Yesterday’s post was pretty short and sweet, talking about how certain the punishment of the sinful would happen. Today we’ll look at the other side of the coin for the righteous.
Chapters 49-51 prophecy the demise of Ammon, Edom, Damascus (Aram), Kedar, Hazor, Elam, and Babylon. But putting a different lens on these prophecies, what the Christian can see — especially since these nations were treacherous enemies of Israel — is that God will punish those who oppress God’s people. Most Christians realize this, though we occasionally forget: we need never seek our own revenge in word, deed, plotting, or fighting-fire-with-fire. God will repay and He is much, much better — and more just — than we will ever be about our own vengeance. The worst we can do is kill someone; God can do much more. Consider such prophecies about Israel’s enemies…
Jeremiah 49:2 ““Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “That I will cause a trumpet blast of war to be heard Against Rabbah of the sons of Ammon; And it will become a desolate heap, And her towns will be set on fire. Then Israel will take possession of his possessors,” Says the LORD.” (regarding Ammon)
Jeremiah 49:16 ““As for the terror of you, The arrogance of your heart has deceived you, O you who live in the clefts of the rock, Who occupy the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as an eagle’s, I will bring you down from there,” declares the LORD.” (regarding Edom)
Jeremiah 49:33 ““Hazor will become a haunt of jackals, A desolation forever; No one will live there, Nor will a son of man reside in it.”” (regarding Hazor)
Jeremiah 49:36 “‘I will bring upon Elam the four winds From the four ends of heaven, And will scatter them to all these winds; And there will be no nation To which the outcasts of Elam will not go.” (regarding Elam)
Jeremiah 50:39, 40 ““Therefore the desert creatures will live there along with the jackals; The ostriches also will live in it, And it will never again be inhabited Or dwelt in from generation to generation. “As when God overthrew Sodom And Gomorrah with its neighbors,” declares the LORD, “No man will live there, Nor will any son of man reside in it.” (regarding Babylon)
You need never feel alone in this world — the Lord is always with you.
The last chapter of the book tells a poignant story of the destruction of Jerusalem. Zedekiah, as we have mentioned before, attempted to escape, when Babylon was about to overrun the walls. He wasn’t able to run very far before the Babylonians caught up with him and as punishment for his resistance, killed his children (who couldn’t have been very old, since Zedekiah was only 31 years old) in front of him — then they gouged his eyes out. The chapter also talks about what happened to other players in this grand drama — how Jehoiachin — taken as an exile and put in prison — was taken out of exile and made a regular at the king’s table, quite possibly because of Daniel’s influence.
We can clearly understand why Jeremiah wept so much. I say this just to point out that God didn’t completely protect His prophet from sorrow, difficulty, trouble, threats, enemies, and “unfair” circumstances — you are not alone in your own unfair suffering. God doesn’t protect us completely from every bump and bruise. A terribly damaging hit to our faith can happen, if we were expecting a rose garden immediately after our baptism. Perhaps our unrealistic expectations come from seeing nice looking people at church who appear to be without problems, struggles, illnesses, and hurts. Let’s be clear: they all — ALL — have their own set of challenges and heartaches. Don’t be fooled.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.