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Babylon, then, for all its power and all its independence, was an instrument of God, and no one can deeply study the Word of God without coming to perceive the awful emphasis that it lays on the fact of instrumentality.
I. Now sometimes the blindest eye can see how exquisitely the instruments of God are fitted to the task God has in hand. But is not the general rule the very opposite? I think it is the reverse that strikes us most.
1. Think, for example, of the instrument which He used to keep alive the knowledge of His name. A man could not do it, it required a nation; God's name is too great for one man to hold in trust; but of all the unlikely nations in the world, I think Israel was the most unlikely. To the human eye that seems the worst of choices, and yet that nation was the chosen of God. Israel became the instrument of heaven. It was Israel that was the cradle of the Christ.
2. Whenever I think of God's unlikely instruments, I think of little Samuel in the temple. God chose a little child to be His instrument.
II. Now if Jesus of Nazareth be the Son of God, I shall expect to find Him adopting the same procedure. I surmise from His very methods that Christ was Son of God whenever I think of His choice of the disciples. Twelve men, provincial and unlettered and all the world against them in the battle. Yet by such men, inspired by the Holy Ghost, victories were won that changed the world.
III. What, then, does that inexplicable feature of God's choice mean for you and me?
First it guards us against putting limits upon God. Who shall dare say what powers may not be used by heaven if even Babylon be a golden cup in the Lord's hand? That is the first use of God's unlikely instruments. It makes us watchful, open-hearted, very humble. We must be alive to possibilities of usefulness, or the chances are we may be missing God.
And it should make us very strong when we are called to any little service. The men who think that they are fit for anything are very seldom fit for God's work. But the men who cry, as Jeremiah cried, 'Ah, Lord God, I am a child, and cannot speak' it is such men whose lips are touched with fire, whose hearts are emboldened, and whose way is opened. For God is not bent on glorifying you; God is bent on glorifying Jesus.
G. H. Morrison, Sun-Rise, p. 240.
References. LI. 50. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlv. No. 2648. LII. 1-11. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Isaiah and Jeremiah, p. 398. LII. 8-11. A. Phelps, The Old Testament A Living Book for All Ages, p. 215.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 51". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20