In today’s lesson, God expands the judgment against the king of Judah to all the kings of the earth, making it clear that there is a day of reckoning if one refuses to heed God’s words.
Jeremiah Chapter 25
Lessons from the text
The Arrogance of Sinners
When God decrees judgment against the rulers of nations for their sins, there will be some who refuse to accept it (v. 28). Those who sin and have authority can easily develop the mentality that they can get away with anything they please. Those who are manipulative need not even have authority to foster this arrogance; they can twist words and appearances to navigate their way out of punishment in this life. The problem for such people is that while they may hide their sin from others and escape all consequences for their actions in this life, they cannot hide their sin from God and He will enforce punishment on them.
A polished liar can convince a judge and jury that he is innocent yet he cannot convince God. God searches man’s heart and tries the reins (Jer. 17:10). He knows every thought that crosses your mind. To think that you can tell God that you refuse to reap the repercussions for your sins is, to be blunt, ridiculous. Are you better than God? Do you have the authority to instruct God on what He can and cannot do? Of course not.
God gives every human a conscious to tell us right from wrong. Everybody knows that lying is wrong. To think that you can do wrong and never pay the consequences is to deny the very truth you know within yourself: God will punish the sinner because wickedness deserves retribution. Do not be as arrogant as the rulers describes in this chapter. Acknowledge that you must pay the price for your sins if you do not repent and submit yourself to the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 Jehoiakim was made king when Necho King of Egypt was victorious over his brother, Jehoahaz. He taxed the people to pay tribute to Egypt, but during his reign Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was able to conquer enough land that Egypt lost its hold on Judah, which left Jehoiakim to fend off Babylon. The successful Babylonian siege came during his son's reign. (II Ki. 24:31-10) Since Jehoiakim reigned eleven years, this prophecy comes about a third of the way through his reign when he still paid tribute to Egypt.
2-7 Directing his message to all the people, Jeremiah reminds them that he has been preaching for twenty-three years. During that time God's message has been the same: the people are to turn from sin and stay faithful to God by not worshiping any other god, and then God will allow them to live peacefully in the promised land. Yet the people have refused to heed these words spoken by Jeremiah and the other true prophets.
8-9 In response to the rebellious hearts of the people, God will cause them to be destroyed to the point that they are disgraced. Noteworthy is that God calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant. While the Babylonian king is not a worshiper of the Lord, he is still an instrument for God's divine punishment. That is, one does not have to be a believer to be used for God's purposes.
10 The destruction will be so complete that the hearts of the people will failed them to the point that they have no more cause for joy.
11 God finally answers Isaiah's question from eighty years earlier: the people will not be under God's judgment forever but for seventy years (Isa. 64:9-12). This number is determined by the failure of the people to keep the seven-year Sabbath, one year of exile for every year the people failed to observe the rest on the land (Lev. 25:1-7, 26:27-35, II Chro. 36:21).
12-14 While God has used Babylon as an instrument for His judgment, because of Babylon's sins, God will judge the nation. When the wicked of this world have fulfilled their part of God's plan, God will cause them to give an account for their lives and wicked choices. Noteworthy is that God foretells the destruction of Babylon so that when it occurs, the world may know that He is the one responsible. This is a witness to all the nations that He is the true God.
15-17 Every sin that is committed incurs the wrath of God, and He stores it up for a day of reckoning against the sinner (Rom. 2:5). See also Rev 15:1.
16-26 God's judgment against sin is universal. The Jews, despite their covenant relationship with Him, are still judged for their sins the same way that the Gentiles are.
At this point Egypt has put Israel to tribute and taken its former king, Jehoahaz, captive. Judah is beginning to fall yet they still would not hearken to God, believing the false prophets who prophesied peace instead of those who warned of the judgment of God.
27-29 Having chosen wickedness over righteousness, the nations of the world will be completely consumed by the judgment of God. No one is above God’s wrath. Because God is sovereign over all creation, whatever He decrees will come to pass regardless of what one feels or believes. Such is why it is vital to hearken to Him and ensure one is in a right relationship with Him. Even a covenant relationship with Him like what the Jews have is not sufficient to spare one from His wrath; faith and obedience are required.
30-33 The quantity of destruction described here is comparable to the destruction that will be unleashed in the last days. Then, Jesus will “tread the winepress”, killing the wicked of the nations through His spoken word, and the dead will be left as a witness to the remainder of humanity that evil leads to destruction (Ps. 110, Isa. 34:1-17, 63:1-6, Rev. 19:1-21).
34-37 The shepherds and principals of the flock are the rulers of the nations. God calls them to repentance (represented by wallowing in ashes) because, since they have refused to seek righteousness, God has stored up against them a day of wrath in which He will destroy their lands and kill the wicked rulers. The kings, princes, and rulers have allowed their arrogance to lead them to believe that they are exempt from God’s judgment (v. 28), but God here says that they will have no way of escape. They bring judgment not only on themselves but also on their lands.
38 Israel, God’s covert, is not exempt from the universal judgment of God against the nations. God will remove His divine protection, allowing the oppressor to come and raid the land. This will be fulfilled immediately by Babylon (v. 9) and distantly through the reign of the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27, Rev. 13:1-18).
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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