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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 48:26-31

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, February 14, 2015

26 “Make him drunk;
         for he magnified himself against the LORD.
Moab will wallow in his vomit,
  and he will be ridiculed.
27 Was not Israel ridiculed by you?
      Was he found among thieves,
        that whenever you speak of him,
        you shake your head?

The image of a man so drunk he can’t stand up is used in the Bible for God’s cup of wrath that makes nations stagger and fall (Isaiah 3:8, 19:14). Moab had laughed in derision at Israel’s misfortunes (Lamentations 1:7; Zephaniah 2:15), but the same troubles will come to Moab.

28 You who live in Moab, abandon the cities, and dwell in the rocks.
Be like the dove that makes her nest over the mouth of a chasm.

David had to flee to live in the caves more than once during his reign (2 Samuel 17:22; Psalm 3 Title; Psalm 63 Title; Psalm 142 Title). Now Moab will have to flee—the whole nation will need to flee from their land.

Jeremiah compares Moab with a dove building its nest precariously over some dangerous space. This “chasm” is the same word (pahat) as the pit that served as Absalom’s grave (2 Samuel 18:17), the pit that catches a terrified man in Isaiah 24:18, and a passage later in this chapter that applies Isaiah 24:18 to Moab (Jeremiah 48:44). When you see a bird building a nest in a place where no one else could ever reach, you realize that the bird does it for safety. The remnant of the Moabites can’t rely on their fortresses anymore, and so they must hide like a bird on the sides of cliffs.

29 “We have heard of the pride of Moab.
         He is very proud.
He is haughty, he is conceited,
  He is proud, and his heart is arrogant.
30 I know his insolence, says the LORD. It is empty,
      And so are his deeds.
31 Therefore I will wail for Moab.
      I will cry out for all Moab.
      I will mourn for the men of Kir Haresheth.

God piles up a number of words for “arrogant” to describe Moab, and then he makes another pile of synonyms for “mourn” afterward. It’s a simple thing to do a little arithmetic and see that God’s divine weeping for Moab (three verbs: “wail…cry…mourn”) are outweighed by seven terms for Moab’s pride. God is compassionate, but Moab has failed to repent So God will weep for Moab, but Moab will be judged anyway.

God’s compassion is also held out to us. He offers his forgiveness, given so freely and completely in Jesus Christ. Will you respond with humble repentance and a change in your life? Or will your stubborn pride and arrogance mean that you reject Jesus, his forgiveness, and a place with God forever in heaven? God weeps for those who turn away, but he keeps holding out his offer of forgiveness. Christ’s blood covers the sins of the whole world (John 3:16). Have faith in him. “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.