Jeremiah 49:1-39: Past Glory Is Nothing: Humbly Submit To The Lord Now

Past Glory Is Nothing: Humbly Submit To The Lord Now

Jeremiah 49:1-39                        Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 49:16                         4-9-18

“The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.”

Part 1: Jeremiah Lived In Hope (1-6)

Verses 1-6, “Concerning the Ammonites: This is what the Lord says: “Has Israel no sons? Has Israel no heir? Why then has Molek taken possession of Gad?  Why do his people live in its towns? 2 But the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will sound the battle cry against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it will become a mound of ruins, and its surrounding villages will be set on fire. Then Israel will drive out those who drove her out,” says the Lord.3 “Wail, Heshbon, for Ai is destroyed! Cry out, you inhabitants of Rabbah! Put on sackcloth and mourn; rush here and there inside the walls, for Molek will go into exile, together with his priests and officials. 4 Why do you boast of your valleys, boast of your valleys so fruitful? Unfaithful Daughter Ammon, you trust in your riches and say, ‘Who will attack me?’ 5 I will bring terror on you from all those around you,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.“ Every one of you will be driven away, and no one will gather the fugitives.6 “Yet afterward, I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites,” declares the Lord.

The Ammonites, descendants of Lot, lived on the east side of Jordan. Their god was the blood-thirsty, passion-ridden Molech. The Ammonites occupied Gilead, a part of the tribal inheritance of Gad. In other words, they had moved into Israelite territory and took over their land. When they took over their land, they brought with them their idol Molech. It was a travesty.

But God promised that the Ammonites would be driven out and that their god Molech would be driven out with them. There is also hope that the Israelites would come and fill the land that God had given them as part of his promise.

However, God would be merciful the Ammonites. He would someday restore the fortunes of Ammon. God was also merciful to them in that they were not totally annihilated like some former nations were. They were allowed to grow and be a nation. There was some purpose for them in the future centuries.

Jeremiah lived in hope.  He looked forward to the time when Israel would reclaim her territory and drive the Ammonites out. He knew God’s promises to his people. He had hope that the people of God would be restored to the land and again live in the land of Gad. Jeremiah was living in hope.

Living in hope at this time was not easy. The remnant was now in Egypt and would die by the sword and famine. There were others who were building a new life in Babylon. There were people from foreign nations occupying the land and introducing their idol worship to the people. How hopeless can things get?

But yet Jeremiah lived in hope. He hoped against all hope. He could do so because he had hope in God. He had absolute faith that God would do exactly what he had promised he would do, to bring his people back from exile to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

Part 2: God’s Justice Will Prevail (7-22)

Verses 7-22, “Concerning Edom: This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed? 8 Turn and flee, hide in deep caves, you who live in Dedan, for I will bring disaster on Esau at the time when I punish him. 9 If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes? If thieves came during the night, would they not steal only as much as they wanted? 10 But I will strip Esau bare; I will uncover his hiding places, so that he cannot conceal himself. His armed men are destroyed, also his allies and neighbors, so there is no one to say, 11 ‘Leave your fatherless children; I will keep them alive. Your widows too can depend on me.’”

12 This is what the Lord says: “If those who do not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, why should you go unpunished? You will not go unpunished but must drink it. 13 I swear by myself,” declares the Lord, “that Bozrah will become a ruin and a curse, an object of horror and reproach; and all its towns will be in ruins forever.”

14 I have heard a message from the Lord; an envoy was sent to the nations to say, “Assemble yourselves to attack it! Rise up for battle!”15 “Now I will make you small among the nations, despised by mankind. 16 The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle’s, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord.17 “Edom will become an object of horror; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. 18 As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, along with their neighboring towns,” says the Lord, “so no one will live there; no people will dwell in it.19 “Like a lion coming up from Jordan’s thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Edom from its land in an instant.    Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?”20 Therefore, hear what the Lord has planned against Edom, what he has purposed against those who live in Teman: The young of the flock will be dragged away; their pasture will be appalled at their fate.21 At the sound of their fall the earth will tremble; their cry will resound to the Red Sea. 22 Look! An eagle will soar and swoop down, spreading its wings over Bozrah.  In that day the hearts of Edom’s warriors will be like the heart of a woman in labor.”

The Edomites, descendants of Esau, lived south of the Dead Sea. Once they had been proud and powerful, striking terror in the hearts of neighbors. They lived in the clefts of the rocks and occupied the heights of the hills. They built their nest as high as the eagle’s. But God would find them out. God’s judgment on Edom by the hand of Babylon would be swift and sure (16). I can see here that no one can escape God’s justice. If they were striking terror in the hearts of their neighbors then one day they would have to answer to God. Nations cannot go about inflicting terror on other nations and feel that they can always get away with it. One day they will be “dragged way” though they feel secure.

God pours out his judgement and not us. His justice prevails. God is the one wo doles out his justice on wicked nations. We can trust that. We are just beings. We want justice. We want to be treated justly. This is part of our human identity. It is part of the image of God within us. But what do we do when we experience unjust treatment? We must trust God to bring about his justice. “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” (Deuteronomy 32:35). Instead of retaliating, we need to trust God that he will bring about his judgement in his time and in his way.

Part 3: Damascus, Kedar, Hazor and Elam (23-39)

Verses 23-39, “23 Concerning Damascus: “Hamath and Arpad are dismayed, for they have heard bad news. They are disheartened, troubled like the restless sea. 24 Damascus has become feeble, she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her; anguish and pain have seized her, pain like that of a woman in labor.25 Why has the city of renown not been abandoned, the town in which I delight? 26 Surely, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,” declares the Lord Almighty.27 “I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.”

A Message About Kedar and Hazor

28 Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked: This is what the Lord says: “Arise, and attack Kedar and destroy the people of the East.29 Their tents and their flocks will be taken; their shelters will be carried off with all their goods and camels. People will shout to them, ‘Terror on every side!’ 30 “Flee quickly away!   Stay in deep caves, you who live in Hazor,” declares the Lord. “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has plotted against you; he has devised a plan against you. 31 “Arise and attack a nation at ease, which lives in confidence,” declares the Lord, “a nation that has neither gates nor bars; its people live far from danger. 32 Their camels will become plunder, and their large herds will be spoils of war. I will scatter to the winds those who are in distant places and will bring disaster on them from every side,” declares the Lord. 33 “Hazor will become a haunt of jackals, a desolate place forever. No one will live there; no people will dwell in it.”

A Message About Elam

34 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah: 35 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “See, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. 36 I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam’s exiles do not go. 37 I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who want to kill them; I will bring disaster on them, even my fierce anger,” declares the Lord. “I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them. 38 I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials,” declares the Lord. 39 “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come,” declares the Lord.”

Damascus was the capital of Aram; Kedar and Hazor were neighboring cities. Elam was east of Babylon. For a while they felt secure from Babylonian encroachment. But disaster would come upon them too. They were not out of reach of judgement. God’s judgement would reach them also.

All of these nations felt a false sense of security based on their past glory. They had achieved some level of human glory. They had been powerful nations. But they were proud and arrogant. They prided themselves on their military power. They were leading the people of God astray with their false religions. There came a time that they would be humbled.

No person or nation should rest in a false sense of security based on their past human glory. Focusing on past glory deceives us. It makes us blind to the fact of our present human condition. It deceives us to think that we something when we are not. All human glory fades. Human glory is deceptive. These nations thought that they were powerful enough to withstand the Babylonians. But it was not true. They too would be dragged away and defeated.

God holds the future of all nations in his hands. All nations. There is not a nation in the world that is too far from the hand of God. The whole world must come humbly and bow their knee to the God of the Bible… to Jesus.

Prayer: “Lord, there is no place for pride or arrogance or a false sense of security. You are the Lord. I want to bow before you. May the nations of the world bow down before you and declare that Jesus is Lord.”

One Word: Past human glory will not save you. You must bow down before the Lord.

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