Jeremiah 25:8-9, 11-12 Therefore the LORD Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the LORD , “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. … This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,” declares the LORD , “and will make it desolate for ever.”
This is one of the many places in Scripture where we are confronted with two truths which present a ‘problem’ to our limited, finite minds, but apparently NOT to our Sovereign God’s eternal wisdom – the ‘problem’ (to us) of the FACT that the God of Creation remains absolutely sovereign over all that he has made and how it operates, and the FACT that he holds us responsible and accountable for EVERYTHING we do.
Here, through his Prophet, the LORD refers to Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, as ‘MY SERVANT’, and declares that this ‘servant’ will be used to bring righteous Judgement against the LORD’s nation, Judah, and the surrounding countries. The Sovereign LORDwill even determine exactly HOW LONG the desolation will last, while in the same breath he declares Nebuchadnezzar and his people GUILTY for what they are about to do! This ‘tension’ (from our perspective) occurs too many times throughout the Bible for us to ignore or try to ‘explain away’ the stark reality of what is being said (cf Genesis 50:20; Luke 22:22; Romans 9:14-24; Philippians 2:12-13; etc, etc) – God IS sovereign, and we ARE responsible!
We must take note of how Paul addresses this ‘problem’ in Romans 9:19-24 – “One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’ But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath – prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory – even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?”
Let us let God be GOD, and not try to limit his actions to suit our limited understanding. And let us be THANKFUL that it is only because of his Sovereign Grace that we can be raised from being spiritually DEAD to being ALIVE with Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5).