Today: [Jeremiah 49] Exiting the Family Feud. Are you dealing with strife in your family? In this chapter 5 nations of the region around Israel are condemned and brought to judgment in the words of Jeremiah. Each of these nations with the exception of Syria originated in the family line of Shem and of Abram. We never so demonstrate the lack of Christ-like character than when families get in strife one with another.
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[Jer 49:1-39 KJV] 1 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? 2 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. 3 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. 4 Wherefore gloriest thou in the valleys, thy flowing valley, O backsliding daughter? that trusted in her treasures, [saying], Who shall come unto me? 5 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. 6 And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD. 7 Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; [Is] wisdom no more in Teman? is counsel perished from the prudent? is their wisdom vanished? 8 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. 9 If grapegatherers come to thee, would they not leave [some] gleaning grapes? if thieves by night, they will destroy till they have enough. 10 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. 11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve [them] alive; and let thy widows trust in me. 12 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]. 13 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. 14 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. 15 For, lo, I will make thee small among the heathen, [and] despised among men. 16 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.
In this chapter, Jeremiah continues the judgments against the nations bordering the fallen nation of Israel. In previous chapters, the word of the Lord has come against Egypt, Philistia and Moab. In this chapter we hear God’s pronouncements concerning Ammon, Edom, Syria, Kedar and Edom. Each of these nations have a particular history with the nation of Israel. Ammon arose as a nation from the lineage of Lot as Moab, by Lot’s incestuous relationship with his daughters. The nation of Edom were the descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau. Syria was the ancient enemy of both the northern and southern tribes of Israel. Kedar was a descendent of Ishmael, one of the 12 princes that came forth from his lineage. Elam was an alternate branch of the line of Shem, Noah’s eldest son from whom Abraham was descended. We can see then that these prophesies are all (with the exception of Syria) connected through ancient family ties with the line of Shem through Noah, down to Abraham and his lifetime. The judgments called for are justified through the enmity these nations each of them showed to their brother nation of Israel and therefore God chastises them for their hatefulness toward His chosen people.
This is a very important lesson for each of us. We must realize that as God’s favor rested upon Isaac, even so God’s choice rests upon each and every one of us. For these nations to move in villainy against Israel was to move in rebellion against God Himself who chose Israel and promoted Israel by His sovereign hand. This is the lesson that Jesus taught in Matt. 25:
[Mat 25:41-46 KJV] 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
One of the chief callings of the Christian community is to walk in kindness toward those that are without. Just because someone is harsh toward you, believes different from you is no license to ignore them in their need or their suffering. In Matt. 5:44 Jesus said to love our enemies, to do good to them that despitefully use us, not to form political action committees against them, or march with placards reminding them that they are going to hell. Jesus said we would be known (John 13:35) by our love FIRST for one another and then for those out there in the world. This is the only way that you and I can be lights in the world, demonstrating that we are part of the solution and not part of the problem that is rocking the world through strife, division and contention.
17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof. 18 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. 19 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? 20 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. 21 The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea. 22 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. 23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; [there is] sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet. 24 Damascus is waxed feeble, [and] turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on [her]: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail. 25 How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy! 26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts. 27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.
What can we learn for ourselves from these nations Jeremiah speaks of? From one perspective, this all seems like a family feud between ancient descendants from the line of Shem. Nothing demonstrates the incapacity of men to live in peace than by how families often treat one another. Ammon’s name means tribal or, associated. There is a strong tribal mentality in the earth today. To be tribal is to set boundaries for your associates that are more narrow than the one Jesus set when He commanded us to love our enemies. In the early church Paul spoke strongly against this tribe mentality to the Corinthian church:
[1Co 1:10-13 KJV] 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them [which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
Men today claim that divisions in the church are normal, natural and to be cultivated. We call them denominations. Even within our cities the church is divided, each ministry conducting itself independent and unconcern with the fortunes of the church across town. If that church folds, so much the better – perhaps their members will find their way to our doors. What answer would the modern day church give to the apostle Paul? God only recognizes the church in the city. Any other division, whatever the justification is extra-biblical and in fact, a division of a sort which Paul loudly and strongly spoke against. Because of this our strength is weak and the world runs rough shod over us with impunity because there is no fear in the earth of a sectarian, corrupt, religious monstrosity in the earth that parades itself and the church of the living God. We would do well to heed the words of David that so eloquently express the heart of God toward the need for solidarity and unity among God’s people:
[Psa 133:1-3 KJV] 1 [[A Song of degrees of David.]] Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 [It is] like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, [even] Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3 As the dew of Hermon, [and as the dew] that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, [even] life for evermore.
28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east. 29 Their tents and their flocks shall they take away: they shall take to themselves their curtains, and all their vessels, and their camels; and they shall cry unto them, Fear [is] on every side. 30 Flee, get you far off, dwell deep, O ye inhabitants of Hazor, saith the LORD; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel against you, and hath conceived a purpose against you. 31 Arise, get you up unto the wealthy nation, that dwelleth without care, saith the LORD, which have neither gates nor bars, [which] dwell alone. 32 And their camels shall be a booty, and the multitude of their cattle a spoil: and I will scatter into all winds them [that are] in the utmost corners; and I will bring their calamity from all sides thereof, saith the LORD. 33 And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, [and] a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor [any] son of man dwell in it. 34 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, saying, 35 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. 36 And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. 37 For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, [even] my fierce anger, saith the LORD; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them: 38 And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD. 39 But it shall come to pass in the latter days, [that] I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.
After speaking against Ammon, Jeremiah condemns Edom, the descendants of Esau. Esau sold his birthright, despising the destiny that God had in store for him. Yet he blamed Jacob and sought his life. Esau speaks of those who hate and revile the people of God because of their own backslidden state, blaming others for what they brought upon themselves. As verse 12 affirms, those walking in the Esau mentality will not go unpunished. Jeremiah also speaks against Syria, whose capital is Damascus. The name Damascus means “silent is the sackcloth weaver” meaning though they shake their fist in God’s face, they shall not endure calamity. We need only look at event in Syria today to see the generational recompense Syria has suffered for rejecting the God of the Hebrews. Kedar was a descendant of Ishmael and here we see the fate of the Muslim culture, arising from Ishmael, claiming Ishmael as the chosen son over Isaac. The prophecy is that Babylon will overthrow Kedar and the Ishmaelites. What does this tell us? Babylon means confusion. It is not the United States that will decimate the sons of Kedar in the modern world. It will be internal strife on the Arabian peninsula that will bring its demise, as Shiite and Sunni mutually destroy and marginalize themselves in the earth through strife. Elam was a descendent from a different branch of Shem than the one that Abraham descended from. His name means “hidden” or “eternity”. This is the mentality that says “I don’t want to get involved…” It is standing idly by while brother devours brother without interjecting a word of peace into the situation. This is the isolationist attitude that encouraged the start of both WWI and WWII. America for the last 2 administrations has increasingly adopted an isolationist posture toward unrest in the world, and it has only engendered more instability and difficulty among nations. Edmund Buke observed that all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Verse 37 says “I will cause Elam (therefore) to be dismayed before their enemies…”
In each of these nations we observe attitudes that shape our thinking when we operate outside of the mandates of Christ. Each leads only to greater difficulty and struggle. Our sentiments and fidelities then must make our way back to the verities of Jeremiah and Isaiah that call us to the Christ mentality that takes away the sins of the world and cleanses us by the word that Jesus speaks to us through His word.
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