A Prophecy Concerning Babylon (Jeremiah 50 & 51)

jeremiah

Scripture Texts:

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Jeremiah 50

Jeremiah 51

1. Who is the meanest looking person you know?

2. Is your nominee in Question #1 more like a velvet covered brick (soft on the outside, tough on the inside) or tough cookie (with a soft, creamy inside)?

3. Did you ever see any of the “Star Wars” movies? What impression did you have of Darth Vader and the Empire? Does that evil empire remind you of any contemporary nations?

4. The two chapters in today’s study is by far the longest of Jeremiah’s oracles of judgment against a foreign nation. Just as he said in chapter 25, Jeremiah holds out the “cup of wrath” to Babylon. For what sins will they “drink the cup” (Jeremiah 50:2, 11, 15, 24, 29, 32, 36; Jeremiah 51:9, 24, 44, 47, 49, 52; see also Habakkuk 1:6 – 11)?

5. Who will God use to punish Babylon (Jeremiah 50:3, 9, 41; Jeremiah 51:11, 14, 27, 28, 53)? What does that tell you about what it will take to knock out this evil empire for good?

6. What will be the effect on the Babylonians themselves (Jeremiah 50:2, 3, 9 – 16, 21 – 27, 30 – 32, 35 – 40, 43 – 45; Jeremiah 51:1 – 4, 13, 14, 20 – 23, 25, 26, 29 – 33, 36 – 44, 52 – 58)? How can God punish Babylon for invading Judah when He approved the invasion for His own purposes? What principles of retribution should any person or nation keep in mind when they go to war?

7. What will be the effect on the nations of the world (Jeremiah 50:2; Jeremiah 51:9, 27, 44, 48)? How do you account for the different responses?

8. What will be the effect on the Jews (Jeremiah 50:4 – 8, 17 – 20, 28, 33, 34; Jeremiah 51:5, 6, 9, 10, 45 – 47, 5o, 51)? Why is it crucial that Israel and Judah take the initiative in seeking God?

9. What is to be done with this message (Jeremiah 51:59 – 63)? How would it comfort the exiles in Babylon? How is the fate of this scroll like the fate of Babylon (Jeremiah 51:64)?

10. How has God used the Babylonians to punish Judah (Jeremiah 21:1 – 7)? Should the Jews have fought against them (Jeremiah 21:8 – 10)?

11. If a fall is imminent, why does Jeremiah tell the exiles earlier to settle into society? Why no mention of the 70-year captivity (Jeremiah 25:12)? How and why were they supposed to pray about the Babylonians (Jeremiah 29:7)?

12. What overall picture of God do you get from this prophecy and the preceding ones?

13. Why do you think Jeremiah’s prophecy ends with God’s judgment on Babylon? How is this a fitting conclusion to the book?

14. Just because God uses a nation or a person to carry out His plan, does that mean God is pleased with them? Can you think of any other instances where God uses bad people to accomplish His will? What do these incidents tell you about God’s power and plan?

15. Does Babylon stand for anything else in prophecy, besides itself (see Revelation chapters 17 and 18)? If so, to what future event might these chapters point?

16. What feelings and actions do you think God wanted these chapters to inspire in the Jews in exile? What feelings and actions does He want them to inspire in you?

17. What do you need most in your life?

  • destruction of enemies?
  • restoration of fortunes?
  • raised banner in the field?

What would you like to see happen in one of these areas?

18. If God did to you as you have done to others, what would be your fate? Do you get a sense of basic fairness in life: “what goes around comes around”? Or does life seen unfair or unpredictable?

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