Let's turn to the word of God. Jeremiah chapter 49 as Skip continues to lead us through the word.
Great to be with you again. We had a great time in Israel, but it's always good to be back home. Tonight we're almost done with the book of Jeremiah. There's four chapters left, but they're long chapters. And so we're going to take two at a time. Tonight chapter 49 and 50. It was Charles Spurgeon who told his young school of ministry students that when they speak about heaven, their face ought to show it. He said when you talk about heaven, make sure there's a heavenly glow on your face. And then he said, when you speak about hell, your everyday face will do.
Jeremiah will have his every day face on in these chapters. The theme is God's judgment to come. Some preachers love to speak about judgment. It's their pet topic. It's like they're chomping at the bit to speak about it. They relish it. Not Jeremiah. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet. When he spoke about judgment, it was with tears in his eyes and a broken heart. Because he knew what that meant. And it was not only for Judah, whom he principally spoke about. That lower portion of the land of Israel that encompassed the two tribes Judah and Benjamin. But other nations as well.
And the other nations are in our purview tonight in chapter 49. Somebody once said, by the way, that you should never preach about hell until you've wept over it first. So then Jeremiah would be a good candidate to do that. Because we discovered something. In the last time we were together, and he speaks about the judgment on other nations. And by the way, beginning in chapter 46 onward, nine nations are mentioned that God slates out for coming judgment. And when he spoke against those nations, we remark, we saw how that Jeremiah in chapter 48 wailed and wept even for the enemies of God.
I have a couple of friends who are preachers. One is a missionary. He was in Africa. Spent a good deal of his time there. And I love his heart, because when he speaks about the work of God, when he speaks about reaching out to the last, he'll always break down in tears. And it's not fake. He's not manufacturing it. He really has a heart for the lost. The other friend of mine that comes to mind when I think about this is Raul Ries. Raul Ries genuinely--
That sounded like Greg Laurie's laugh for a moment. Raul Ries genuinely has a heart for the lost. So much so, that I witnessed him weeping over the lost before an event. Well Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, speaks against nine nations, as well as then Babylon which will come later on. Against the ammonites. That's the first group in verse one, chapter 49. Thus says the Lord, has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why then does Milcom-- that's Molek, the chief God of the ammonites. Inherit Gad, and his people dwell in its cities.
The ammonites descended from Lot. Israel, you remember, when they were coming into the land, three of the tribes settled east of the Jordan River. In the area were the ammonites dwell. Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Well the Assyrians had taken captive that entire northern section around 722 B.C. Dispossessing those tribes from out of the land, the ammonites assumed that they would never be back. Those Israelites, especially sons and daughters, would never come back to occupy their inheritance. So they boasted over it. So notice the judgment that will come. Therefore behold the days are coming, says the Lord. That I will cause to be heard an alarm of war in Rabbah of the ammonites.
It shall be a desolate mound, and her villages shall be burned with fire. Then Israel shall take possession of his inheritance, says the Lord. Rabah is modern day Amman, Jordan. If you ever fly Jordan air, that's what you usually fly into. That's where they are headquartered, Amman, Jordan. Well Rabah was the ancient capital of this ancient country of the ammonites. It was it's chief city. And so it's isolated here, or spoken of as indicative of the entire nation under judgment. Notice it says, an alarm of war in Rabah. Nebuchadnezzar took over the world five years after he destroyed Jerusalem. 581 BC, he came and took this country east of the Jordan River. Occupied it, and it became subservient to him. Wail, oh Heshbahn. Another city in the area, 17 miles. About 17 to 20 miles southwest of present day Amman, Jordan.
Wail oh Heshbahn, for I is plundered. Cry you daughters of Robah. Gerd yourselves with sackcloth. Lament and run to and fro by the walls. For Milcom shall go into captivity with his priests and princes together. Why do you boast in the valleys? You're flowing valley oh backsliding daughter. You trusted in her treasures saying, who will come against me. Amman's downfall, or the ammonites downfall was their pride in their resources. They had beautiful valleys that they had watered, and they were protected by strong mountain ranges.
And they came to a point where they thought nothing can touch us. We're strong. We have a fortified kingdom, a strong empire. But you know what the book of Proverbs says, pride comes before destruction. And a haute spirit before a fall. Pride is always at the root of our problems when it comes to sin, isn't it. It's what caused Lucifer to become Satan. He ascended, he said. I will ascend above the stars of God. I will be like the most high. And he was cast out. It was pride that caused Adam and Eve to fall. And pride is always the basis. Always the basis of sin, and a cause for judgment.
And notice in verse 4 that typical phrase we have read many times in Jeremiah, backsliding. You're flowing valley, oh backsliding daughter. The prophets, including Jeremiah, used this phrase very often. It's a very typical prophetic phrase. And there's an insight into what backsliding is. Whenever you start boasting about yourself, bragging about yourself, focusing on yourself, your heart is on the way to backsliding.
It says in Proverbs the backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways. And any anytime you find a person filled with his or her own ways, boasting in themselves, bragging in themselves, it's an indication that their heart is a backsliden heart. Behold I will bring fear upon you says the Lord of Hosts. From all those who are around you, you shall be driven out. Every one headlong, and no one will gather those who wander off. But afterward, I will bring back the captives of the people of Ammon, says the Lord. It's interesting. God pronounces judgment on one hand. Then on the other hand, he elevates his mercy in the midst of judgment. Don't you love the Lord for that.
He remembers mercy, even in judgment. That's the heart of God. He judges because he must. Their sins demand that accounting. But then God promises to extend mercy. To return them. To bring back the captives of Ammon, says the Lord. So those three tribes, Ruben, Gad, and the half tribe of Menassa that were east of the Jordan, displaced from their land. Bragged on by the ammonites. Dispossessed of their inheritance. And then the rest of the tribes of Israel that never really took and settled in their inheritance, they also left. They were displaced by the Assyrians, by the Babylonians.
And I see a parallel with what happened to Israel and what can happen in the Christian life. God gives us an inheritance. Expects us to walk the land and occupy that inheritance. But so often we fail. We don't take it all. We don't enjoy all that is ours in Christ. And just like these tribes of Israel that were displaced and then mocked by the enemies, so to the Christian life. We can boast that we're saved, and we should brag about God for all of his goodness in saving us. But then at the same time, are you enjoying all that is yours in Christ? All of those spiritual blessings that Paul writes about that are ours in Christ.
John Wendell was called America's most miserly millionaire. He died in 1915. He decided that to protect the family fortune, he would remain a bachelor. Didn't want to marry off and ruin the financial capital that was his. And he had five sisters that he managed to persuade never to marry. And for 50 years, remain in the same house. When one of them died in 1931, they discovered she was worth, in 1931, over $100 million, her estate. She never owned a car. Never used electricity in the house. When she died, she had one dress that she made and wore, washed, and wore, washed and wore, for 25 years.
She was worth so much. She enjoyed so little. The children of Israel were given 300,000 square miles of land by God as decreed in the Torah. At the height of their glory, they only occupied 30,000. A tenth of all that God gave them. They never enjoyed all that was theirs. And now the Lord says, are there no children in Gad? The ammonites had dispossessed them of their land. Now we get to Edom, beginning in verse 7. And we have a little longer section with Edom. And it only makes sense, because Edom is a descendant of Jacob's older brother Esau.
And the Edomites and the Israelites had a long standing conflict for years. And so more space is given to them and to their judgment. Against Edom, thus says the Lord of Hosts. Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished? Teman was renowned for its sages, its wise men. You may remember back in the Book of Job, that one of the counselors that came to job was a guy named Eliphaz the temanite. They boasted in their wisdom, and they were renowned for it.
The book of Obadiah, which also outlines the judgment on the Edomites, speaks about the wisdom and the might that came from Teman. That portion in the land of the Edomites. So the Lord says, is wisdom no more in Teman? It's interesting isn't it. Whenever there's a real crisis. Even the best wisdom of man is so shallow. All of the solutions of man, of natural man. Whenever there is a real national crisis or personal crisis, they don't add up to much. Paul to the Corinthians says, where is the wise? Where does the scribe? Whereas the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world.
And I've noticed something. That educated nonbelievers will often scoff at Christians as being poor and dumb people following this religious stuff, until there is a time of real crisis. And then it's please pray for me. And we do, and we should. The wisdom of man falls so short, whenever like this, there is a judgment. I remember very vividly after September 11th, and being on the streets of New York City. And I would walk up to people during that time, and I could ask anyone on the street would you like to pray. There was, without exception. Yes. Please pray for me.
We opened up the Billy Graham prayer center there in New York City. Thousands of people wanted counsel and prayer. At a time of crisis, only God's wisdom can satisfy. People look for it. But man's wisdom falls short. Flee says the prophet. Turn back. Dwell in the depths, oh inhabitants of Dedan. For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him. Remember Esau gave away his inheritance. His personal gratification was more important than spiritual heritage. The time that I will punish him. If grape gatherers came to you, would they not leave some gleaning grapes. If thieves by night, would they not destroy until they've had enough.
But I have made Esau bare. I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself. His descendants are plundered. His brethren and his neighbors, and he is no more. Now those who work in the vintage with grapes will pick the grapes. And the law required, you always leave a little bit for the poor. It was God's beautiful way of a welfare system. The poor can come in and take what is left. But grape gathers in a harvest will miss some, even if they're trying to get the entire harvest. Some is always left behind.
The analogy, even of a thief breaking in and stealing something from your house, he's not going to take everything. But what God is saying, I am going to come through. And like a careful grape gatherer, everything will be dealt with. I'm going to scrape the land clean. The first time I judge, it will be thorough. It will never have to be done again. I will make a complete end. In the third century BC, a group called the Nabataeans. I'll just plant that word in your head. Some of you were at Petra, and you saw the evidence of the Nabataeans who were there. In the third century BC, the Nabateans came to this area and overtook it, and occupied it for many, many years.
Leave your fatherless children. I will preserve them alive. And let your widows trust in me. In other words, there'll be no adult men left to care for. Those who are needing care. For that says the Lord, behold those whose judgment was not able, excuse me, those whose judgment was not to drink of the cup, have assuredly drunk. And are you the one who will all together go unpunished? You shall not go unpunished, but you shall surely drink of it.
In other words, those whose position wasn't to drink the cup of judgment, drank it. That was Judah. God is saying, if I didn't spare my own covenant people, my own children. But in my judgment, I allowed them to go into captivity of Babylon, which God did. Do you think I'm going to spare you, who are not my covenant people? Who are godless. Who have exhausted my grace during this season. If I poured out my wrath and my judgment upon them, my people, then it's going to be far worse for you. And that's a principle we find even in the New Testament.
In 1 Peter Chapter 4, he writes, the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God. And if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? You see, God's fire of judgment will purify believers, but will mortify unbelievers. When God judges, he does it to purify us. To make us stronger, better. To come out the other end much stronger than before. But the fire of judgment upon the unbelievers will destroy. For I have sworn by my self, says the Lord, that Basrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste and a curse. And all of its cities shall be a perpetual waste.
I've heard a message from the Lord. And an ambassador has been sent to the nations. Gather together, come against her, and rise up to battle. For indeed, I will make you small among nations. Despised among men. Your fierceness has deceived you. The pride of your heart, oh you who dwell in the cliffs of the rock, who hold the height of the hill. Though you make your nest as high as the Eagle, I will bring you down from there, says the Lord. Edom will also be in astonishment. Every one who goes by it will be astonished, and will hiss at all of its plagues.
As in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbor, says the Lord, no one shall remain there, nor shall a Son of Man dwell in it. The rock city of Petra, which is in view here, was thought to be invincible. An interesting location. If you were there in Jordan, you saw it. It is protected by mountains on all sides, and then vast deserts outside of that. And the entrance to that rock city of Petra is by a mile long, very narrow canyon called a Siq, S-I-Q. And in some places, it's so thin that the little chariots barely make it through. Usually you walk or you take a horse.
And so those who dwelt in it felt were invincible. Nothing can get to us. And truly, for a number of years, they were. I mentioned that the Nabataeans came and overtook this land, and they did. They were a group of pre-Roman time Arabs who settled in the land. They were a ruthless tribe of people. They settled there, and there were many attempts to conquer them, and they all failed. Until the Romans, in conquering the world, Trajan, specifically the emperor, was successful in overtaking the rock city of Petra. So that there was a period of time where the Romans built baths and meeting halls and colonnade streets. But for so many years, it was seen as invincible.
The Germans, later on in more recent times, tried to colonize Petra, unsuccessfully. They sent colonies of people to live over there, and they were there for a while, but they dispersed. They scattered everywhere. And to this day, the Arab tribes in the area, all the Bedouin tribes have a superstitious feel about Petra. You may see a Bedouin or two pitching his tent one night, but they're out the next day. They're not there long. And so it's interesting. No one shall remain there, nor shall the son of man dwell in it.
Something else about these Edomites, eventually they migrate because of the persecution of the Nabataeans. They'll migrate to southern Judah. There they will be known as the nabat-- as the Idum'ams. And Herod the great, from his Father antipater. Herod the Great, the whole Herod dynasty are of Edomite or Idum'am in descent. So because of that relationship of hostility in the past, the Edomites against the Jews. Herod the great being an Idum'am coming in building the temple for the Jews, and calling himself the King of the Jews. It didn't go over well with them.
There was a long standing animosity with Herod the great and the Jewish nation. Behold he shall come up like a lion from the flood plain of the Jordan, against the dwelling places of the strong. But I will suddenly make him run away from her. And who is the chosen man that I may appoint over her. For who is like me? Who will arraign me? Who is that shepherd who will withstand me? Twice God says that in these chapters. This is the first time. Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord that he has taken against Edom. And his purpose is that he has purposed against the inhabitants of Tamen. Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out.
That means, even the weakest, feeblest Babylonians soldier will have strength enough to bring these Edomites into captivity because of the judgment of God that is coming upon them. Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out. Surely he shall make their dwelling places desolate with them. The earth shakes at the noise of their fall. At the cry, its noise is heard at the Red Sea. Behold he shall come up and fly like the eagle, and spread his wings over Basra. The heart of the mighty men of Edom in that day shall be like the heart of a woman in birth pangs.
Now in verse 23 and the following verses, Damascus is in view. Couple of weeks ago, some of you were with us atop a strategic mountain in the north of Israel, called Mount Bental. Where a lot of the communication towers are. And we were-- it was a cold windy day, but we were looking toward the north a few miles out of Damascus. You could see the Damascus road, and our sights were toward Damascus. And we were considering some of these prophesies.
Damascus has grown feeble. She turns to flee, for fear has seized her. Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor. Why is the city of praise not deserted? The city of my joy. Damascus has been called the oldest and longest inhabited city in the world. Now a lot of cities make that boast. Damascus seems to be right in their boast. Still inhabited. Never been totally destroyed. It has been overtaken. Never been totally annihilated. It's on a fertile plain about 135 miles north of the city of Jerusalem.
Just east of that beautiful snow capped mount Hermon that's visible in all that area of the Middle East. Beautiful location. Beautiful in situation. Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, says the Lord of Hosts. I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Ben-Hadad. All right. What happened to Damascus? Well twice they were overtaken in this part of ancient history. Around 732 BC, the Syrians, and then the Babylonians later on. Much like what happened to Israel in Judah, where you had an Assyrian campaign, then you had a Babylonian campaign. It happened to Damascus.
However, when we were back in Isaiah, there was a prediction that Damascus would be destroyed, destroyed and never inhabited afterwards. Now that's a verse of scripture that we're still waiting to have fulfilled. Yes, the Assyrians did capture it. Did overrun it. Yes, the Babylonians took it. Subjugated it, et cetera. But it has never yet been destroyed. That's a piece of the prophetic puzzle we're waiting for. Now here's what's interesting.
Today in Lebanon, there are weapons that are poised facing Israel, hundreds of them. They were manufactured in Iran. They were flown from Tehran airport to Damascus in Syria. Put on trucks and shipped from Damascus down to southern Lebanon, to an area that has been controlled by the Hezbollah. The Hezbollah live in Lebanon, but they're backed by Syria. That's why-- and now we understand, the link between Damascus and Hezbollah. They've always had a strong support.
That's why when these weapons that are poised toward Israel, hundreds of them, have not only nuclear, but chemical capabilities, at all the strategic population centers of Israel. The Israeli government, having the intelligence, knowing where they're at. Told Damascus, if one of these weapons goes off in Lebanon, we will flatten Damascus. We'll destroy it. We'll annihilate you, and obliterate you totally. Not Lebanon, Damascus. Because of the Hezbollah backed by the Damascus government. So it's interesting. We just sort of wait and we watch what's going to happen next on the prophetic horizon.
Damascus slated for judgment, and slated for destruction. Now Kedar and Hazor in the next few verses. This is Arabia. Against Kedar and against the kingdoms of Hazor. This is not the Hazor in northern Israel that you drove by, some of you, a few weeks ago. This is down in the deserts of Arabia, settled by ancient Bedouin tribes. Which Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, shall strike, thus says the Lord. Arise go up to Kedar and devastate the men of the east. Their tents and their flocks they shall take away. They shall take for themselves their curtain's, all their vessels and camels. And they shall cry out to them, fear is on every side.
These two places are really two tribes. You kind of wonder, what does God have against these two desert tribes. Their Bedouin nomadic tribes that are hanging out all by themselves, leaving everybody alone. Very independent. Remember all of these nations that are being judged are judged based upon their relationship in past history to the nation of Israel, God's inheritance. What they did. What they said. How they aided them in their overthrow, et cetera. These two tribes, Nebuchadnezzar attempted, around 599 BC, to overtake them and control them. And they managed to escape his hand for quite some time, till they were finally conquered.
Their problem is that they were so prideful in their independence, aloof from everyone. Independent from God, saying, we don't need God. We don't need the God of Israel. And being isolated and independent from other tribes, other people groups. They were off-- they were isolated. And there's a lesson there. We can become prideful and narrow minded when we isolate ourselves. It's not healthy especially for Christians. The whole concept of the body of Christ is not independence, it's interdependence. We need each other.
I know we can needle each other from time to time, but we need each other as well. We're meant to enjoy each other's fellowship. In Proverbs 18, I think it's verse 1, a man who isolates himself, the Bible says, seeks his own desire, and rages against all wise judgment. Mark the person who isolates himself or herself over time. They push off all accountability. They push off all vulnerability, and it's a dangerous place to be as it was for this tribe. I was reading an interesting little bit of history about Adolf Hitler.
His closest friend, if it could be said that Hitler had a close friend, was Albert Speer. In fact, those were his words. He said, I suppose that it would be said I was at Adolf Hitler's closest friend. He wrote a book called, Inside the Third Reich. He said, the thing about Hitler is he really had no friends. According to Speer in this book, Hitler wallowed in his own charisma. But he repelled any kind of intimate close accountable relationships, and absolutely no friendships. What a sad, sad state. And ultimately brings judgment. Did on him.
Flee, get away. Get far away. Dwell in the depths oh inhabitants of Hazor, says the Lord. For Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, has taken counsel against you, and conceived a plan against you. Arise. Go up to the wealthy nation that dwells securely, says the Lord. Which has neither gates nor bars, dwelling alone. Their camels shall be for booty, and the multitude of their cattle for plunder. I will scatter to all the winds in the farthest corners, and I will bring their calamity from all sides, says the Lord.
Hazor shall be a dwelling for jackals. A desolation forever. No one shall reside there, nor son of man dwell in it. The last part of this chapter is judgment now on the Nation of Elam, which was just to the side of ancient Babylon. Neighbors of Babylon. The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah the prophet against Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, the King of Judah. Saying thus says the Lord of Hosts, behold I will break the bow of Elam, the foremost of their might. Against Elam, I will bring the four winds from the four corners of heaven, and scatter them toward all those winds.
There shall be no nation where the outcasts of Elam will not go. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies and before those who seek their life. I will bring disaster upon them. My fierce anger, says the Lord. And I will send the sword after them until I have consumed them. Elam is present day Iran. And as I said, it was a neighbor of Babylon. It enjoyed a relatively long and stable history, but eventually was absorbed, you might say by the Persian. The mido-Persian Empire, which eventually succeeded in taking over Babylon. But for a period of time was under the subjugation of the Persian Empire.
I will set my throne in Elam. I like that. I'll tell you why in a moment. I will set my throne in Elam, and I will destroy from there the King and the princes, says the Lord. And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring back the captives of Elam says the Lord. So again, even in judgment, the extension of God's future grace. Now whenever a nation was defeated, it was the practice of the armies to set up their kings throne in the gate of that city-state. As if to say, our King reigns, not yours.
And here God says, I will set my throne in Elam. I see the heart of God for missions. I don't think this verse has directly anything to do with missions, but I see the heart of God in that statement. He wants to set up his throne in the places where there have been other kings and other gods up to this point. For God's people to come to areas around the world, and Herald, the King of kings, the Lord of Lords, only one King, one God in the gates of the cities. The Lord wants to be their King. Wants to rule over them.
And we have the privilege of going to even difficult places and making his name, his kingdom known. I love that. Now there is a warfare involved, as there was for the armies the came against Elam. But the whole idea is in the midst of the battle, we're going to set our kings throne up in that place and he will reign from there. Just a challenge from time to time. The body of Christ needs it. What places in the world, perhaps, is God stirring your heart about?
Saying, oh, the Lord's name isn't really known there. He's not King over in that place, or in that area. You say, oh but that's so difficult over there. It's much easier here. Question, if you're a fisherman would you rather fish in a lake where everybody fishes with the same bait month after month, week after week, year after year. Or would you rather go to a place, even though it's difficult to get to. There will be some trials along the way, but fishing is great. And out there, the fishing is really great. And so many have taken the challenge to put the throne of God in these places, and have his name be known.
Jeremiah chapter 50 is devoted entirely to the judgment of God that will come upon the nation of Babylon. In the past, it has been fulfilled, but much of it, I have to say, is yet future. Remember something about prophecy. When the prophets wrote, they had dual horizons many times. They saw the near historical fulfillment, and that's where we can look back historically and say they predicted it and it happened. But so often they wrote and included some details that have not been fulfilled historically. Couldn't have been filled fulfilled historically, and must be seen only prophetically. We have that here.
Interesting that Jeremiah speaks about Babylon some 164 times in his prophecy. That's more than all of the rest of the scripture combined about Babylon. And here this chapter in the next is devoted completely to the destruction, the overthrow, and the judgment of Babylon. Which is interesting, because when he wrote this-- when he wrote this prophecy, it would appear that Babylon would live forever, and that the Jews would fade away. But just the opposite happens.
Every time God pronounces judgment, six times in these chapters, after every time, God promises to uplift and restore the fortunes of Judah, his people. The word that the Lord spoke against Babylon and against the land of the Caledonians, by Jeremiah the prophet. Remember Jeremiah even wrote a letter to the captives in Babylon. I've always found Babylon interesting historically. In that, yes they conquered the world. They were the big bullies on the block. They took over everybody, including Judah.
But God gave them great opportunity. God sent them a young prophet, who became renown in their courts, Daniel. A man who loved God. A man of no compromise. A man who, because of his walk with God, impressed King Nebuchadnezzar so much, that even though he exalted himself in pride, he humbled himself before that God. He humbled himself. He had knowledge that the God of the Jews is the only true God. He even wrote a chapter of the Bible to that effect. But then his grandson came on the scene, Belshazzer, who was so arrogant, and even more prideful. And mocked God and his kingdom. Though given great light, saw great judgment because they rejected that light.
Declare among the nations, verse 2. Proclaim and set up a standard. Proclaim and do not conceal. Say Babylon is taken. Bel, that's the sun-god, sometimes written Baal. It's a variation of the same, in the pantheon of their deities, is shamed. Murdoch is broken in pieces, name of the idol. Her idols are humiliated. Her images are broken in pieces. Now the word here idols, literally is wooden blocks. God doesn't even give them the notoriety of having something carved on them. Their wooden blocks he calls them, are humiliated. Her images, literally, dung pellets.
What do you think God thinks of their worship system? Not much. Their wooden blocks and their dung pellets are broken in pieces. For out of the north, a nation comes against her which shall make her land desolate. And no one shall dwell there in. They shall move. They shall depart, both man and beast. In those days and at that time, says the Lord, the children of Israel shall come. They and the children of Judah together. With continual weeping they shall come, and seek the Lord their God.
They shall ask all the way to Zion with their faces toward it saying, come and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual, or you could translate it, everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten. My people have been lost sheep. They're shepherds led them astray. They have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from the mountain to hill. They have forgotten their resting place. All who found them have devoured them. And their adversaries said, we have not offended. Because they have sinned against the Lord, the habitation of justice. The Lord, the hope of their fathers.
Move from the midst of Babylon. Go out of the land of the Chaldea and be like rams before the flocks. For behold, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country. And they shall arrayed themselves against her. From there, they shall be captured. Their arrows shall be like those of an expert warrior. None shall return in vain. And Chaldea shall become plunder. All who plunder her shall be satisfied, says the Lord.
If you take all of those references of Babylon. In the Bible, you often see an interesting contrast. That Babylon in the Bible is set up against, and in contrast to another city, the city of Jerusalem. Where Jerusalem is the city of the great King. The city where all nations eventually will flow into it. And Babel, which became Babylon, the seed of all idolatry, witchcraft, polytheism, is set as the seed of Satan. The first rebellion ever.
Remember the first conspiracy against God happened at that tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11. And we see that all the way through the Bible, till the very last days when the system of the anti-christ will be economic, as well as spiritual Babylon. And the great cry, in Revelation 18, Babylon is fallen. Is fallen, and has become a habitation of jackals and beast. Now some see these verses in this chapter and the next as already having been fulfilled. It's done, it's historic. God said it, and it already has happened. And it's true. Babylon did fall to the Medes and the Persians. However, there are some things here that don't fit.
Number one, it says repeatedly here that Babylon will come and will fall by enemies approaching her from the north. Didn't happen with the Medes and the Persians. They came in from the east, and they attacked the city of Babylon. The second thing is that Babylon was not destroyed. Cyrus came and overtook it with his general, Ogboru was the general's name. But it was not destroyed. It was taken pretty much without a whole lot of bloodshed, without a whole lot of fanfare. Number three, it records here that the inhabitants of Babylon will flee. That really didn't happen.
A few tried to escape, but most of them really stayed put, and it was a pretty easy takeover. And number four, there is mention in a few verses back that those returning to the land of Israel will make a perpetual, or an everlasting covenant with God. So we have to see that history plays a part of it, but there is another horizon. We're looking into the future, and it will be fulfilled ultimately at the end of the tribulation period. When God will judge Babylon the great. Now we find out why God is judging them. Because you are glad. Because you rejoiced you destroyers of my heritage.
Because you have grown fat like a heifer threshing grain, and you bellow like bulls. Your mother shall be deeply ashamed. She who bore you shall be ashamed. Behold the least of the nation shall be a wilderness. A dry land and a desert. Because of the wrath of the Lord, she shall not be inhabited. But she shall be wholly desolate. Everyone who goes by Babylon shall be horrified and hiss at her plagues. I visited Babylon once, and it really was a joy. I had one afternoon there. I was able to see the old reconstructed now, Ishtar gate.
And even the reconstructed walls of the palace of Belshazzer, where the handwriting appeared on the wall. Fascinating. Enjoyable to see. But its ruins. There is no real city there. There is just this propped up mud, clay, bricks, one on top of the other. And they are desperately, back at that time, trying to get tourists to frequent it so they could keep the place alive. Saddam Hussein had some designs on the place, but we know the rest of the story. He's out of the picture. God used Babylon as the chastening rod for his people Judah.
He used Nebbuchanezzar and the Babylonian armies to spank his kids for 70 years. But the Babylonians enjoyed it far too much. They started getting their kicks out of abusing God's people. God was using them to be the chastening rod. But because they were glad, it says, and rejoiced, and enjoyed the process of making God's people miserable, it caught God's eye.
There is a great promise in the Bible. God says to his people, the Jews, whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye. You mess with God's people, and God takes it personally. Just ask Saul of Tarsus who is out to put an end to Christianity in the early days. And when the Lord Jesus got a hold of him, and there he was flat on his back, looking up into the heavens, Jesus said, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me. I think a lot of thoughts flashed through Saul. Tumbled through his brain.
I have nothing against you personally. I'm out to get them. Oh, in getting them, you're offending me. And I've always loved that. That God has such a relationship with his people, the body of Christ, that when you're hassled, you're hounded, God takes it personally. And here God rises to their defense. Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around. All you who bend the bow, shoot at her. Spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the Lord. Shout against her all around. She has given her hand. Her foundations have fallen, her walls are thrown down.
By the way, Babylon's walls were about 300 plus feet tall, 87 feet thick. 11 chariots could race a breast on top of that. 65 watchtowers around a city whose walls were 60 miles that surrounded that town. It was incredible. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Nebbuchanezzars pride, could be seen even outside the city walls. The Euphrates River flowed right through town, and underneath the gates. Which interestingly became their downfall. That's how they were taken over. As the enemy approached via diverting the river of the Euphrates to a canal, and then marching on relatively dry land up into the city.
So put yourselves in array against Babylon all around. Verse 15, shout against her all around. She has given her hand, her foundations have fallen, her walls are thrown down. For it is the vengeance of the Lord. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, so do to her. Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him who handles the sickle at harvest time. The fear of the oppressing sword, every one shall turn to his own people, and every one shall flee to his own hand. Cyrus with the Medes and the Persians. Later on, Alexander the Great. All of them took shots in taking that country to the world super power that it was. To something that was less than nothing after a period of time. God's vengeance.
Israel is like scattered sheep. The Lions have driven him away. First, the King of Assyria devoured him. Now at last, this Nebbuchanezzar, King of Babylon, has broken his bones. Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, behold I will punish the King of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the King of Asyria. But I will bring back Israel to his home. We just saw that, some of us. And he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan. Carmel is on the west side of the Jordan River. Bashan is on the east side of the Jordan River. And they represent the verdant, lush, cared for by God area that is evident in that part of the land.
Looking for my place. 20. In those days, and at that time says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sod, but there shall be none. And the sins of Judah, but they shall not be found. For I will pardon those whom I preserve. Love that. Go up against the land of Merathaim. Against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod. These are areas of ancient Babylon. One was the southern part, Marathaim. The other was this tribal area, both in the southern part of Babylon. But their mentioned. Waste and utterly destroy them, says the Lord. And do according to all that I have commanded you.
Now there's a play on words here. These two cities are isolated as representing the entire nation. It's a play on words, because in Hebrew, Marathaim means rebellions, plural, or double rebellion. And the name Takod means to punish. God is saying with the play on words, I am going to punish the rebellious. That's the message. You know, so much of the prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, and others, are written in, what we call, Hebrew parallelism. It's poetry. It's an almost most beautiful form, where God in a beautiful masterful way, is painting word pictures of the kind of judgment that came upon them. A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.
How the hammer and the whole earth has been cut apart and broken. How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations. I have laid a snare for you. You have indeed been trapped oh Babylon, and you are not aware. You have found-- you have been found, and also caught. Because you have contended against the Lord. The Lord has opened his armory, and has brought out the weapons of his indignation. For this is the work of the Lord God of hosts, in the land of the Caledonia's. Come up against her from the farthest border. Open her storehouses. Cast her as she heaps up as heaps of ruins, and destroy her utterly. Let nothing of her be left.
Slay all her bulls. Let them go down to the slaughter. Woe to them, for their day has come. The time of their punishment. The voice of those who flee and escape from the land of Babylon, declares in Zion the vengeance of the Lord, our God. The vengeance of his temple. Verse 29, as we finish this out is the language of a director assembling the armies at his bequests, his command for the battle. He's staging it. The Medes and the Persians that would attack. Call together the archers against Babylon. All you who bend the bow, encamp against it all around. Let none of them escape. Repay her according to her work, according to all she has done to her.
For she has been proud against the Lord. Against the Holy One of Israel. Therefore, her young men shall fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, says the Lord. Behold, I am against you oh most haute one, says the Lord of Hosts. For your day has come. The time that I will punish you. Remember the day when Nebuchadnezzar was walking through his land, and in pride he said, lifting up his heart. This is the great Babylon, which I have built. Oh. Not the right thing to say. God humbled him. You know the story.
The palace of Nebuchadnezzer with the hanging gardens, was interestingly given the title the dwelling place of majesty. He deified himself. They worshipped him almost as God. He set up that huge 90 foot gold image in the plain of Dura, after God gave him the Revelation in the Pauline metallic image of the vision that he saw. That yes, Babylon was the head of gold, but it would be taken over by the Meads and the Persians. He was saying oh no, my image that I will build is even bigger than the one I saw in the dream God gave me.
Pride, arrogance, haughtiness. The most proud, verse 32, shall stumble and fall, and no one will raise him up. I will kindle a fire in his cities, and devour all around. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the children of Israel were oppressed, along with the children of Judah. All who took them captive have held them fast. They have refused to let them go. Now I think, next time I'll just, kind of, touch on this more so than tonight. But there is talk about the 10 lost tribes of Israel. Let me just give this out to you right now, there's no such thing. There are not lost, because God knows exactly where they are. That's the easy answer, but we'll touch a little bit more on that when we have a little more time. But this verse brought to mind. Both Israel and Judah are seen here as being separate, but eventually they will become-- come back again, and we'll talk a little about them.
Their Redeemer is strong. The Lord of Hosts is His name. He will thoroughly plead their case. That He may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon. A sword is against the Chaldean says the Lord. Against the inhabitants of Babylon. Against her princes and her wise men. A sword is against the soothsayers, and they will be fools. A sword is against her mighty men, and they shall be dismayed. A sword is against their horses, against their chariots, and against all the mixed peoples who are in her midst. And they will become like women. A sword is against her treasures, and they will be robbed.
So this picture, this word picture is painted of a sword going through the land, mowing down the inhabitants, the mighty. Cutting the land down to size. A drought is against her waters. They will be dried up. For it is a land of carved images, and they are insane with their idols. You know, idolatry is a form of insanity. I mean, it's nuts. To go out and carve a piece of wood that you shape, that you decide how it's going to look. And then after you're done making it in whatever image you decide, to then talk to it like it's a God. That's insane. It's like, you've lost your mind.
And yet, I've always found it interesting that when it comes to false worship or false religious things, people can be rational on every other level until you start talking about spiritual things. And it's like they'll hold onto their traditions so fast, that after awhile you just think this is insane. Idolatry is insanity. Therefore, the wild beasts shall dwell there with the jackals. The ostriches shall dwell in it. Shall be inhabited no more forever, nor shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors says the Lord, no one shall reside there, nor son of man dwell in it.
A few years ago, the government of Babylon issued a little pamphlet. Calling upon the Iraqis, this is at the heyday of Hussein's power, to rebuild the city of Babylon. He said it was their duty as a nation to restore Babylon to its former glory. They never made it. But it was a huge government push. And the only thing, as I mentioned, they got to do is reconstruct some of the broken down walls of the archaeological site of ancient Babylon. So the prophecy in its ultimate fulfillment, its total fulfillment, is the destruction at the end of the tribulation period in Revelation 18.
Behold, a people shall come from the north. A great nation. Many kings shall be raised up from the ends of the earth. They shall hold the bow in the lance. They are cruel. They shall not show mercy. Their voice shall roar like the sea. They shall ride on horses set in an array, like a man for the battle against you oh daughter of Babylon. The King of Babylon has heard the report about them. His hands grow feeble. Anguish has taken hold of him. Pangs as of a woman in childbirth.
Behold he shall come up like a lion from the floodplain of the Jordan, against the dwelling place of the strong. But I will make them suddenly runaway from her. And who is a chosen man that I may appoint over her? For who is like me? Who will arraign me? And who is that shepherd who will withstand me? There it is again. God said it twice in his judgments. In other words, when God makes a declaration, a decree. When he has set in his heart to do something, no one can withstand him. In Psalm 2, remember that Psalm. Says the kings of the Earth have arrayed themselves, or align themselves together against the Lord and against his anointed as Christ.
Saying, let us break their bands in sunder. They're rebelling against God. Next verse, he who sits in heaven shall laugh. He will hold them in derision. Like, what? You're going to fight against me and win? That's insane. Therefore, hear the counsel of the Lord that he has taken against Babylon, and his purposes that he has proposed against the land of the Chaldean's. And surely the least of the flocks shall draw them out. Surely he will make their dwelling place desolate with him. At the noise, at the taking of Babylon, the earth trembles, and the cry is heard among the nations.
The judgments of God. We've heard a lot about them. In Isaiah and in Jeremiah. There is even a tendency, because of the sameness of the topic of judgment. We hear it over and over and over again. To have a tameness toward it. The sameness can bring a tameness. And we start forgetting that these are real stories that have really been fulfilled. Real men, real women, real children. Whole nations obliterated, cast into eternity. And we can sometimes forget that in our day and age, we are dwelling among people who are suspended between heaven and hell in this short little existence called Earth.
And they live and will make decisions that will take them into an eternity of either heaven or hell. So we play a very important, even prophetic role. We don't like to talk about judgment, but it's the truth. The whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as Jeremiah preached. Some people scoff at judgement. Ted Turner scoffed at God's judgment. Scoffed at the idea of heaven and hell. Ted Turner was that media mogul, you know, who said Christianity is a religion for losers. And then he mocked. And he said, I'm looking forward to going to hell.
He said, who wants to go to heaven? If heaven is perfect, how boring. At least in hell, we have a chance to make it better. Well Ted, there's no tenant improvement plan in hell. Reader's Digest once said, by the way people talk about hell, you think it's got air condition recently. Listen, if tonight by chance you're here or listening by radio, and you don't have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, you're on thin ice. And what you're facing is not a pretty future. And it won't be a place of partying and having a great time.
Take the judgment of God seriously, but keep in mind this God of judgment. The same in the old and the New Testament is a God of mercy and grace. And will extend his love and his grace, but you must call upon him. You can call upon him right now. You can call upon him tonight in your hearts. And settle it with the Lord once for all. Let's pray. Thank you Father for the Revelation from Your holy word to our hearts. These lessons, these judgments, these ancient people groups do speak to us.
These are relevant things. They were written beforehand for our learning. And we have gleaned. We have learned tonight. And now, we apply Lord, to our own hearts. Lord first, that there be no other God beside you. No idol. No insane worship, which would be worshipping anything other than what is living and true. And that is you. Save us Lord from exalting ourselves, which is that step of a backsliden heart. Being filled with our own ways. And Lord mobilize us to be our ambassadors in this broken world that so desperately needs to hear of both the judgment and the love of a great God.
Use us Lord. Send us out. That we may erect your throne in those gates in Jesus' name.
Shall we stand? The thing that really impresses me is with what complete accuracy these predictions were fulfilled on each of these nations and people groups. The word of God stands. If you are a child of God, that brings comfort. If you are not a child of God, that should cause you great concern. How accurately and completely God keeps his word concerning the future. Concerning the judgments that will come, and did come upon these nations. They were all fulfilled. You need to think about that. If you've turned your heart against the Lord, and you think you're getting by, God's judgments will surely come.
The pastors are down here at the front. They're here to minister to you tonight. Whatever need you might have, they want to pray with you. They want to minister to you. Our God is an awesome God. He is able to meet every one of your needs tonight. He desires to work in your life, if you'll just but let him. If you'll just but open the door. If you'll just call. He said call upon me, I will answer you. I will show you great and mighty things that you know not. And so, if you have a need in your life this evening. Be it spiritual, be it physical, whatever. God can meet your need.
These men are here to join with you in prayer. That you might see the work of Gods hand accomplished in your life.
Humble thy self in the sight of the Lord. Humble thy self in the sight of the Lord. And He shall lift you up. Higher and higher. And He shall lift you up. Up into Heaven, and he shall lift you up. Humble thy self in the sight of the Lord. Humble thy self in the sight of the Lord. And he shall lift you up. Higher and higher and he shall lift you up. Higher in Heaven, and He shall lift you up.
As we were reading in the scripture tonight, we probably should have another verse about fill yourself with pride, and he will bring you down. God bless you.
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