The Gathering Storm Clouds of God’s Vengeance (Jeremiah 46-48)

Scripture reading – Jeremiah 46-48

Today’s Scripture reading brings us to the beginning of a series of prophecies against the Gentile nations that had abused Israel and Judah. These final chapters, Jeremiah 46-52, predict the devastating invasion of Babylon’s army (“waters rise up out of the north” – Jeremiah 47:2) and the forthcoming destruction of those nations that were Israel’s adversaries.

Jeremiah 46 – The Vengeance of the LORD Against Egypt

Knowing the LORD declared King Nebuchadnezzar as, “My servant,” we begin to understand the manner in which God would use the rise of Babylon to humble those nations that had afflicted His people.

Babylon’s overwhelming defeat of Egypt was predicted (46:1-2), even as that nation’s Pharaoh rallied his army (46:3-8) and hired mercenaries to go to war with Egypt’s army (46:9). In spite of Egypt’s greatness and her vast wealth, God warned, “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [would] come and smite the land of Egypt” (46:13).

Reminding us of God’s sovereignty over the nations, the question was asked, “Why are thy valiant men swept away?” The answer, “because the LORD did drive them” (46:15).

Egypt had passed the time of repenting of her sins (46:17) and Jeremiah warned, her “destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north” (46:20). And who was that enemy that would come out of the north (46:24)?

Jeremiah 46:26 – And I will deliver them [the people of Egypt] into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 47 – The Vengeance of the LORD Against Philistia

Have you ever wondered what became of the Philistines, Moabites, and Ammonites? The answer is found in the closing chapters of Jeremiah’s prophecies. Those ancient people and their nations were defeated by the armies of Babylon, removed from their lands, and ultimately assimilated into other nations and people.

Jeremiah prophesied against Philistine cities and their inhabitants: Gaza, Tyrus, Zidon, Ashkelon would all be destroyed by “water [that would] rise up out of the north [i.e. Babylon], and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men [of Philistia]shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl” (47:2).

Jeremiah 48 – The Vengeance of the LORD Against Moab

Jeremiah prophecy of doom continues with a warning to the cities of Moab, Israel’s ancient enemy (48:1-3). We read, “Moab is destroyed; her little ones [the children of Moab] have caused a cry to be heard” (48:4). The destruction and suffering brought upon Moab by Babylon would be complete, her “cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein” (48:9).

No village, town, or city would be spared God’s judgment. The LORD warned Nebuchadnezzar, addressing the king as His servant, His agent of judgment, that he would be judged should he “[keep] back his sword from blood” (48:10). Jeremiah 48:11-25 gives us a graphic portrait of the defeat and suffering of Moab.

Why such suffering? Why obliterate the Moabites as a people? Because a spirit of pride had moved Moab as a nation to “[magnify] himself against the LORD” (48:42).

Is there any good news for God’s people in today’s Scripture reading? Absolutely; there was a message of hope and comfort found in the closing verses of Jeremiah 46.

Jeremiah 46:27-28 – “27  But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. 28  Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.”

Unlike the heathen whose nations are lost to history, God promised He would not forget His people identified as “my servant Jacob” and represented in Israel and Judah (46:27).

The LORD promised to one day gather them together from the nations of the world and restore them to their land (Isaiah 19:16-25) and “The LORD Our Righteousness” will reign (Jeremiah 23:5-8).

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith