CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 48.
The Lord speaks out against Moab, the nation along the Dead Sea just East of Israel, now where Jordan stands, and these were the descendants of Lot (verse 1, 20-25). The Lord says that because they have chosen evil, they will be cut down for a time (verse 2). A prophet will warn them of destruction (verse 3), and will declare it after it has come (verse 4). Even the surrounding nations will know what happened to Moab (verse 5), and urge them to flee for their lives (verse 6).
The Lord says He has allowed them the consequences they have chosen because they have turned to false gods and ignored His pleas with them (verse 7). They, too, He says, will be taken captive and none will escape (verse 8). The Lord says that the people will have to flee away because all their cities will be desolate (verse 9).
Interesting side note for modern times: if we consider all things with multiple fulfillments and layers of both temporal and spiritual, there is an interesting application here. It says that after the cities are taken captive, they will only be able to flee through Moab. Specifically, verse 9 says “give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away”. Currently, because of the political conditions of the West Bank, they can only fly out of Jordan (Moab) and cannot leave through Israel.
The Lord says that the people have not been honest before Him, and have perverted His laws and ordinances, doing His work “deceitfully” (verse 10). The worst of this, He says, is that the people have passed it down generation after generation. Instead of following Him and teaching their children the laws of God, they have been lazy in their spiritual development (verse 11). Unlike the twelve tribes, which grew up together and were taught the ways of God, the people of Moab were like an only child, raised by themselves and spoiled. Instead of being like fresh wine poured from the storage vat into the serving pitcher and into cups, the spoiled children are drinking straight from the vat. They have not renewed the vat, have not filled it up, and so the wine is old and spoiled and only the bitter dregs at the end. Instead of being nourished with fresh drink, they are spoiled and angry at their bitter cup but not understanding they have done it to themselves.
Because of this, the Lord will send the people into the captivity they have chosen (verse 12), and they will be ashamed of their choice (verse 13). They will see the battle coming and wonder how they are strong enough to fight (verse 14) because they know they are spoiled children not prepared for war (verse 15). Destruction is on its way, and it will be a great affliction to this people who think they have been so prosperous (verse 16). All around them will know they have fallen (verse 17), and will join in stealing their goods as spoils of war (verse 18). The people will be in shock at how quickly they fall and how far they fall, and wonder how it could have happened (verse 19), but everyone will know it has indeed happened (verses 20-25).
The Lord says that they are like a drunk man who doesn’t know they are at the bottom of their glass, and that they will make themselves sick on their own inquity (verse 26). They did not help Israel, and so also did not listen to their prophets (verse 27). Instead of having cities that protect them, the people will have to make their homes in caves just to be safe (verse 28). They have been proud and arrogant (verse 29), angry at God for punishing them when it was their behavior that chose the consequence (verse 30).
But still, they are His people, and He loves them and grieves for them and their suffering (verse 31). He cries out for a people destroyed in their prime (verse 32), and mourns with them when no good is found in them to protect them (verse 33). They have all failed to turn to the Lord, and so He cannot protect them because they have refused His protection (verse 34). Instead of asking for Him to intercede for them, they have turned to false gods that can do nothing to save them (verse 35). This breaks His heart as He watches their blessings slip away (verse 36) as they head into bondage (verse 37).
The people themselves will mourn (verse 38), and cry out as they witness the destruction of Moab (verse 39). The people will become like prey (verse 40), as if healthy animals plucked from their lives by predators (verse 41). The prophets will give them warning that it is coming, the way a woman feels her labor begin and is not surprised by childbirth (verse 41). But because the people will not listen to prophets, they will be destroyed (verse 42) and ashamed of themselves (verse 43) when they cannot escape (verse 44). No political power can save them (verse 45) because they have chosen captivity (verse 46), and the Lord has agreed to their consequence in judgment of the behavior they have chosen (verse 47).