[Optional longer reading: Jer. 46:1–47:7]
Since technology allows us to record television shows, many people now simply skip the commercials or slow scenes and get on to the “good” parts. That’s how we might feel about Jeremiah 46 through 51 and God’s “Oracles against the Nations.” But we will miss important truths by fast forwarding past these chapters.
It’s important to recall that when God commissioned Jeremiah, He called him “as a prophet to the nations” (1:5), not just to Judah. We now see God’s message to the surrounding nations as well, the first being to Egypt. In a series of three different oracles, God declared Egyptian defeat, retreat, and destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. Despite their great preparations for war, their powerful kings, and their fierce mercenary armies, Egypt would be put to shame.
God was clear about why and how this would come about. The reason for Egypt’s fall was their pride. Verses 6 through 8 describe their arrogance like a swelling river, desiring to overflow into all the world. That pride would ultimately lead to defeat, but God was also clear about who would bring about Egypt’s destruction. It may appear that the Babylonians were in charge, but God declared that “that day belongs to the Lord, the Lord Almighty” (v. 10). Egypt would fall because “the Lord will push them down” (v. 15). God would bring about the fall of Egypt.
Finally, our reading ends with a shift to words of comfort for Judah. Even if the nations to which they had been exiled should suffer defeat and destruction, God promised that His people would not completely be destroyed. Their trust should be in God, not in any nation or its leaders, for protection.
Apply the Word
Today’s reading teaches us that no nation is beyond God’s control (or punishment) no matter how great or important they think they are, or have been in the past; and that salvation lies with God, not with earthly leaders. As the presidential elections come soon, pray for godly leaders, but let today’s Scripture remind us that our final hope is in God, not humans.