Friday, September 25, 2015

Judgment on Ammon And Edom

Jeremiah 49:1-19

“Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities?  Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire: then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs, saith the LORD.

Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together.  Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, saying, Who shall come unto me?  Behold, I will bring a fear upon thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts, from all those that be about thee; and ye shall be driven out every man right forth; and none shall gather up him that wandereth. And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 49:1-6)

The Ammonites were descendants of Lot and lived to the east of the Jordan River.  God says that they were treating the land like Israel had no future or heirs to claim the land  As Assyrian power waned they had crossed the Jordan, claiming land as far west as Ai.  As the northern kingdom of Israel lost power the Ammonites had taken over the land along the Jordan, claiming it as their own.   As the Babylonians took over the Assyrian Empire they were taking regions the Ammonites had claimed.  Eventually they would take all of Ammon as well and when they finished, the Ammonites would be completely dispersed and cease to exist as a nation, although eventually God will set them free.   The collapse of the Persian Empire and rise of the Greeks allowed Arabic groups such as the Nabateans to take control of the area. 

“Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; Is wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished?  Flee ye, turn back, dwell deep, O inhabitants of Dedan; for I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time that I will visit him.” (Genesis 49:7-8)

The Edomites were descendants of Esau and lived along the south and east of the Dead Sea.  For centuries they had alternated between being allies or enemies of Israel and Judah.   In recent years they had taken advantage of Judah’s conflicts with other nations to attack, forgetting about God and his power.   God asks if they have completely forgotten how he has worked in the past.

“If grapegatherers come to thee, would they not leave some gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough.  But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbours, and he is not.  Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.  For thus saith the LORD; Behold, they whose judgment was not to drink of the cup have assuredly drunken; and art thou he that shall altogether go unpunished? thou shalt not go unpunished, but thou shalt surely drink of it.  For I have sworn by myself, saith the LORD, that Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; and all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes.” (Jeremiah 49:9-13)

A person picking grapes almost always misses a few, and thieves usually take only things they can sell or use.  When Edom is taken, nothing will be left.  Even their neighboring countries will be robbed.  Despite the total destruction of the nation. God will protect their poor and widows, while destroying those who have considered themselves above punishment.    The Edomite cities would never be rebuilt, and the area largely unoccupied. 

“I have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent unto the heathen, saying, Gather ye together, and come against her, and rise up to the battle.  For, lo, I will make thee small among the heathen, and despised among men.  Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of thine heart, O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, that holdest the height of the hill: though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.

Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.  As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD, no man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it.  Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan against the habitation of the strong: but I will suddenly make him run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?” (Jeremiah 49:14-19)

Edom had survived as a country for about a thousand years, with the rough terrain making occupation difficult.  Constant fighting with the nations around them kept them in a constant state of preparedness.   And they were sure they could repel most attacks.  God said he would completely wipe them out.  They would attack Judah like a lion and be destroyed almost as completely as the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, leaving the land unoccupied.  They will have no leader to stand before God. 

“Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them.  The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea.  Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.” (Jeremiah 49:20-22)

When God sends his judgment, even a minor threat will be cause for great concern, but he will make the country desolate, and the world will be shocked at how completely they are destroyed.  The largest cities will be destroyed, and like a woman in labor, they will be completely distracted from anything else.  

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