‘’This city must be punished; it is filled with oppression.’’ (6b)
We find in these verses a graphic preview of Jerusalem’s future. The clock had run down. The Babylonians from the north were going to come and ‘harvest’ the ‘’grapes’’ (9). The nation was ripe for judgment. (But after harvesting a crop there is always a small portion; a‘’remnant’’ ,remaining. This points to the survivors being carried off to Babylon.)
Why was this going to happen?
‘’You’re in deep trouble, Jerusalem.
You’ve pushed me to the limit.
You’re on the brink of being wiped out…’’ The Message.
‘’A city full of brutality,
bursting with violence.
Just as a well holds a good supply of water,
she supplies wickedness nonstop.’’ The Message.
We may feel like we’re dealing with an ancient and musty document, and ‘what has all this got to do with us?’ But the prophetic books tell us that God observes all human behaviour (see 7b), and His judgments are worked out in history. He is patient, but there always comes a point where God says, in effect, ‘Enough is enough’, and the time for repentance runs out. Yes, there is going to be a final judgment at the culmination of history, but many mini-judgments are being worked out even now. This should motivate us to pray for our nation and our leaders, if we don’t already. Don’t let yourself think the U.K. has an exemption certificate. Pray that the heart of this nation will turn back to God. Who knows when it may be too late for us? People need the Lord. Our only hope is in Jesus.
‘’I have likened my dear daughter Zion to a lovely meadow. Well, now ‘shepherds’ from the north have discovered her and brought in their flocks of soldiers. They’ve pitched camp all around her, and plan where they’ll graze.’’ The Message.
What could happen to ‘’England’s green and pleasant land’’ if we persist in rebellion towards God?
‘’In verses 6-7, the Lord speaks to the Babylonian attackers; it’s as if He Himself were leading the assault on Jerusalem. And, indeed, in one sense, He was; the Babylonians (just like the Assyrians before them) were the instruments of God used to punish His faithless people…But, in verse 8, God still speaks to warn His people; His longing for them continues to the last moment.’’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.1086.
Prayer: Lord have mercy on our land and turn us back to you.