Sunday, March 12, 2023

“Concerning the Nations” [Matt's Messages]

“Concerning the Nations”
Uprooted - The Words of Jeremiah
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 12, 2023 :: Jeremiah 46:1-49:39

Jeremiah was born to be a prophet to the nations.

Way back in chapter 1, the LORD told Jeremiah that before he was even born, he had a calling on his life, and it was a calling to speak for God, not just to the nation of Judah but beyond that nation to the nations. To the foreign nations surrounding Judah.

Jeremiah wrote in chapter 1, verse 5, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’” (Jer. 1:4-5 NIVO).

We’re coming down to the homestretch on the book of Jeremiah, and we haven’t yet seen that many direct prophecies to the nations. We’ve read some of them. They have been sprinkled in there all along. But here at the end, Baruch and Jeremiah (Barry and Jerry) have collected and compiled about 10 of them and placed them here together in this one section. Six whole chapters worth of prophetic messages to the nations.

They were written at different times and addressed to ten different kingdoms. Today, I’d like to work our way through the first nine. Don’t worry. It will move quickly. Each of these prophecies are fairly similar. They have their own flavor, but the message God has for each one is basically the same.

Interestingly, the Greek translation of Jeremiah, called the “Septuagint” places these prophecies in the middle of the book of Jeremiah. Right after chapter 25, verse 13. And if you check it out, you can see how they might fit there.

But the Hebrew version has them all here together basically at the end like in our English Bibles. And they build and build into a cascading crescendo. The first one is Egypt (south and west of Israel) and the last one (east and north of Israel) is Babylon. Lord-willing, we’ll get to that one next week.

Most of the time, I struggle to read these. You know, when you’re doing your Bible reading, this is one of those places where I get tempted to just skim. Just scroll.

I’m not good at poetry, and I’m not good at geography. And that’s what’s going on here! Poetry and geography. But there is also really good theology. So it pays for us to slow down and to think about what the message is here for us today.

These chapters are really foreign to us–because they are about foreign nations. As foreign as Judah is, we’re used to reading about them. Israel was the people of God at the narratival center of the story of the Old Testament. But these nations are really exotic and strange. We don’t know that much about them.

But Israel did. They were Israel’s neighbors. Sometimes their allies but even more often their enemies. Israel would have listened in to these prophecies with great interest. Judah needed to hear what Yahweh had to say to these nations because it would seriously affect them.

These prophecies are important because the LORD is not just the God of Israel. He is not just a local tribal deity. The LORD is the God of the whole earth. All people everywhere are accountable to Him. He made all of the nations (Acts 17:31), and He will judge all of the nations.

Do you remember what the LORD told Jeremiah His job was going to be full of as he prophesied to the nations? Back in chapter 1, verse 10, He said this. It should sound familiar by now:

“See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10 NIVO).

Six things. And we’ll see them all here in these chapters: Uproot, Tear Down, Destroy, Overthrow, Build, and Plant. Nations and Kingdoms. Look with me at chapter 46, verse 1.

“This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations:”

There’s our title for today, “Concerning the Nations.”

Verse 1 is like the heading for the next several chapters. Each time we meet a new nation, it will say, “Concerning [this one]” and then later “Concerning [that one.]”

And the first one in chapter 46 is Egypt. Look at verse 2.

“Concerning Egypt: This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:”

Did you get all of that? If you are Snack and Yack kid, you won’t have any trouble coming up with an answer for the handout question, “What is a word or a name you heard for the first time today?” You could probably fill up 50 handouts with them!

Jeremiah is sent to give a message against the army of Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt who reigned from 610-595 BC. He’s the guy whose army was defeated at Carchemish by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BC. That’s the same year as last week’s story about what Jeremiah the Prophet told Baruch his scribe. That was a very important year in ancient near eastern history and the history of Judah.

Pharaoh Neco was a very powerful king. His army killed Judah’s King Josiah in 609BC, and he installed the next two kings of Judah after him, including King Jehoiakim! But as powerful as he once was, he was going to be defeated. Thus saith the LORD. V.3

“‘Prepare your shields, both large and small, and march out for battle! Harness the horses, mount the steeds! Take your positions with helmets on! Polish your spears, put on your armor! 

What do I see? They are terrified, they are retreating, their warriors are defeated. They flee in haste without looking back, and there is terror on every side,’ declares the LORD. [Remember that phrase? That’s one of Jeremiah’s favorites. It was almost his nickname. “Terror on every side.”] ‘The swift cannot flee nor the strong escape. In the north by the River Euphrates they stumble and fall” (vv.4-6).

They like to think of themselves as a world-dominating power, but they are going down. V.7

‘Who is this that rises like the Nile, like rivers of surging waters? Egypt rises like the Nile, like rivers of surging waters. She says, 'I will rise and cover the earth; I will destroy cities and their people.' Charge, O horses! Drive furiously, O charioteers! March on, O warriors– men of Cush and Put who carry shields, men of Lydia who draw the bow. [Egypt’s African allies.]

But that day belongs to the Lord, the LORD Almighty–a day of vengeance, for vengeance on his foes. The sword will devour till it is satisfied, till it has quenched its thirst with blood. For the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will offer sacrifice in the land of the north by the River Euphrates” (vv.7-10.

Today, I have five points of theology that I think that Jeremiah is trying to get across to the nations and to Israel as they listen in. And I think that all five of them have applications for our lives today, as well. Here’s number one. It’s probably obvious by now:


You can hear the words of vengeance and wrath. “Terror on every side.” Disaster. Destruction. Punishment. Justice.

One key word here that gets repeated again and again and again is “the sword.” Like there in verse 10, “The sword will devour till it is satisfied.”

And that sounds scary. But it is just. These nations have sinned against the LORD, breaking His moral law again and again and often harming God’s own people. And the LORD promises justice to break out upon them. Egypt will not get away with anything. They will be judged. And nothing they do will stop it. V.11

“‘Go up to Gilead and get balm, O Virgin Daughter of Egypt. [Remember the medicine in Gilead. You’re going to need it!] But you multiply remedies in vain; there is no healing for you. The nations will hear of your shame; your cries will fill the earth. One warrior will stumble over another; both will fall down together’” (vv.11-12).

And that’s just the first defeat up north at Carchemish. In the second half of the chapter, we see a second defeat. This time down south actually in Egypt. V.13

“This is the message the LORD spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to attack Egypt: ‘Announce this in Egypt, and proclaim it in Migdol; proclaim it also in Memphis and Tahpanhes: 'Take your positions and get ready, for the sword devours those around you.' [The sword.] Why will your warriors be laid low? They cannot stand, for the LORD will push them down. They will stumble repeatedly; they will fall over each other. They will say, 'Get up, let us go back to our own people and our native lands, away from the sword of the oppressor.'  There they will exclaim, 'Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity.'

‘As surely as I live,’ declares the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty, ‘one will come who is like Tabor among the mountains, like Carmel by the sea. [Nebuchadnezzar, doing the LORD’s will for Him.] Pack your belongings for exile, you who live in Egypt, for Memphis will be laid waste and lie in ruins without inhabitant.

‘Egypt is a beautiful heifer, but a gadfly is coming against her from the north. The mercenaries in her ranks are like fattened calves. They too will turn and flee together, they will not stand their ground, for the day of disaster is coming upon them, the time for them to be punished.

Egypt will hiss like a fleeing serpent as the enemy advances in force; they will come against her with axes, like men who cut down trees. They will chop down her forest,’ declares the LORD, ‘dense though it be. They are more numerous than locusts, they cannot be counted. [Sound familiar? The serpent is the symbol of Egyptian royalty. Think about the Pharaoh’s snake crown. But what defeats the snakes? The plague of locusts. This time it will be a locust-like plague of Babylonians. V.24] 

The Daughter of Egypt will be put to shame, handed over to the people of the north.’ The LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. I will hand them over to those who seek their lives, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,’ declares the LORD” (vv.13-26).
Now, there are things at the end of that section that I want you to notice because they are themes that are going to keep popping up throughout this section.

First, notice the god of Egypt that is being punished by Yahweh. His name is Amon, god of Thebes. The LORD is whipping on him. The LORD will brook no rivals.

And second, notice that word, “however” in verse 26. “Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past.” That’s something, isn’t it? Jeremiah says that there will be a time when Egypt is restored. Hold on to that idea while we think about the main idea here, which is: 

The LORD will surely judge the nations.

Egypt seemed so powerful. Remember a couple of weeks ago when we studied chapters 41-44 when the surviving people of Judah were so tempted to go down to Egypt? It seemed so safe compared to everywhere else.

But Egypt was not safe. They were especially not safe from the judgment of the LORD. He was going to send Nebuchadnezzar down with “the sword.” The LORD will surely judge the nations.

What is the application of that to our lives today? Well, it should cause us to repent, I think, if we have not yet. God’s justice is perfect and unstoppable. And that means that if we do not turn from our sin, then the perfect justice of God is coming for us.

That was obviously true for Judah. How many times we have pointed that out in the last 11 months? But it was also true for Gentiles who were not the covenant people of God. Judgment was coming for them, too.

And it’s coming for all one day. That’s what Hell is. The unstoppable justice of God on the nations. These kind of chapters should sober us as we consider the perfect justice of God.

Of course, it also should make us think about the Cross, right? Because that was the unstoppable justice of God meted out on the righteous Son of God. He took the punishment that you and I deserved. Which lead us right into point number two:


Look where Jeremiah goes at the very end of the prophecy concerning Egypt. He talks directly to the people of Judah. Egypt is going to be defeated and so...Verse 27.

“‘Do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel. I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. Do not fear, O Jacob my servant, for I am with you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’”

Doesn’t that sound good?! It was good! And it should sound familiar, too. Because Jeremiah has already given us these exact words back in chapter 30. These words come from what we called “The Book of Hope” or “The Book of Promise,” “The Book of Comfort” (chapters 29-33). The LORD has promised to not utterly destroy His people but to send them into exile and one day bring them out of exile!

That’s what 29:11 is all about right? He’s got good plans for them. Plans to “shalom” them and not to harm them. plans to give them a hope and a future. To save them out of a distant place–whether that be Babylon or Egypt or the land of slavery to sin. The LORD is going to show mercy and rescue His people.

And that makes all of the difference. Hear these words of comfort:

“Do not not be dismayed...[You] will again have shalom and security, and no one will make [you] afraid...I am with you, declares the LORD.” I don’t know about you, but I need to hear those words each and every day. I need rescued from my enemies, and they are worse enemies then Egypt or Babylon. They are the world, the flesh, and the devil. But my Savior is greater than my enemies. And He has not only died on the Cross. He has come back from the dead! Amen?! It’s so easy to live scared because we have great enemies. But the LORD will mercifully rescue His people from the nations.

Okay. That’s “Concerning Egypt.” The second one is much shorter. It’s chapter 47. “Concerning the Philistines.” Verse 1.

“This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the Philistines before Pharaoh attacked Gaza: This is what the LORD says: ‘See how the waters are rising in the north; they will become an overflowing torrent. They will overflow the land and everything in it, the towns and those who live in them. The people will cry out; all who dwell in the land will wail at the sound of the hoofs of galloping steeds, at the noise of enemy chariots and the rumble of their wheels. Fathers will not turn to help their children; their hands will hang limp. 

For the day has come to destroy all the Philistines and to cut off all survivors who could help Tyre and Sidon. The LORD is about to destroy the Philistines, the remnant from the coasts of Caphtor. Gaza will shave her head in mourning; Ashkelon will be silenced. O remnant on the plain, how long will you cut yourselves?

‘'Ah, sword of the LORD,' you cry, 'how long till you rest? Return to your scabbard; cease and be still.' 

But how can it rest when the LORD has commanded it, when he has ordered it to attack Ashkelon and the coast?’” (vv.1-7).

Do you feel how heavy these are? The people of Israel were probably cheering when they heard this one, though! Think about all of the times when the Philistines hurt them through the years. And now the Philistines were finally going to be judged.

Do you see “the sword” there in verse 6? They talk directly to the sword. “Ah, sword of the long till you rest?” The Philistines cry out for the sword to be put away, but it will not be until the LORD’s perfect justice is satisfied.

Chapter 48. The next prophecy is very very long. But the idea is basically the same. 

This time, it’s Israel’s distant relatives who are also ancient enemies. Verse 1.

“Concerning Moab: This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Woe to Nebo [leading city of Moab], for it will be ruined. Kiriathaim will be disgraced and captured; the stronghold will be disgraced and shattered. Moab will be praised no more; in Heshbon men will plot her downfall: 'Come, let us put an end to that nation.' You too, O Madmen, will be silenced; the sword will pursue you. [There’s “the sword” again.]

Listen to the cries from Horonaim, cries of great havoc and destruction. Moab will be broken; her little ones will cry out. They go up the way to Luhith, weeping bitterly as they go; on the road down to Horonaim anguished cries over the destruction are heard. 

Flee! Run for your lives; become like a bush in the desert. Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive, and Chemosh will go into exile, together with his priests and officials” (vv.1-7).

Who are all of these people and where are they? Moab was east of Israel, east of the Dead Sea. And they came from Abraham’s cousin Lot’s incestuous relationship with one of his daughters. They had grown to be Israel’s enemies and fought them many times. 

Many of these places are not on any map. And, I think, that’s proof that God’s prophecies here were fulfilled. God is promising to wipe them off of the map. And so He did.

But this one name “Chemosh,” in verse 7, I want you to really notice. Who is that? He’s the chief god of Moab. Chemosh is the one that Moab worships instead of Yahweh.

And see what the LORD says about him? Chemosh is going to go into exile!

I love that. Chemosh doesn’t just get defeated by the LORD. The LORD sends him off into exile with the punished people of Moab.

Let’s make that point number three.


When the LORD surely brings His sure judgment, the false gods will be seen to be gods that are false. And the LORD will shine out as true.

There is a battle of deities here. And it might look like the LORD is losing when He allows His people to suffer judgment at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar and be drug off into exile in Babylon. But, in the end, it will be clear that that was the LORD’s doing. It wasn’t like Babylon’s gods were stronger than Yahweh. No, Nebuchadnezzar was doing God’s work. And every false god will be seen to be false when the LORD is done with them.

That was definitely true of Moab’s gods. Verse 8.

“The destroyer will come against every town, and not a town will escape. The valley will be ruined and the plateau destroyed, because the LORD has spoken. Put salt on Moab [completely destroy the land!], for she will be laid waste; her towns will become desolate, with no one to live in them. ‘A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD's work! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!

‘Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another–she has not gone into exile. [The LORD has been patient.] So she tastes as she did, and her aroma is unchanged. [Like a fine wine.]

But days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will send men who pour from jars, and they will pour her out; they will empty her jars and smash her jugs.

Then Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed when they trusted in Bethel” (vv.8-13).

The days are coming! How many times have we heard that? Such good news for the people of God. But terrible news for the people who are not the people of God. And even more terrible for their false gods. “Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh!” They will be so sorry they ever trusted in that idol! It will be so obvious that it was a false god.

What is the application for us? We need to topple our idols, too! Judah kept on worshipping false gods. That’s how they got into this mess. Chemosh seemed like a good bet like Money, Sex, Power, and Popularity seem to us today.

But the LORD will truly shame the false gods of the nations.

What gods are you tempted to honor today with your life?

What does your life say?

What comes out of your mouth?
What comes out of your paycheck?
What comes out of your time priorities?

What are you worshipping?

Is it the One true triune God or a false god worshiped by the nations?

They are going down and going down hard. Verse 14.

“‘How can you say, 'We are warriors, men valiant in battle'? Moab will be destroyed and her towns invaded; her finest young men will go down in the slaughter,’ declares the King, whose name is the LORD Almighty.

‘The fall of Moab is at hand; her calamity will come quickly. Mourn for her, all who live around her, all who know her fame; say, 'How broken is the mighty scepter, how broken the glorious staff!' ‘Come down from your glory and sit on the parched ground, O inhabitants of the Daughter of Dibon, for he who destroys Moab will come up against you and ruin your fortified cities.

Stand by the road and watch, you who live in Aroer. Ask the man fleeing and the woman escaping, ask them, 'What has happened?' Moab is disgraced, for she is shattered. Wail and cry out! Announce by the Arnon that Moab is destroyed. Judgment has come to the plateau–to Holon, Jahzah and Mephaath, to Dibon, Nebo and Beth Diblathaim, to Kiriathaim, Beth Gamul and Beth Meon, to Kerioth and Bozrah–to all the towns of Moab, far and near. 

Moab's horn is cut off; her arm is broken,’ declares the LORD. ‘Make her drunk, for she has defied the LORD. Let Moab wallow in her vomit; let her be an object of ridicule. Was not Israel the object of your ridicule? Was she caught among thieves, that you shake your head in scorn whenever you speak of her? Abandon your towns and dwell among the rocks, you who live in Moab. Be like a dove that makes its nest at the mouth of a cave.

‘We have heard of Moab's pride–her overweening pride and conceit, her pride and arrogance and the haughtiness of her heart” (vv.14-29).

Let’s make that point number four of five.


He knows what He’s about. He’s about shaming the idols and humbling the proud. Did you hear all of words that refer to pride in verse 29? I think there’s 5 in 1 verse! ‘We have heard of Moab's pride–her overweening pride and conceit, her pride and arrogance and the haughtiness of her heart” (vv.14-29).

Moab was big on herself. She thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread. And it led to all kind of sin. But the LORD is the greatest thing ever, and He will see to it that in the end the prideful are humbled and the humble are lifted up.

Verse 30. “I know her insolence but it is futile,’ declares the LORD, ‘and her boasts accomplish nothing. Therefore I wail over Moab, for all Moab I cry out, I moan for the men of Kir Hareseth. I weep for you, as Jazer weeps, O vines of Sibmah. Your branches spread as far as the sea; they reached as far as the sea of Jazer. The destroyer has fallen on your ripened fruit and grapes. Joy and gladness are gone from the orchards and fields of Moab. I have stopped the flow of wine from the presses; no one treads them with shouts of joy. Although there are shouts, they are not shouts of joy” (vv.30-34).

Isn’t that interesting?  I would have thought that the LORD will be crowing as He humbles them. But even as He brings His perfect justice and takes them down every notch, he still weeps over them as He does. Even though they aren’t His covenant people, He still weeps! I think we need to keep that in mind when we think about God’s heart. It is so full of compassion. And He does not take delight in the death of the wicked, even when He rightly brings the wicked to death.

Moab will meet with death. V.34

“‘The sound of their cry rises from Heshbon to Elealeh and Jahaz, from Zoar as far as Horonaim and Eglath Shelishiyah, for even the waters of Nimrim are dried up. In Moab I will put an end to those who make offerings on the high places and burn incense to their gods,’ declares the LORD. [Shaming their gods.]

‘So my heart laments for Moab like a flute; it laments like a flute for the men of Kir Hareseth. The wealth they acquired is gone. Every head is shaved and every beard cut off; every hand is slashed and every waist is covered with sackcloth. On all the roofs in Moab and in the public squares there is nothing but mourning, for I have broken Moab like a jar that no one wants,’ declares the LORD. ‘How shattered she is! How they wail! How Moab turns her back in shame! Moab has become an object of ridicule, an object of horror to all those around her.’

This is what the LORD says: ‘Look! An eagle is swooping down, spreading its wings over Moab. Kerioth will be captured and the strongholds taken. In that day the hearts of Moab's warriors will be like the heart of a woman in labor. Moab will be destroyed as a nation because she defied the LORD. 

Terror and pit and snare await you, O people of Moab,’ declares the LORD. ‘Whoever flees from the terror will fall into a pit, whoever climbs out of the pit will be caught in a snare; for I will bring upon Moab the year of her punishment,’ declares the LORD. ‘In the shadow of Heshbon the fugitives stand helpless, for a fire has gone out from Heshbon, a blaze from the midst of Sihon; it burns the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of the noisy boasters.”

“The noisy boasters!”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be known to the LORD as a noisy boaster. I have been a noisy boaster. But I want to humble myself before Him. And let Him lift me up (James 4:10). Because you see what happens to the noisy boasters? V.46

“Woe to you, O Moab! The people of Chemosh are destroyed; your sons are taken into exile and your daughters into captivity. ‘Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in days to come,’ declares the LORD. Here ends the judgment on Moab.”

There’s another one of those different endings. There’s that little note of hope in the last verse. “Yet I will restore...” Most of the chapter is doom and gloom and rightly so. But the LORD can’t help but sneak in some mercy and grace, because that’s just Who He is. But we know He shows it to those who are repentant and humble.

That’s one of the things I worry the most about the United States of America. We are not, by and large, a humble nation. We think we are wonderful. We think we’re the best. We have grown proud.


I love this country, but it is a nation that thinks highly of itself, and it could very well go the way of Moab. And one day, of course, it will. Because judgment is coming on the nations. It has happened before: “He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword...” (Julia Ward Howe). It can and will happen again.

One more chapter today. And now the nations come fast and hot. We’ve looked so far at 3 in 3 chapters. Now here are 6 more in one chapter. Chapter 49. Verse 1.

“Concerning the Ammonites: This is what the LORD says: ‘Has Israel no sons? Has she no heirs? Why then has Molech taken possession of Gad? Why do his people live in its towns?”

What’s going on? What’s happened is that the nation of Ammon has stolen some tribal territory from Israel. Ammon was also the result of Lot’s incestuous relations with his other daughter. Ammon is north of Moab and east of the Jordan and almost always at enmity with Israel. Their king Baalis was behind the assassination of governor Gedaliah we learned about a couple of weeks ago.

And their chief god was named “Molech” (also rendered “Milcom”). And Molech and his people had stolen land from the Israelite tribe of Gad. So Yahweh says their days were numbered. Verse 2. 

“But the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will sound the battle cry against Rabbah of the Ammonites [capital city]; it will become a mound of ruins, and its surrounding villages will be set on fire. Then Israel will drive out those who drove her out,’ says the LORD. ‘Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is destroyed! Cry out, O inhabitants of Rabbah! Put on sackcloth and mourn; rush here and there inside the walls, for Molech will go into exile, together with his priests and officials. 

[False gods shamed. The prideful humbled. V.4] 

Why do you boast of your valleys, boast of your valleys so fruitful? O unfaithful daughter, you trust in your riches and say, 'Who will attack me?'  I will bring terror on you from all those around you,’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. ‘Every one of you will be driven away, and no one will gather the fugitives. ‘Yet afterward, I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites,’ declares the LORD” (vv.2-6).

There it is again. Another one of those “yets.” Keep storing those up. “Yet afterward, I will restore the fortunes of the Ammonites.”

Next is Edom. The children of Esau, to the south of the Dead Sea. Also related to Israel. Esau was Jacob’s brother. Also often their enemies. V.7

“Concerning Edom: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed? Turn and flee, hide in deep caves, you who live in Dedan, for I will bring disaster on Esau at the time I punish him.

If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes? If thieves came during the night, would they not steal only as much as they wanted? But I will strip Esau bare; I will uncover his hiding places, so that he cannot conceal himself. His children, relatives and neighbors will perish, and he will be no more.

Leave your orphans; I will protect their lives. Your widows too can trust in me.’ This is what the LORD says: ‘If those who do not deserve to drink the cup must drink it, why should you go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, but must drink it. 

I swear by myself,’ declares the LORD, ‘that Bozrah will become a ruin and an object of horror, of reproach and of cursing; and all its towns will be in ruins forever.’ I have heard a message from the LORD: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, ‘Assemble yourselves to attack it! Rise up for battle!’ 

‘Now I will make you small among the nations, despised among men. The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle's, from there I will bring you down,’ declares the LORD. ‘Edom will become an object of horror; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. As [nearby] Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, along with their neighboring towns,’ says the LORD, ‘so no one will live there; no man will dwell in it. ‘Like a lion coming up from Jordan's thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Edom from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?’ Therefore, hear what the LORD has planned against Edom, what he has purposed against those who live in Teman: The young of the flock will be dragged away; he will completely destroy their pasture because of them. At the sound of their fall the earth will tremble; their cry will resound to the Red Sea. Look! An eagle will soar and swoop down, spreading its wings over Bozrah. In that day the hearts of Edom's warriors will be like the heart of a woman in labor” (vv.7-23).

You can see how the same ideas keep cycling through. Here the emphasis still on pride. Esau’s descendants thought they could stay up high on their rocky mountainous terrain and repel all attackers.

The pride of their hearts had deceived them. And verse 15 says that the LORD was going to make them small. The principle is this, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5 NIVO). Either we will make ourselves small or God will do it for us.

Nation number six. Verse 23.

“Concerning Damascus [capital of Syria]: ‘Hamath and Arpad are dismayed, for they have heard bad news. They are disheartened, troubled like the restless sea. Damascus has become feeble, she has turned to flee and panic has gripped her; anguish and pain have seized her, pain like that of a woman in labor. Why has the city of renown not been abandoned, the town in which I delight?  Surely, her young men will fall in the streets; all her soldiers will be silenced in that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty. ‘I will set fire to the walls of Damascus; it will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad’” (vv.23-28).

Judgment is coming. Not just about Judah but upon her neighbors to the north. Notice, again, the LORD’s heart for these people–even though they weren’t His covenant people! But see also His perfect justice.

Nations seven and eight. Verse 28.

“Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked: This is what the LORD says: ‘Arise, and attack Kedar and destroy the people of the East. Their tents and their flocks will be taken; their shelters will be carried off with all their goods and camels. Men will shout to them, 'Terror on every side!' [There it is again.]

‘Flee quickly away! Stay in deep caves, you who live in Hazor,’ declares the LORD. ‘Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has plotted against you; he has devised a plan against you. ‘Arise and attack a nation at ease, which lives in confidence,’ declares the LORD, ‘a nation that has neither gates nor bars; its people live alone. Their camels will become plunder, and their large herds will be booty. I will scatter to the winds those who are in distant places and will bring disaster on them from every side,’ declares the LORD. ‘Hazor will become a haunt of jackals, a desolate place forever. No one will live there; no man will dwell in it.’” (vv.23-33).

Kedar was a kingdom of Arab clans further out from these other nations. And Hazor was probably a nomadic kingdom out that way as well. They thought, in their pride, that because they were more remote and mobile and didn’t have walls, that they were safe. But they weren’t safe from Nebuchadnezzar, and they certainly safe from the LORD.

Which takes us to nation number nine. Last one for today. And the furthest away from Israel which tells us that God will judge every nation on earth, not just the ones nearby. Verse 34.

“This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘See, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might. I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go. I will shatter Elam before their foes, before those who seek their lives; I will bring disaster upon them, even my fierce anger,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them. I will set my throne in Elam and destroy her king and officials,’ declares the LORD.

‘Yet I will restore the fortunes of Elam in days to come,’ declares the LORD.”

Elam was east of Babylon, far away in the lower Tigris Valley. It was founded by one of Shem’s sons, grandson of Noah from Genesis 10. Assyria had conquered Elam decades before this, and now Babylon would conquer them, too. They were famous for their archery, but their bows would not save them now.

The sword of the LORD will reach them no matter where they are. And that should give us pause out here in this kingdom so many miles away from Israel. And tell us that there is no kingdom on earth where God’s justice will not be found. And also tell us that there is no nation on earth where God’s grace will not be found.

Here’s point number five and last:


Grace always has the last word. We have seen now at least four times that in these chapters filled with God perfect judgment that God gives a glimmer of grace still yet to come.

Egypt. 46:26
Moab. 48:47
Ammon. 49:6
And now even Elam. 49:39


And He uses the same phrase “restore the fortunes” for these pagan nations that He used for Israel in chapter 29 and 30. It’s a play on the word “shuv,” to turn. The LORD is going to “turn the turnings.” He’s going to change everything. Not just for Israel, but also for these nations! And, guess what? He did it!

Think about these things:

Egypt. (46:26.) You and I know someone who is Egyptian and does not stand under the judgment of God but under His grace. He lives near here, and he tries every day to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the nations at Penn State University.

Moab. (48:47.) Do you know who was a lady from Moab? A woman named Ruth who was the grandmother of a King named David which puts her in the bloodline of our Savior, King Jesus.

Ammon. (49:6.) Do you know what country is in modern day Ammon? It’s the country Jordan. One of my pastor friends was a missionary there for many years. And someone you and I know is Jordanian who does not stand now under the judgment of God but under God’s grace because of Jesus. She also lives near here. And she tries to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the nations at PSU.

And how about Elam? Obscure little Elam far away. (49:39.) Dr. Luke tells us in Acts chapter 2, that on the Day of Pentecost when Peter was preaching his first big sermon about the gospel of Jesus Christ. There in the crowd were some Elamites listening and becoming a part of the church on the day it was born (Acts 2:4-9, 11).

Jeremiah was born to be a prophet to the nations for their salvation! The LORD told Jeremiah, “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant” (Jer. 1:10 NIVO). And we have a part in that. We have a great commission to take this gospel (don’t keep this good news about Jesus to yourself, but take this gospel) to the world (Matthew 28:19-20).
"We’ve a story to tell to the nations!" 


Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "The Word of the LORD Came to Me" - Jeremiah 1:1-19
02. "I Bring Charges Against You" - Jeremiah 2:1-3:5
03. "Return to Me" - Jeremiah 3:6-4:4
04. “Oh My Anguish, My Anguish!” - Jeremiah 4:6-5:31
05. "Ask for the Ancient Paths" - Jeremiah 6:1-30
06. “This Is the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD!” - Jeremiah 7:1-8:3
07. "Is There No Balm in Gilead?" - Jeremiah 8:4-9:22
08. "Boast About This" - Jeremiah 9:23-24
09. "Like a Scarecrow in a Melon Patch" - Jeremiah 9:25-10:25
10. "Conspiracy" - Jeremiah 11:1-12:17
11. “My People For My Renown” - Jeremiah 13:1-27
12. "I Can No Longer Show Compassion" - Jeremiah 14:1-15:21
13. "I Have Withdrawn My Blessing, My Love and My Pity" - Jeremiah 16:1-21
14. "I the LORD Search the Heart" - Jeremiah 17:1-27
15. "Go Down to the Potter's House" - Jeremiah 18:1-19:15
16. “Insult and Reproach All Day Long” - Jeremiah 20:1-18
17. "Woe to the Shepherds" - Jeremiah 21:1-23:8
18. "I Did Not Send These Prophets" - Jeremiah 23:9-40
19. "“My Eyes Will Watch Over Them For Their Good” - Jeremiah 24:1-25:38
20. "This Man Should Be Sentenced to Death" - Jeremiah 26:1-24
21. “Under the Yoke” - Jeremiah 27:1-28:17
22. “I Know the Plans I Have for You” - Jeremiah 29:1-32
23. "I Will Surely Save You Out of a Distant Land" - Jeremiah 30:1-24
24. “I Have Loved You With An Everlasting Love” - Jeremiah 31:1-26
25. "A New Covenant" - Jeremiah 31:27-40
26. "Buy the Field" - Jeremiah 32:1-44
27. "Great and Unsearchable Things" - Jeremiah 33:1-26
28. "Go To the Recabite Family" - Jeremiah 34:1-35:19
29. "The Scroll" - Jeremiah 36:1-32
30. "Sunk In the Mud" - Jeremiah 37:1-38:28
31. "He Has Done Just As He Said He Would" - Jeremiah 39:1-41:18
32. "Do Not Go to Egypt" - Jeremiah 42:1-44:30
33. "What Jeremiah the Prophet Told Baruch" - Jeremiah 45:1-7