Daily Bible Reading Reflections

The World’s Greatest Empires, Like Utensils in His Hands

Today’s Bible reading is Jeremiah 51 and 2 Thessalonians 1.

A healthy dose of perspective from Jeremiah 51…

Babylon. “A destroyer of nations.” The birthplace of wondrous architectural marvels. One of the most iconic empires in the history of the world. But in the grand scheme of things? “Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand” (Jer 51:7).

The Medes. The next empirical player on the world stage. A destroyer from the north, humbler of mighty Babylon. But in the grand scheme of things? “You are my hammer,” says the LORD (Jer 51:20).

That golden cup most certainly would have been something to behold, and that hammer undoubtedly left a mark on human history, but even the nicest cups come and go. The strongest hammers eventually wear out. And yet, one constant remains.

It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. (Jer 51:15)

Our 21st century has its own “cups” and “hammers.” We would do well to view them through the perspective-shaping lens of passages like Jeremiah 51. Let’s recognize them for what they are. Dazzling, but temporary. Powerful, yet fragile. Definitely not ultimate. By no means eternal.

So let’s not become so enamored with the sparkles of the “cups” or frustrated by the clanging of the “hammers” that we fail to recognize and honor the One who has used the world’s greatest empires like everyday utensils to accomplish his purposes. It is he who made the earth. It is his wisdom that endures. It is his understanding that ultimately matters.

Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb 12:28-29)