A Life of Ease leads to Stagnation and Bad Habits

Jeremiah 47-48 SCC 8/20/17


47:1-5: This oracle concerning the Philistines v 1. This prophecy occurred before Pharaoh conquered Gaza. Its about an invader sweeping in and overwhelming the land v 2. The Babylonians are pictured as waters are going to rise from the north and become an overflowing torrent, and overflow the land and all its fullness. The people would be so overcome with fear that the fathers have not turned back for their children, to save them themselves in the panic v 3. The day would come when the Lord would use this enemy to destroy all the Philistines v 4. The Philistines were the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor that is, the island of Crete. They were a group of sea people who settled on the coast of Palestine (in the modern Gaza area). They had been a thorn in Israel’s side since the day she entered the land (Judges 3:1-4). The Philistines would be caught in the middle of the struggle between Babylon and Egypt and would be destroyed. So they were to mourn v 5.

47:6-7: God’s judgment is pictured as the sword of the Lord v 6. And the question is asked, how long will you not be quiet? Withdraw into your sheath; be at rest and stay still. Jeremiah called on the Lord to sheath His sword, to stop the slaying. The prophet did not relish the prospect of such a slaughter. But God’s judgment must go forth. How can it be quiet, when the Lord has given it an order v 7? And the order for God’s sword, His judgment, is against Ashkelon and against the seacoast—there He has assigned it. Then Jeremiah remembered that the Lord's sword (the invader from the north) had to continue to slay the Philistines until it had finished the job He had given it to do.

NB: A Babylonian prism, now in Istanbul, mentions the presence, presumably with little choice in the matter, of the kings of Tyre and Sidon (v 4), of Gaza (5) and of Ashdod, at the court of Nebuchadrezzar; while a prison list now in Berlin records the rations for the king of Ashkelon (5), among other noted prisoners (including Jehoiachin of Judah).

Application: In Revelation 19:15 we also see God with a sword. At the Second Coming from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations…and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. Then the nations of the world will be the assignment, and when the Lord has given it [His sword of judgment] an order, there will be no stopping it. Where are the Philistines today? Gone—a distant memory. Fulfilled prophecy in the past—fulfilled prophecy in the future. Same God—same sword—same pagan nations, fighting against God and His people— same judgment of destruction.


Pride brings destruction 48:1-10

48:1-10: The next two countries are descendants of Lot and the result of his incest with his two daughters (Genesis 19:30-38) v 1. They are the territory east of the Dead Sea in what is today the country of Jordan. Moab was separated from Ammon on the north by the Arnon River and Edom on the south by the Zered River. The Moabite Stone, erected about 840 B.C., but now in the British Museum, refers to many of the numerous Moabite towns mentioned in this Chapter. The town of Heshbon calamity v 2 and Horonaim would also experience great devastation v 3. Moab's children would wail because of the calamity of battle v 4. The hills near Luhith and Horonaim would witness the cries of their inhabitant’s v 5. The Moabites would need to flee for their lives v 6. The reason for Moab's destruction was her self-confidence in her deeds and riches. Yet even she would undergo capture. Moab will be judged because of your trust in your own achievements and treasures v 7, 18, 26, 29, 42. Moab ... will be captured and Chemosh [their primary god] will go off into exile together with his priests and his prince’s v 7. Moab's chief god, Chemosh, would go into captivity. All the cities, the valley, and the plateau—in short, the whole nation— would fall before the coming enemy, as God predicted v 8. Moab needed wings, since her people were bound to fly away into captivity v 9. God was so determined to assure Moab’s destruction that He said, cursed be the one who does the Lord’s work negligently, and cursed be the one who restrains his sword from blood v 10. Here is a challenge to serve the Lord diligently not negligently. Start well and finish well. Moab was destroyed by nomadic desert tribesmen (Eze 25:10).

Complacency feeds pride 48:11-17  

Moab’s history was one of relative peace. Moab has been at ease since his youth ... therefore he retains his flavor, and his aroma has not changed v 11. Its peaceful history had made Moab complacent. It was so isolated geographically that it had not experienced the discipline of frequent invasions and captivity. God sometimes sends trouble to strengthen people. However, the days would come when the Lord would upset Moab's complacency v 12. God was sending judgment, and Moab would be ashamed of their god Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence v 13. Then Moab would be disillusioned with Chemosh for not protecting her, even as Israel had been ashamed of the idols she had worshipped at Bethel. Bethel was where one of the two golden calves was set up in the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 12:26-30) that did not help deliver them. Moab would not be able to boast about her mighty warriors, in that day v 14-15. The sovereign King, Lord of Hosts, made this promise. Moab's destruction would come soon, so all her neighbor nations should mourn her destruction v 16-17.

Pride becomes a source of shame 48:18-28

Archaeologists discovered the Moabite Stone at Dibon in 1868 v 18. Inquire from fleeing residents what had happened and the answer? Moab had fallen and was, therefore, humiliated v 19-20. Jeremiah listed 11 other cities of Moab that would experience destruction—representing all the towns in the nation v 21-24. Moab would lose its strength, as when an animal lost its horn or when a person broke his arm v 25. Moab has become arrogant toward the Lord v 26. Like a drunkard who wallows in his own vomit, because it became arrogant toward God. In Ezekiel 25:8, Moab said, the house of Judah is like all the nations, i.e., Judah is not the people of the Living God. So they became arrogant against God. As a result, Moab would become a laughingstock and would try to hide anywhere v 27-28. Pride fakes you out about reality. It cannot insulate you from the truth. Truth will creep up and say “boo”!

Pride leads to despair 48:29-39

We have heard of the pride of Moab—he is very proud—of his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance and his self-exaltation v 29. The sins of Moab were well-known: haughtiness, pride, arrogance, and self-exaltation. Moab’s physical security and history of relative peace had fed her arrogance. The prophet would mourn over Moab's fate, and for the fate of her people, even more than people had wept over the fate v 30-34. But I shall make an end of Moab…for I have broken Moab like an undesirable vessel…and Moab will be destroyed…because he has become arrogant toward the Lord v 35, 38, 42. Jeremiah continued to mourn over Moab's destruction v 36. When the nation fell, there would be people expressing their grief in traditional ways everywhere. They would shave their heads, cut their beards short, cut their hands, and wear sackcloth around their hips. People would lament on their housetops and in the streets, namely, everywhere and wail v 37-39.

Pride deceives you with a fake facade 48:40-47

If a person escaped one form of judgment, another one would get him. The Lord's devices would trap the people just as certainly as hunters used terror, pits, and snares to capture animals. This would happen at the Lord's appointed time v 40-44. The invasion would rob Moab its complacent revelers of their glory, as when fire burns someone's hair off v 45. Moab would experience "woe” v 46. You do not want woe in your life, believe me! Its the end of nowhere. Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days, declares the Lord v 47. The use of “latter days” implies that this restoration will occur during the millennial reign of Christ (Deuteronomy 4:30; Jeremiah 49:39; Daniel 2:28; 10:14).

PT: Pride is value independent from God. Humility is value dependent on God. Maturing people increasingly realize that conflicts are usually about pride, and resolutions are about humility. Generally speaking, whether it is with God, a spouse, children, friends, or work associates, conflicts involve things I want for myself. Arguments usually based on the assumption we should retain some amount of pride.

So What?

1. Many parents, especially Christian parents, try to protect their children from harm or from “bad” situations. Yet if a youth remains at ease, has no suffering, has no discipline, has no learning experiences, they retain their flavor, their aroma will not change—they will not grow v 11. And if they stink—they will continue to stink the rest of their lives. As a parent, look at your children, how do they smell? Ask yourself how you can change their flavor and smell, so they have the fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15). Do the same with your disciples, people you wish to influence spiritually.

2. Also, it seems like God does not like negligence [to fail to give the proper or required care and attention to somebody or something] when it comes to judgment of evil v 10. If behavior is wrong or arrogant against God’s character, restrain it. Don’t let it go. Give it the proper care and attention (Matthew 18:15f; 1 Corinthians 5).