Jeremiah 49-51

The New Neighborhood

As Jeremiah concludes the prophesies God has given him regarding the neighboring nations the longest one is reserved for Babylon. This prophesy was given before the fall of Jerusalem. In Chapter 51 starting in verse 29 we read that King Zedekiah was called to Babylon and this prophesy was given to Seraiah who accompanied Zedekiah on the trip. Seraiah was to read it to the exiles who had been taken to Babylon previously. The prophesy describes God’s judgment and permanent destruction of Babylon. After it was read to the people Seraiah was to tie a rock to the scroll and throw it into the Euphrates river to demonstrate that Babylon would not rise again.

So what were the exiles to do? Jeremiah had previously written them a letter telling them exactly what to do and how to live in Babylon. His words are contained in Chapter 29. The exiles were stuck in Babylon. There was nothing they could do about it. However they were to not get attached to Babylon nor to the ways of Babylon. They were in Babylon but not to be of Babylon. Yes, they were to build houses and raise families and pray for the prosperity of the place where they were living, but they were to remain the children of God and to increase, not decrease. In other words they were to bloom where they were planted.

The same is true for the Church today. We are in the world but we are not to be of the world. In the book of Revelation we read of two Babylons. The spirit of the antichrist is establishing these two Babylons as the way of life. One is the false religious system. The other is the governing power and commercial system based on greed that promises hope and prosperity but delivers enslavement. Though different, these two Babylons have one thing in common. Whichever one follows, they will follow because they put their faith in that one.

This is dangerous. Certainly we, like the exiles, need to make a living and survive, but we, as the Church, must remember that we are God’s children and God is our provider.  We also are in Babylon but we are not to be of Babylon. We are to be of God in Babylon shining the glory of God to those who are lost in Babylon. The Church is to be a lighthouse that points people to God and true hope. Matthew 5:10-16

These two Babylons will be destroyed and will never rise again. When the Lord returns He will set up His Kingdom and will reign for a thousand years. It will be a time of perfect peace and a perfect economy without greed and without corrupt governments. The Lord will reign in true and perfect righteousness and justice.  The world will be as God always intended it.

So why does the world have to be the way it is now? It is because we have freedom to choose Babylon or God. As we live and struggle in this world presently we are getting a sense of what life is really like in corrupt Babylon. I don’t know about you but I would certainly like something better. That is what God promises. We have a choice and a promise and we have freedom to choose.

Where we put our faith shows the choice we have made. We have to live in this world but let us not make this world our home! God has a new neighborhood He wants us to move to.

For further reading read Jeremiah 29 again. Also Deuteronomy 4:1-8

Pastor Dave