorously defend” our cause against the powers of this world, but His defense was not what people expected.
Prayer: God thank You for being our Redeemer and setting us free from all that would bind us and prevent us from resting in You.