Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Prophecy Against Moab (Jeremiah 48)

The following quote is taken from

"You Have To Kill - "Cursed be he who does the Lords work remissly, cursed he who holds back his sword from blood."  (Jeremiah 48:10 NAB)

You can read the entire chapter here:

            It is important to note that this verse is not a blanket command, given to any and every person in any given situation.  This was a very specific directive given to a very specific group of people: the Babylonian army, whom God allowed to conquer Moab.  Verses such as these must be considered within the passage they appear in, and should not be taken out of context.
            Why was judgment pronounced on Moab?  The Moabites were an ancient nation who were descendants of Lot (Abraham's nephew) and one of his daughters (Genesis 19:30-38).  They were often hostile towards Israel; their king, Balak, hired a man named Balaam to curse Israel because the Moabites felt threatened by them, but God caused Balaam to bless Israel instead (Numbers 22-24).  Shortly after this, the Moabite women enticed the Israelite men into sex and worship of false idols, causing a plague that killed 24,000 people (Numbers 25:1-9).
            Even so, God prevented the Israelites from going to war against Moab later on, because he had given the land of Ar to the descendants of Lot as their possession (Deuteronomy 2:9).  But because of their hostility against Israel, Moabites and Ammonites were not permitted to enter the assembly of the Lord (Deuteronomy 23:3-6).    
            The hostility continued - King Eglon of Moab oppressed Israel for 18 years during the time of the judges (Judges 3:12-30).  Moab battled against Israel during the time of King Joram, and their king, Mesha, sacrificed his own son on the city wall (2 Kings 3).  Moabites raided Israel every spring during the time of the kings (2 Kings 13:20).  In short, Moab and Israel were enemies, constantly at war.
            The reason for Moab's destruction was because they had "defied the Lord" (Jeremiah 48:42).  "We have heard of Moab’s pride - how great is her arrogance! - of her insolence, her pride, her conceit and the haughtiness of her heart" (Jeremiah 48:29, NIV).  Even so, God said that in days to come, he would have mercy and restore the fortunes of Moab (Jeremiah 48:47).  If anyone repents and turns to God, he shows mercy (Jeremiah 18:8).