The End of Jeremiah’s Messages

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"Then say, ‘In this same way Babylon and her people will sink, never again to rise, because of the disasters I will bring upon her.’ ” This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.

Jeremiah 51:64

Although the book of Jeremiah includes a fifty-second chapter, the prophet’s messages come to an end in chapter fifty one. Most of this chapter contains an ongoing prophecy of the fall of Babylon. Jeremiah gave the scroll containing this message to Seraiah, who delivered its contents to the people in Babylon. Then, Jeremiah instructed him to tie a stone to the scroll and throw it into the Euphrates River (51:63). In this way Seraiah, illustrated the end of Babylon, who would “sink” because of God’s judgment.

Jeremiah 51 ends with the simple line: “This is the end of Jeremiah’s messages.” I must confess to a bit of relief, since so much of Jeremiah has been difficult to read and reflect upon. To be sure, there are slivers of hope in this book. But for the most part, Jeremiah was called to bring bad news, not only to God’s chosen people, but also to other nations as well, concluding with Babylon. The collection of prophecies in this book press upon us the justice of God, a God who doesn’t just turn the other way when we sin. Rather, God holds us accountable for our actions, finding us guilty when we have strayed from the path of righteousness.

Thus Jeremiah prepares us for the coming of the Savior, who judges our sin by taking it upon himself. This book underscores the fact that God’s forgiveness isn’t something we should take for granted. Nor is it just a matter of personal salvation. Jeremiah helps us see that God’s concern for the world touches more than individuals, though God surely cares for each one of us profoundly. But our God is the Lord of the nations, the judge of all peoples. We who are in covenant relationship with him by grace become players in his grand drama. Like Jeremiah, we are called to serve the Lord, to speak his truth, to live faithfully as his messengers in every part of life.

And, like Jeremiah, we sometimes have to deliver bad news. We might find ourselves in a position of saying, “Yes, sin does matter,” and “Yes, you cannot save yourself.” Yet, unlike Jeremiah, our story doesn’t end with bad news. Rather, the bad is a prelude to the good. The new covenant promised by Jeremiah (31:33-34) has been inaugurated through Christ, and we are privileged both to live in this covenant and to invite others to join us.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How have you responded to the prophecies of Jeremiah? In what ways can you share the good news of Christ with others?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, Jeremiah is not an easy book. I don’t for a second deny its value or doubt its veracity. But I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t tell you that I find this book hard to digest. There is so much bad news here!

Forgive me, Lord, for wanting everything to be “nice.” Forgive me for minimizing your holiness and justice. Forgive me for underestimating the travesty of sin.

Even as you once used Jeremiah to communicate your word, use me! In my words and deeds, may I tell the good news of your grace in Christ. Help me to be forthright about the truth of your justice and judgment. But may my focus always be upon telling the full story of your grace.

O Lord, when the time comes for the “end of my messages,” may I have been faithful, bold, and gracious in telling your story to my part of the world.

All praise be to you, God of justice and mercy, God of righteousness and grace. Amen.