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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 48:20-25

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, February 7, 2015

In verse 19, a Moabite woman escaping the destruction asked, “What happened?” The Lord himself answers.

20 “Moab is withered;
         for it is broken down.
Wail and cry!
   Tell it by the Arnon that Moab has been destroyed.

The survivor is bidden to spread the news down on Moab’s big river, the Arnon, but this is the kind of news that would be obvious to anyone who was there. The nation has fallen, and God is the destroyer. This has happened because of their many sins.

21 Judgment has come upon the plain, on Holon, on Jahzah, on Mephaath, 22 on Dibon, on Nebo, on Beth Diblathaim, 23 on Kiriathaim, on Beth Gamul, on Beth Meon, 24 on Kerioth, on Bozrah, and on all the towns of the land of Moab, far and near.
25 The horn of Moab is cut off,
      and his arm is broken,” declares the LORD.

Locating these places on a map shows that almost all of them were from northern Moab, which is to say north of the Arnon river. Most of them are also mentioned on an artifact known as the Moabite Stone that King Mesha of Moab had erected in 840 B.C.

“Horn” in this context is strength and power. Moab’s ability to defend itself is broken, and Moab’s “arm” is broken, too.  Defenseless, what could Moab possibly do? Zephaniah also prophesied: “Surely Moab will become like Sodom, the Ammonites like Gomorrah—a place of weeds and salt pits, a wasteland forever” (Zephaniah 2:9). The land was a ruin, a useless ruin.

The Law of God breaks down all of our defenses. When God’s law strikes at our consciences, we should not try to defend ourselves or make up excuses. Our sinful nature wants to lash out, to come up with something reasonable, or to say that we’re not as bad as somebody else who doesn’t seem to be in trouble. But that’s not what God wants us to do. He wants us to acknowledge our guilt and our sinfulness, to turn to him for forgiveness, and to ask him to help us change our lives. “Forgive me and change me!” needs to be our prayer.

It was too late for Moab. It’s not too late for you.

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.