Scripture reading – Jeremiah 48
Our study of the prophecies of God’s judgment against the Gentile nations continues with Jeremiah 48. Today’s Scripture is a pronouncement of judgment against Moab, a people descended from Lot and his incestuous relationship with his daughter following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:37).
Jeremiah 48:1-3 recorded the names of several cities of Moab that would be captured by the army of Babylon. Though the people fled their homes, and sought refuge in other cities, there was no escape for them (48:4-6).
What sins of Moab demanded God’s judgment? (48:7-30)
The Moabites were a proud people, who placed their faith “in [their] works” (perhaps the ramparts they had built about their walled cities). They boasted in their “treasures” (wealth), and believed Chemosh, the Moabite god would save them (48:7). Like a rich man reveling in his wealth, Moab had “been at ease” from its founding (48:11). The nation boasted of its “mighty and strong men” (48:14), and was guilty of magnifying itself against the LORD (48:26). Proud, boastful, arrogant, the Moabites were a stubborn nation (48:29).
The Consequences of Moab’s Sins (48:7-30)
Every city of Moab would be destroyed (48:8), and left desolate (48:9). The nation was doomed, for the people were complacent, and the LORD determined their blood would be shed like wine poured out of a cup, and then crushed (48:11b-12). Moab would suffer the destruction of its cities, and her strong men would be killed, for the “King, whose name is the LORD of hosts” had declared it (48:15). The major cities of Moab were to be laid waste (48:18-24), and her power (described as “the horn of Moab”) would be “cut off” (48:25).
The LORD’s Lament Over Moab (48:31-39)
Lest any believe the LORD is heartless and unmoved when a nation is brought low, we are given a description of God’s sorrow in the midst of His judgment. It is the LORD we find howling over Moab (48:31), as he laminated the troubles and sorrows of the people. They had lost everything. The harvest was lost, the wine presses dried up, and the joys and laughter of those who tread out the grapes was silenced (48:32-33).
Even as the Moabite cities were laid waste, the LORD wept over the people. Though His judgment was righteous, and He was putting an end to their idolatry (48:35), His heart was heavy for the people shaved their heads and cut their beards (outward signs of mourning, 48:37). Everywhere, in every home and in every street, there was sorrow (48:36-38). Moab would become an object of scorn (48:39).
Closing thought – We should take from today’s lesson a reminder of how much the LORD despises a proud nation. For Moab’s pride, the LORD declared Babylon would swoop in like an eagle (48:40), and that nation’s soldiers would be terrified as God destroyed everyone that “magnified himself against the LORD” (48:44).
For Moab, all was lost and their sons and daughters would be taken captive (48:46). Yet, in spite of so great a judgment, the final verse revealed the LORD was not finished with Moab. We read this promise to that defeated people, “47Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab In the latter days, saith the Lord. Thus far is the judgment of Moab” (48:47).
The LORD is merciful, even in the midst of His judgment.
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