Day 188: Taken Down by God

Jeremiah 48:29-38

“We have heard of the pride of Moab.
He is very proud in his loftiness, his pride,
his arrogance, and the arrogance of his heart.
I know his wrath,” says Yahweh, “that it is nothing;
his boastings have done nothing.
Therefore I will wail for Moab.
Yes, I will cry out for all Moab.
They will mourn for the men of Kir Heres.
With more than the weeping of Jazer
I will weep for you, vine of Sibmah.
Your branches passed over the sea.
They reached even to the sea of Jazer.
The destroyer has fallen on your summer fruits
and on your vintage.
Gladness and joy is taken away from the fruitful field
and from the land of Moab.
I have caused wine to cease from the wine presses.
No one will tread with shouting.
The shouting will be no shouting.
From the cry of Heshbon even to Elealeh,
even to Jahaz they have uttered their voice,
from Zoar even to Horonaim, to Eglath Shelishiyah;
for the waters of Nimrim will also become desolate.
Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab,” says Yahweh,
“him who offers in the high place,
and him who burns incense to his gods.
Therefore my heart sounds for Moab like flutes,
and my heart sounds like flutes for the men of Kir Heres.
Therefore the abundance that he has gotten has perished.
For every head is bald,
and every beard clipped.
There are cuttings on all the hands,
and sackcloth on the waist.
On all the housetops of Moab,
and in its streets, there is lamentation everywhere;
for I have broken Moab like a vessel in which no one delights,” says Yahweh.

We read in this prophesy that not only was Moab successful and rich, they were also proud and arrogant. God took them down from the hights of beauty, wealth and arrogance, to the depths of ugliness, poverty and shame. There was a time when they had everything and they thought that it was because of their own excellence. God chose to punish this group of people by completely removing all beauty, wealth and respect. Moab becomes an illustration of the teaching of the Bible about pride. Let’s look at that again.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction,
and an arrogant spirit before a fall.

This also reminds me of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians about being careful not to fall into sin and believe that everything is fine. Here’s what he said:

1 Corinthians 10:12

Therefore let him who thinks he stands be careful that he doesn’t fall.

Just because you have it good, doesn’t mean that you are right. It could mean that you are about to be completely destroyed by God Himself. That’s what the nation of Moab discovered and it actually scares me when I think about the United States. It is true that we have had some excellence here, but now it is very obvious that sin has taken over the lives of a huge number of people. I believe that there is arrogance here and clearly we have a problem with the worship of money. God is the same God that brought Moab down to the dirt. May God help us before it is too late and we are completely ruined like Moab was.

Day 92: God’s Word vs. The Authorities

Jeremiah 20:10-13

For I have heard the defaming of many,
“Terror on every side!
Denounce, and we will denounce him!”
say all my familiar friends,
those who watch for my fall.
“Perhaps he will be persuaded,
and we will prevail against him,
and we will take our revenge on him.”
But Yahweh is with me as an awesome mighty one.
Therefore my persecutors will stumble,
and they won’t prevail.
They will be utterly disappointed,
because they have not dealt wisely,
even with an everlasting dishonor which will never be forgotten.
But Yahweh of Armies, who tests the righteous,
who sees the heart and the mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for I have revealed my cause to you.
Sing to Yahweh!
Praise Yahweh,
for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evildoers.

Jeremiah’s friends turned on him when God required that he speak to them about the coming terror. I think we can understand this. Jeremiah was thrown in jail by the authorities. A person isn’t popular after they have been thrown in jail. In our culture we say that they “have a record.” People tend to trust the authorities and doubt the one who was convicted. Obviously, Jeremiah knew that God was asking him to be shamed for the sake of the truth.

This may not seem like a big deal to us today. We may think that things are different for us, but that is so very far from the truth that it should cause us to be afraid. Jeremiah’s friends treatment caused God to condemn them to “everlasting dishonor which will never be forgotten.” That’s how serious it can be to trust the views of the authorities rather than God’s word. God is able to look beyond the command of the authorities. He sees “the heart and the mind” of every one of us individually. Today, there are many leaders who are attempting to control people by denying them the right to guide their behavior by their own conscience. If we give in to them, we are putting them in the place of God and that is idolatry. They seek our worship and it is our responsibility to be like Jeremiah and deny them of it.

Jeremiah could see that God was going to bring him justice by delivering him from his old friends, but that doesn’t mean that Jeremiah was immune from his emotions as we read next.

Day 90: Magormissabib

Jeremiah 20:1-6

Now Pashhur, the son of Immer the priest, who was chief officer in Yahweh’s house, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. Then Pashhur struck Jeremiah the prophet and put him in the stocks that were in the upper gate of Benjamin, which was in Yahweh’s house. On the next day, Pashhur released Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then Jeremiah said to him, “Yahweh has not called your name Pashhur, but Magormissabib. For Yahweh says, ‘Behold, I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends. They will fall by the sword of their enemies, and your eyes will see it. I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will carry them captive to Babylon, and will kill them with the sword. Moreover I will give all the riches of this city, and all its gains, and all its precious things, yes, I will give all the treasures of the kings of Judah into the hand of their enemies. They will make them captives, take them, and carry them to Babylon. You, Pashhur, and all who dwell in your house will go into captivity. You will come to Babylon, and there you will die, and there you will be buried, you, and all your friends, to whom you have prophesied falsely.’ ”

It’s interesting that when Jeremiah was preaching in the place that represented Hell, he didn’t get harmed, but when he showed up in the place that represented Heaven, he was attacked. This same thing happened to Jesus as well. Pashhur was a man with a very high official position in the temple. It appears that he not only was considered to be a priest, but was also given operational and administrative authority over the temple. This was a man with a resume. We also learn that he had been prophesying in opposition to Jeremiah, but the things he had been saying were just made up. His message didn’t actually come from God at all.

We read here that Pashhur also took it upon himself to physically attack Jeremiah and lock him up in stocks for a night. This would have probably been quite humiliating to Jeremiah but God must have been helping Jeremiah stay true to God’s truth in his mind because when he was released the next day, He immediately spoke a word from God against the man who had just locked him up. Jeremiah was told by God that He had renamed Pashhur: Magormissabib. Now that name doesn’t sound good but it also has a very horrible meaning. I am told by modern translators that it means: “terror on every side.” I think that God struck Pashhur where it hurt him the most. It appears that Pashhur was a believer in his own title. He was highly respected by people in that he was given a high religious office, but to God he was greatly dishonored. Pashhur had taken it upon himself to speak for God even though God had not given him anything to say and then he took God’s messenger and dishonored him. God told Pashhur that his future title would be one of great shame to both himself and those who listened to his lies.

What we want to do is to seek God’s power to be like Jeremiah and avoid any similarity to Pashhur. We shouldn’t believe in the titles given to us by people. Only what God says about us matters. What God says about us is so important that even when we are dishonored and embarrassed in front of the world, we need to stand strong like Jeremiah and trust God’s word until He allows us to escape. We must not be intimidated by the people who have high positions in this world but continue to speak the truth to their so-called “power.”