Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 46:18,19

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, November 15, 2014

The prophecy about Egypt continues:

18 As surely as I live, declares the King
      whose name is the LORD of Armies,
someone will come
  who is like Tabor among the mountains,
  and like Carmel by the sea.

In the previous verses, we heard about “Pharaoh, king of Egypt” who is “just a noise” and who missed his chance (verse 17). Now the true King speaks: The King, the LORD of Armies, God himself.

Tabor and Carmel are two of the tallest mountains north of Jerusalem that the people of Egypt might have seen. Other, much taller mountains (like Mt. Hermon and Mt. Ararat) are farther north. A tall man coming at you can be intimidating. An elephant coming at you can be frightening. A mountain coming at you would be terrifying—and this is what the Lord describes as he pictures the mountains from the north (Tabor and Carmel) descending down upon Egypt. The puny pyramids would be dwarfed and swallowed up by these towering peaks.

The name Carmel is used in three different ways for the same geographical feature: First, for the entire mountain chain, almost 25 miles long. Second, the northwestern heights of the chain (12 miles long) that are much taller than the southeastern foothills. Finally, the last peak of the chain is also called Carmel, a 1,791-foot summit that plunges steeply into the Mediterranean sea.  Carmel is almost four times taller than the tallest of the great pyramids of Egypt. Mount Tabor is a few (about 90) feet taller than Mount Carmel. The might of Babylon would dwarf any might of Egypt.

19 Get your bags ready to go into exile,
        daughter who dwells in Egypt,
for Memphis will become a desolation
  and lie in ruins
  without inhabitant.

The pride of Egypt would be destroyed. The ancient cities—even the great Memphis, capital city of the pharaohs—would be a ruin. These warnings, like all of the warnings against the nations, were meant to turn people to repentance.

Judah, the “daughter of Zion” (Jeremiah 4:31, 6:23) had to pack her bags and move to Babylon. Now Jeremiah calls Egypt by the affectionate name “daughter of Egypt” (a title that only occurs in this chapter of the Bible—see 46:11 and 46:24). (Remember that Jeremiah lived in Egypt in the last years of his life). Egypt will have to pack her bags, too. Would it have been unthinkable for Egypt to go into exile? It had happened before. It wasn’t so long before this that Nahum could taunt Nineveh and say: “Are you better than Thebes, situated on the Nile? ...Yet she was taken captive and went into exile” (Nahum 3:8,10). It was coming again, warned the Lord.

Turn, turn to me. This is the Lord’s invitation to everyone. Sometimes the invitation is simple because that’s all we need. Sometimes it has to be phrased within terrible judgments and warnings because harder hearts don’t think the Lord has any power in their lives. But the invitation is there. Listen to it, and don’t turn away. When he speaks to you in his holy word, he’s putting faith in your heart and strengthening the faith you already have.

There would be people from Egypt who would turn to Christ and be saved. This was prophesied by Micah: “In that day people will come to you from Assyria and the cities of Egypt” (Micah 7:12). Micah also said: “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” (Micah 7:18). God’s forgiveness is possible for anyone who doesn’t turn away from it. His mercy is for you, too. Trust in Jesus, who gave his life for you and rose from the dead. His resurrection is proof of his payment for our sins. God received him, and God will receive you because you belong to Jesus. Your faith means everlasting life.

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.