Day 185: Trusting in our Works and Treasures

Jeremiah 48:1-9

Of Moab. Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“Woe to Nebo!
For it is laid waste.
Kiriathaim is disappointed.
It is taken.
Misgab is put to shame
and broken down.
The praise of Moab is no more.
In Heshbon they have devised evil against her:
‘Come! Let’s cut her off from being a nation.’
You also, Madmen, will be brought to silence.
The sword will pursue you.
The sound of a cry from Horonaim,
desolation and great destruction!
Moab is destroyed.
Her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
For they will go up by the ascent of Luhith with continual weeping.
For at the descent of Horonaim they have heard the distress of the cry of destruction.
Flee! Save your lives!
Be like the juniper bush in the wilderness.
For, because you have trusted in your works and in your treasures,
you also will be taken.
Chemosh will go out into captivity,
his priests and his princes together.
The destroyer will come on every city,
and no city will escape;
the valley also will perish,
and the plain will be destroyed, as Yahweh has spoken.
Give wings to Moab,
that she may fly and get herself away:
and her cities will become a desolation,
without anyone to dwell in them.

An interesting thing about God’s punishment of Judah, is what He did to the nations around them. These nations were all enemies of the God of Israel for a long time, but God had allowed them to exist. I believe that the Bible indicates that God was waiting for them to repent and turn to Him. After all, they were right next to the nation of Israel. They were privileged to know how much God would do for those who love Him. In a very real sense, nations like Moab had more responsibility because they had more knowlege about God. Here we read that God not only pronounced punishment for Egypt, but also for Moab.

In this passage God gives a reason for His judgment. He tells Moab: “you have trusted in your works and in your treasures.” We could say this in a more modern way. We could say: “you have trusted in your career and in your wealth.” Even if you don’t worship a particular “god,” it’s possible to be judged for trusting in your money and position. That has obvious application to American culture as I write this. The Bible doesn’t tell us here, but God had already made clear what Moab should have done. Let’s go back in Jeremiah and see what God told Israel.

Jeremiah 5:25-29

“Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good from you. For wicked men are found among my people. They watch, as fowlers lie in wait. They set a trap. They catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit. Therefore they have become great, and grew rich. They have grown fat. They shine; yes, they excel in deeds of wickedness. They don’t plead the cause, the cause of the fatherless, that they may prosper; and they don’t defend the rights of the needy.

“Shouldn’t I punish for these things?” says Yahweh. “Shouldn’t my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

God expects us to help the orphans and the needy. When we accept God’s resources and don’t help others, we tend to start trusting in the things God gives us instead of in Him. We may even excuse our hoarding by saying that we are just making sure we are safe. That sound’s good at first but is it money that makes us safe in an ultimate sense? If we stop giving to others, it’s a bad sign. We may be trusting in our jobs and in our wealth instead of in our God and that’s a punishable offense.