Day 186: Making a Clean Break

Jeremiah 48:10-17

“Cursed is he who does the work of Yahweh negligently;
and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood.

“Moab has been at ease from his youth,
and he has settled on his dregs,
and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel,
neither has he gone into captivity;
therefore his taste remains in him,
and his scent is not changed.
Therefore behold, the days come,” says Yahweh,
“that I will send to him those who pour off,
and they will pour him off;
and they will empty his vessels,
and break their containers in pieces.
Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh,
as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.

“How do you say, ‘We are mighty men,
and valiant men for the war’?
Moab is laid waste,
and they have gone up into his cities,
and his chosen young men have gone down to the slaughter,”
says the King, whose name is Yahweh of Armies.
“The calamity of Moab is near to come,
and his affliction hurries fast.
All you who are around him, bemoan him;
and all you who know his name, say,
‘How the strong staff is broken,
the beautiful rod!’

The history of Moab’s dealings with Israel are covered in the Bible. I agree with others who study Moab that it is a good representation of a corrupting influence. Moab harmed Israel from the inside. It was Moab’s king that hired Balaam to curse Israel in order to keep them from harming Moab but God blessed Israel instead. Eventually, Moab realized that the way to stop Israel was to pervert them. They had their women infiltrate Israel and get the men to have sex with them. Pretty crafty wasn’t it? Israel was supposed to kill their enemies, not sleep with them!

The first verse in this passage has special meaning in light of Israel’s history with Moab. God wants us to make a clean break from sin. In this case, Israel was neglegent in killing the Moabites. Moab was harming Israel, but Israel decided to enjoy the sin that they could have with them. Israel refused to separate themselves from their sin and they ended up being punished by God for it.

Moab, on the other hand, was still around. Perhaps that is why this prophesy says: “Moab has been at ease from his youth.” God had some things that He needed to finish with Moab and we read about that here. You can imagine that after getting away with sin for such a long time that you might begin to think that you are strong and valiant. Moab thought they were strong, according to this passage, but they were about to be broken.

It’s important for unbelievers to realize that even if they are successful at perverting believers and getting them to sin, that they won’t escape God’s hand. It’s also important for us, as believers, separate ourselves from sin and sinful influences. Living a life of holiness means that we make a clean break. We need to stop playing around with sin and fight against it instead.

Day 97: God Directly Confronts the Government Officials

Jeremiah 22:1-5

Yahweh said, “Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak this word, there: ‘Hear Yahweh’s word, king of Judah, who sits on David’s throne, you, your servants, and your people who enter in by these gates. Yahweh says: “Execute justice and righteousness, and deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong. Do no violence to the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow. Don’t shed innocent blood in this place. For if you do this thing indeed, then kings sitting on David’s throne will enter in by the gates of this house, riding in chariots and on horses, he, his servants, and his people. But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself,” says Yahweh, “that this house will become a desolation.” ’ ”

When we read passages like these, we get to hear some of the specific duties that government officials have been assigned by God. With passages like these available, it’s impossible to say that we don’t know what God’s will is for a government. By giving us this historic documentation, we know what God expected of Israel and since Israel is an example for other nations, we know what God expects of our nation’s leaders as well.

God expected the leadership to “execute justice and righteousness”“deliver him who is robbed out of the hand of the oppressor”“do no wrong”“do no violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow”, and “Don’t shed innocent blood.” God said that a failure to follow these rules would result in the government becoming “a desolation.”

Notice that God made this clear by sending a messenger directly to the government to speak on His behalf. Just in case the word of Jeremiah’s speaking out at Gehenna and in the temple courts didn’t make its way to the king, God sends Jeremiah directly to him. I believe that God sends messengers directly to government leaders today too. These leaders have a responsibility to listen to the will of God when they lead. They are not supposed to be mistreating Christians when they have not done anything wrong. They are not supposed to be promoting those who do evil because of their bribes or because they are afraid of them. They are not supposed to be permitting and encouraging abortion which is the shedding of innocent blood. Government leaders are supposed to be representatives of God Himself on earth. They aren’t supposed to be doing anything He wouldn’t do. To suggest that the Bible teaches that there should be a separation of God and state, is absurd. God obviously expects government leaders to be in tune with Him as they make every decision because the God of Israel is the ultimate authority over the earth. Let’s not allow the tricky comments of modern leaders to deceive us on this issue.