Archive for October 2nd, 2017

Jeremiah contains a group of chapters (46-51) that wouldn’t have made easy reading for any nation that had been an enemy of Israel. In fact the catalogue of nations that fell into that category is quite extensive as we’ll see. Today we read what God had to say to the Moabites.

Moab had grown from the illegitimate offspring of Lot’s eldest daughter following the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 19:30-38). His other daughter bore a son whose descendants became known as the Ammonites; more about them tomorrow! From their ignominious start the nation of Moab had not remained true to God but were seduced into idolatrous worship and as happened with so many tribes they became completely detached from their Jewish heritage refusing to have anything to do with their true God and creator.

They occupied a territory south of the Promised Land, south-east of the Dead Sea, and for the most part lived a fairly peaceful existence there. However, during the exodus of Israel from Egypt both they and the neighbouring Edomites had refused to permit the Jews to pass through their region thus forcing them to travel further. The Edomites took a fairly robust military stance to prevent the passage while the Moabites refused without the same sabre-rattling show of military force. The point is that they had failed to help a nation with whom they had a shared ancestry, they had become idolatrous, complacent in the place where they lived and as a result self-centredness and pride had become part of their character.

As you read through the passage the reader is left in no doubt that God is more than just a little displeased with them but promises to bring destruction upon them for the sins they’ve committed as a nation. Perhaps that’s a warning for us as a nation too?

Verse 10 puts things into perspective. “A curse on him who is lax in doing the Lord’s work! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed.” When it comes to serving the Lord God Almighty half measure or even outright indolence will not do! We are called to act where we can, to do what is right and good and to use the gifts, tools and talents we have to glorify God and benefit our fellow man. As Jesus commanded, “love your neighbour as yourself” (Mark 12:31), “If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them” (Luke 6:29 etc. Failure to address these issues is considered sin and carries a punishment with it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Father, help me to be one who honours your call and blesses your name. Amen.

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