Jeremiah 49

Jeremiah 49 has our prophet receiving more from God – this time about the Ammonites who are another enemy of Judah in line for judgment.  The Ammonites lived in the area on the east side of the Jordan River, north of the Moabites. Their lands are included in what is today Jordan, and the capital of Jordan is named Ammon because of this connection.  “Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then has  Milcom  dispossessed Gad, and his people settled in its cities?”  Through Jeremiah, God spoke of the fact that the Ammonites occupied land that was given to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh. In the name of their god Milcom they lived in that land, acting as if Israel’s inheritance was invalid.

But God’s not dead.  “I will cause  the battle cry to be heard against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it shall become a desolate mound, and its villages shall be burned with fire”.  Payback is coming.  God promises the day when Israel would repossess the land that was once its own.  The Babylonians are coming and would not only conquer the land and the peoples of the Ammonites, but also their god Milcom, together with his priests and his princes. You might say might say the Babylonian idols were superior.  But no other god compares at all with the one true God.

God’s going to destroy this evil people in Ammon, but even so He says “afterward I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites, declares the Lord”.  In the midst of judgment, God had mercy and some promise of restoration even for the Ammonites.  God is a God of mercy and grace.  Restoration is always part of His nature and plan.  Destruction is coming, but once judgment is delivered, God will offer the opportunity for the enemy to be restored. Jeremiah goes on in this chapter to also talk about the judgment coming against Edom.  The Edomites were also a cousin-nation to Israel. Their founder was Esau, the son of Isaac, twin brother of Jacob. They also lived in the lands east of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea, toward the south mountains and deserts.

Edom’s sin was its pride resulting in an unrelenting and violent hatred of Israel and its rejoicing in her misfortune.  Destruction is coming, but as with Ammon, God invited the remnant remaining – made up of fatherless children and widows – to trust in Him.  The Edomites thought they were somewhat secure in where they lived, but God makes it clear “one shall mount up and fly swiftly like an eagle and spread his wings against Bozrah, and the heart of the warriors of Edom shall be in that day like the heart  of a woman in her birth pains”.  Judgment is coming and with it much pain.

Jeremiah adds another to the list of judgments coming – this time to Damascus.  This is the famous city of Syria, one of Israel’s neighbors to the north. Damascus is one of the oldest continually occupied cities of the world.  He also list Kedar and Hazor who were tribes and cities in the desert.  “Their tents and their flocks shall be taken, their  curtains and all their goods; their camels shall be led away from them”.  And the prophet ends this chapter talking about Elam which is the ancient name for some of the peoples of Persia or modern day Iran.  God again offers redemption to these people in the latter days, but not until judgment has come.  God’s judgment is based on His nature and character.  It must be done.  Money or power or wisdom or might won’t defer or stop it.

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