Explore the Bible
Recognize the Lord’s Authority
1. None Is Invincible (Jer. 50:2-3a)
2. Resistance Is Futile (Jer. 50:24-25,44b)
3. Resistance Is Fatal (Jer. 50:29-32)
Because the Lord is sovereign, none can escape ultimate accountability to Him.
To help adults acknowledge their accountability to the Lord
Before You Teach
The Bible has always been clear about the consequences of resisting God’s authority.
Through his prophet Jeremiah, God delivered the news of His plan to avenge Babylon’s
sins against Judah.
No man can escape the accountability of God’s perfect justice. Jeremiah’s prophecies
make it clear that nations, such as Israel’s ancient enemy Babylon, will also answer for
their collective sins. God had employed Babylon to bring needed judgment upon
unfaithful Judah when Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem in 597 B.C. But this former
world power ultimately met its fate at the hands of a just and righteous God.
Consider the nations and leaders that dominate the news today. Recognize that these
powers are instruments in God’s hand to accomplish His purposes. Whether they are
righteous or unrighteous, they will be judged for their actions. As individuals, we are also
under the Lord’s authority. As believers, we also are recipients of His grace. As you
prepare to teach this lesson, ask the Lord to show you how well you acknowledge His
leadership in your life.
Invite learners to discuss in groups of three to six: What feelings are evoked when you
hear the word authority? Who are some people in authority over you? What is your
obligation to them? What is their obligation to you?
I got a personal reminder about authority recently when I was running late to an
appointment. Yes, I was exceeding the speed limit. I told myself: The appointment is
important. There are few cars on the road. I’m a careful driver. No one’s watching.
I was right about the first three. But then I saw the flashing blue lights in my rear-view
mirror. I was caught, and I couldn’t ignore the police officer’s signal to pull over. I had to
respect his authority or face more serious consequences.
All people and all nations are ultimately accountable to the Lord. Jeremiah delivered this
message from the Lord to the nations of his day, including the Babylonian empire that
dominated the world and held many of God’s people in captivity.
In a display of His sovereign authority, God accomplished the rescue of His people by the
hands of the conquering Medo-Persians, who defeated the Babylonians. After 70 years of
captivity, the people of Judah returned to rebuild their land.
Ask: What are some times when you feel “on top of the world” and beyond the reach of
failure? Why is it easy to lose your sense of accountability during those times? How do
we push the limits and forget about God’s judgment during those times?
None Is Invincible
When Jeremiah received these words from the Lord, Babylon seemed invincible. Yet this
prophecy was fulfilled some 40 years later when the Persian army under Cyrus captured
the heavily fortified city of Babylon from the north in 539 B.C. (See Daniel 5:1-31.) The
great Babylonian empire crumbled like the many nations it had crushed in earlier times.
Enlist a volunteer to read Jeremiah 50:2 and the first half of verse 3.
What does this prophecy announce to the nations regarding Babylon?
What was the Lord saying about the Babylonian false gods?
Why did the people of Babylon feel that they were invincible? What makes people feel
What situations today might lead people to question the Lord’s supreme authority? What
evidence can we give to affirm His control and authority?
What are some former world powers that at one time were considered invincible? What
can we learn from their history?
Do these principles apply to individuals, whether believers or unbelievers? Explain.
How does the truth that God establishes and removes nations affect a believer’s
What does it mean for us to submit personally to the Lord’s authority? What does it mean
for us to call Him “Lord”?
Today people compare various religions as though there were a god contest going on. In
truth, there is only one Lord. Wealth, power, education, and success may cause people to
feel invincible, but the Lord has authority over all. We are all accountable to Him.
How are your daily decisions and choices impacted by God’s sovereignty? How does
your life reflect your accountability to God?
How can you rely on other believers to help you maintain accountability for your actions
and attitudes? How can you support them in turn?
What evidence in your life proves that you esteem God and His kingdom more than
anything? How might you better live under His authority?
Resistance Is Futile
The prophet spoke of the armory of weapons the Lord will use in righteous judgment
against those who reject His authority and power. These weapons are not arrows or
swords, but are much more powerful. He can use any means He wishes to bring
individuals or nations into a proper relationship with Him.
Ask one of the class members to read Jeremiah 50:24-25, and verse 44b (starting with the
words, “I will”).
The prophecy of the fall of Babylon is given in the past tense, as though it had already
been fulfilled. What reason did the Lord give for laying a trap to capture Babylon?
What does it mean that Babylon had fought against the Lord, even as He used them as
His instrument of judgment against Judah and Egypt?
Can anything shield a nation from the Lord’s judgment? Explain.
What faults might the Lord find against our nation? What might He find to commend our
What is the significance of the questions the Lord asked in verse 44?
How might individuals fight against the Lord? What does it mean to resist His authority?
How do obstacles like sin and pride stand in the way of our submission to God’s
How have you fought against God’s will for your life? What was the outcome?
Why is it futile to resist the Lord? What do we gain when we yield to His authority?
If we resist the Lord, we invite His judgment and forfeit His grace. If we swallow our
pride and become accountable to the Lord, we will experience more of His power in our
lives. The smart choice is to submit to His lordship and follow His ways.
Are you still resisting the Lord’s authority in some matter of faith? In some matter of
obedience? How will you demonstrate willing submission to Him?
How does your life bear witness to your conviction that there is no one like the Lord? Are
there any competing loyalties you still need to reject?
Those who are apart from Christ need to hear the gospel to have an opportunity to
respond in repentance and faith. With whom will you share the good news of His grace?
Resistance Is Fatal
The words arrogant or arrogantly (KJV, “proud”) occur three times in these verses. The
Hebrew word, from a root meaning to seethe or boil up, implies insolence that results in
disobedience. In other verses, this same word is translated as presumptuous. This attitude
invites God’s judgment.
Invite one of the learners to read verses 29-32.
How did the Lord describe the attitude of Babylon? How had the Babylonians acted
arrogantly against Him?
How would you describe an arrogant person? Why is it inappropriate to display
arrogance before God? What attitudes are appropriate toward the Lord?
Can an arrogant person expect to receive mercy from the Lord? Explain.
What did the Lord say He would do to Babylon on account of their arrogance?
How can you reconcile the truth that God is love with the fact that He brings death and
destruction upon nations?
We are often quick to see the arrogance in others but fail to recognize it in our own lives.
Unfortunately many believers and non-believers today continue to demonstrate a sense of
pride and self-absorbent behavior, refusing to acknowledge God’s sovereignty.
Are there times when you see remnants of sinful pride and arrogance in yourself? How
will you defeat these attitudes?
How can you respond with compassion instead of smug satisfaction when you consider
God’s judgment against the proud and wicked? How will you proclaim His mercy?
How could you use the truths of this lesson to remind an unbelieving friend or family
member about the futility and fatality of resisting God’s authority?
The Lord is sovereign over all nations and all individuals. When we lose perspective on
His sovereignty and the coming judgment, we can become proud and arrogant, focusing
on our own desires. Because the Lord is sovereign, resistance to Him is futile. He will
accomplish His purposes, either through us or in spite of us. If we fight against Him, we
cannot expect His blessing. We should recognize and defer to His authority.
Ask: How does your life acknowledge my accountability to the Lord?
How can we examine our lives for attitudes and actions that might invite God’s
Conclude your class session in prayer that the learners will grow in submitting to God’s
will for their lives. Pray for adults to examine their lives for any thought, action, or
attitude that hinders them from maintaining accountability and staying in check with
When you are tempted to resist the Lord’s authority in favor of worldly pleasure,
comfort, or knowledge, contemplate the promises of God and their superiority over
anything the world offers you.