The background to the political events that shaped the ministry of Jeremiah are, to some degree, lost to history. That is, many of the details are not available. But we do have in the Bible (with the help of archaeological finds) more than enough information to have a general picture of what took place. Though from a human perspective it probably seemed that no one was in control as these nations battled it out for land, power, and hegemony, the Bible teaches us differently. Read Jeremiah 27:6. What are we to make of this?
The little kingdom of Judah had, in the early years of Jeremiah’s ministry, found itself caught up in the military battles between Babylon, Egypt, and the waning power of Assyria. With the decline of the Assyrian Empire in the late seventh century b.c., Egypt sought to regain power and dominance in the region. However, at the battle of Carchemish in 605 b.c., Egypt was crushed and Babylon became the new world power.
This new power made Judah its vassal state. Jehoiakim, king of Judah, could stabilize the country only by swearing allegiance to the Babylonian king. Many in the country, however, didn’t want to be loyal to Babylon; they wanted to fight and free themselves from the Babylonians, even though that wasn’t what the Lord intended for them to do. On the contrary, God was using Babylon specifically as a vehicle to punish the nation for its apostasy. Read Jeremiah 25:8–12. What was Jeremiah’s message to the people of Judah?
Again and again, Jeremiah warned the people about what would happen because of their sin, and time and again many of the political and religious leaders refused to heed the warnings, believing instead what they wanted to believe, which is that the Lord would spare them. After all, were they not God’s specially called people?
When was the last time you believed what you wanted to believe, no matter how obviously wrong that belief turned out to be? What lessons have you learned so that the same thing doesn’t happen again?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q4 2015 «Jeremiah» Lesson 2 – The Crisis (Within and Without)