TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 51–52
Jeremiah’s story ended as it began. His is the lone dissenting voice in a crowd with great plans for themselves and their nations. Not much has changed over the millennia. Men still strive for national greatness, and they still prefer their parochial physical prosperity over the prophetic purposes of God for all peoples. Being true to the missionary heart of God will always mean being out of step with popular sentiment—both in the church at large and in the world which grows increasingly smaller.
Because the Bible is a missionary book from beginning to end, even the major prophets focus on the glory of God and His purposes for all peoples. Whether those peoples are great or small, they all serve the purposes of God. Mighty Babylon was simply a golden cup in the Lord’s hand (Jer. 51:7) and little Israel was His battle axe (v. 20). Since the Lord made the whole earth by His mighty power, He easily uses the nations as He will for His glory and every purpose of the Lord shall be performed (vv. 15, 29).
The prophets will not let us forget that God’s purpose is redemption and that His definition of redemption includes representatives of every people group eternally secured to be satisfied in Him. God guarantees that every people and nation will be harvested eventually—no matter how strong or evil they are (v. 33)—and that a remnant of every people will be rescued. God’s purposes for the nations will triumph and what He does physically and temporally among the nations are merely representative of what He is doing or will do spiritually and eternally. As Israel was an example of what God can do with the weak, Babylon was an example of what God can do with the strong. All nations, all peoples, all men are vessels of Jehovah’s glory.
As the missionary people of God, we should take comfort in history. It doesn’t matter if we are little or big. It doesn’t matter if we are strong or weak. It doesn’t matter if we live here or there, if we are young or old, if we are vessels of honor or not. All that matters is that we are used for the glory of God among all nations in this life and that as part of that diverse eternal crowd of glorifiers we are eternally satisfied in Jesus. Jeremiah’s message is that God will be globally glorified among all peoples. We decide on which side of that glory we will stand: Will we stand on the life side, gratified and fulfilled forever, or will we stand on the death side, non-compliant but used anyway?
The dissenting, dissonant voice today, the voice that incessantly calls all men towards God’s passion for His glory among all peoples, will be well-surrounded in harmonious heaven. A great choir is being formed. Auditions are lifelong. There is yet ample opportunity to train and employ your voice for that eternal song. It is the song of life, the song of the redeemed. It is the song that feeds us even as we sing it. What joy to start singing now, what joy to sing forever!