Babylon was a golden cup in the hand of the Lord, making the whole earth drunk; the nations drank of her wine, therefore the nations went mad. Jeremiah 51:7
In The Hand – Babylon was an instrument in the hand of YHWH for His purposes. The text tells us quite clearly that the power of Babylon was no accident, no serendipitous political occurrence. It was be-yad YHWH, “in the hand of YHWH.” He is the Master of history. Should we forget that, we will suffer the same stupor that accompanied the nations who drank Babylon’s wine.
Did you notice that God Himself provided the golden cup that intoxicated the nations? His purposes were served in the dulled consciousness and drunken actions of the nations. Their alcoholic addiction to power provided the necessary environment for God’s display of sovereignty. The nations did not fall simply because they were disobedient. They fell because God allowed them to pursue madness. He removed His protective shield. Without the Spirit’s restraint, men became what they desired. Yetzer ha’ra directed their actions. But that does not mean the consequences did not serve God’s purposes.
Jeremiah provides the proper response to this madness. “Wail for her; take balm for her pain; if perhaps she may be healed” (v. 8) for the Lord is about to bring vengeance (v. 6). “Do not be silenced by her iniquity” (v. 6). Suddenly, the distillery of the world’s intoxication is broken. The barrels have split. The wine is spilled. Disaster peers from the horizon. What must the righteous do? Anything but remain silent!
Cry out to the Lord. Take pity on those who are about to expire. Offer healing wherever needed. Do something about this madness! Plead on behalf of the inmates that God might yet spare them. Perhaps God will turn away His wrath. Perhaps. Declare the righteousness of YHWH in Zion. Purify yourselves. Prepare for His victory.
We need Jeremiah today. Why? We need Jeremiah because we live in Babylon, that great empire that refused to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Lord. Because we live in such a place, we are removed from the blessings of His land – our land. We are strangers in a strange place, but we are not abandoned. Babylon is in our hand too. We are here to manifest His righteousness in a world gone mad. We are here to restrain drunken behavior, to resist addictions to power, to clean up the vomit of those whose indulgence exceeds their capacity. Silence is tantamount to sinful endorsement. Failure to act is the equivalent of faithlessness.
Today you will certainly encounter someone who is drunk on the wine of this godless culture. Your first reaction maybe one of revulsion and a desire to flee. But if you are to serve the purposes of the coming King, you must wail, plead, and heal. Today is the day. Tomorrow He comes.
Topical Index: drunk, mad, in His hand, be-yad, Babylon, sovereignty, Jeremiah 51:7