Day 190: The Terror of Ammon

Jeremiah 49:1-6

Of the children of Ammon. Yahweh says:
“Has Israel no sons?
Has he no heir?
Why then does Malcam possess Gad,
and his people dwell in its cities?
Therefore behold, the days come,”
says Yahweh,
“that I will cause an alarm of war to be heard against Rabbah of the children of Ammon,
and it will become a desolate heap,
and her daughters will be burned with fire;
then Israel will possess those who possessed him,”
says Yahweh.
“Wail, Heshbon, for Ai is laid waste!
Cry, you daughters of Rabbah!
Clothe yourself in sackcloth.
Lament, and run back and forth among the fences;
for Malcam will go into captivity,
his priests and his princes together.
Why do you boast in the valleys,
your flowing valley, backsliding daughter?
You trusted in her treasures,
saying, ‘Who will come to me?’
Behold, I will bring a terror on you,”
says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies,
“from all who are around you.
All of you will be driven completely out,
and there will be no one to gather together the fugitives.

“But afterward I will reverse the captivity of the children of Ammon,”
says Yahweh.

I come from a time in which great harm was done by terrorists against the United States. The word “terror” almost seems to be sinful in and of itself, but the Bible corrects this error. God brings terror upon His enemies, so terror cannot be evil in and of itself. When terror is brought against those who do good, then it is evil, but terror against those who do evil is not. That should be clear from how the United States decided to destroy terrorists.

After reading through all of the history in the Bible about Israel. It’s interesting to hear God’s thoughts. That’s what we get to do when we read what the prophets like Jeremiah said. One of the big surprises to me is how God talks to Gentiles in such a caring way. The Ammonites were one of those groups of people that were supposed to be removed from Israel’s land. Evidently, Ammon knew this. God makes it clear in this passage, that they were the occupiers because God told them to leave. Now time was up and God was going to completely ruin them. God really didn’t have to spend any time explaining things to them, yet, we read here that God had Jeremiah explain what was going on. They had been living in pride against God and God was going to send them into captivity like Moab.

God also showed His love toward the Gentile nation of Ammon by telling them that they would also be released from captivity someday. Evidently, they were going to have their own land, outside of the boundaries of Israel in the future. Not all Gentiles were to be completely destroyed. God decided to allow some of them to continue on and it appears that Ammon was one of the countries that God decided to give grace to. Ammon’s destruction reminds us that when God tells us to do something, He expects us to do it. If we don’t, we can then expect to be punished.

Day 189: The Moab Mirror

Jeremiah 48:39-47

“How it is broken down!
How they wail!
How Moab has turned the back with shame!
So will Moab become a derision
and a terror to all who are around him.”
For Yahweh says: “Behold, he will fly as an eagle,
and will spread out his wings against Moab.
Kerioth is taken,
and the strongholds are seized.
The heart of the mighty men of Moab at that day
will be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
Moab will be destroyed from being a people,
because he has magnified himself against Yahweh.
Terror, the pit, and the snare are on you,
inhabitant of Moab,” says Yahweh.
“He who flees from the terror will fall into the pit;
and he who gets up out of the pit will be taken in the snare,
for I will bring on him, even on Moab,
the year of their visitation,” says Yahweh.

“Those who fled stand without strength under the shadow of Heshbon;
for a fire has gone out of Heshbon,
and a flame from the middle of Sihon,
and has devoured the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
Woe to you, O Moab!
The people of Chemosh are undone;
for your sons are taken away captive,
and your daughters into captivity.

“Yet I will reverse the captivity of Moab in the latter days,”
says Yahweh.
Thus far is the judgment of Moab.

The crime that Moab committed that caused them to receive this horrible punishment from God was that they dared to magnify themselves against Him. In other translations it says that they exalted themselves against God. As a result, God intended to hunt them down. He even said that if they appear to have gotten away once, He would catch them again and if they get away the second time, He will catch them again. Their children would also go into captivity.

When you look at the history of Moab, you see that they actually thought that they could fight against God by harming those He had chosen to bless. They used their abilities to find a way to wage a war against the will of God, as if they could actually win that war. As we look at others, it’s easy for us to see how foolish and horrible it is to attempt to do something like that, but I have found that when I take the same measuring stick and measure myself, it doesn’t look very good.

When I have a mind to sin, I tend to do what I can get away with too. For instance, when driving on the road, do we see how far below the speed limit we can legally go, or how high above it? My mind is quite willing to work overtime to figure out a way how to live in the flesh while walking in the Spirit, which is quite impossible. Even the concept of being “neutral” is an example of this war against God and His word. God says that those who are not for Him are against Him. If we claim that we are just being neutral, we are calling God a liar because He says there is no neutral! That’s just another war against God that He will judge. Our pride is very deep and deceptive. We tend not to see it because, of course, we wouldn’t do such a thing, would we?

The truth that God has made known to us is that we were all Moab and we still have our Moab moments. We all had that pride that guided our actions as we breathed God’s air and lived in the bodies that God made while doing things we knew He didn’t like. We were fighting against Him and both sin and death took us captive too. The wonderful thing about this passage is what it says at the end. God not only promised punishment, He also promised release. After all that Moab had done to God and His people, God determined to “reverse the captivity of Moab in the latter days.” This is a big reason for us to praise God. We all have sinned and deserve God’s eternal punishment, but God intended to free us by His grace. Praise God.