JEREMIAH 46:1 – 48:47 and 1 JOHN 4:1–21
Jeremiah will now begin to prophesy the Word of the Lord concerning other nations. This is something that we see with the Major Prophets. The Word of the Lord is mostly centered upon Israel. Some of the judgements that come to Israel will be by way of other nations. It is the Lord that allows them to be empowered to carry out His punishment. When their usefulness as being arms of His judgement are completed, He then turns the tables on them. Jeremiah will now be speaking the Word of the Lord to Egypt.
The first 6 verses speak of Pharaohnecho, king of Egypt who seeks to come against Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish. He was the same Pharaoh who defeated Josiah at Megiddo. He was confident of having success as he allied with the Assyrians in one last attempt to thwart the aggression of the Chaldeans. It was a major loss for Pharaohnecho, which resulted in his retreating back to Egypt. In verses, 7-10 there is the manifestation of the pride of Egypt as they sought to engage in this battle. We must bear in mind that this was something that the Lord was allowing. The Ethiopians were also joined in this battle. This helps to give some further insight into the matter of Josiah when he went to fight against Pharaohnecho ( 2 Chr 35:20-21).
The king of Egypt warned Josiah not to meddle in an affair that God was involved in. Pharaohnecho was correct and his words should have been heeded by Josiah. God did call Pharaohnecho to battle but it was for his destruction. In effect, King Josiah was stepping into a matter that God had ordained. It is a very interesting lesson. The Lord goes on to remind Egypt that there is nothing they can do; no means of healing that will remedy the judgement that will come upon them at the hands of the Babylonians. This whole scenario also helps for us to understand how the Lord will draw nations together at Armageddon for that last great battle.
In verses 13-17 the Word of the Lord to Egypt is concerning the battle that is going to come to them. This battle is also covered by Ezekiel in chapters 29-32. The previous battle where they were defeated was at Carchemish now it will be the fulfilment of what Jeremiah prophesied earlier when he was in Egypt with Johanna. This battle will not only prove destructive to the Egyptians but to those who sought to flee from the sword at Jerusalem from the Babylonians. The remnant may have felt that they dodged a bullet (the sword) when they left Jerusalem but the Word of the Lord eventually caught up to them. This is also the fulfilment of the Word that God gave to Johanna through Jeremiah (Jer 42-43). The Word of the Lord may not have an immediate fulfilment but it eventually does come to pass and it is with great destruction. The delays of judgement can bring with it a false sense of security. People can quickly forget the warnings and slip back into their routines while losing that sense of God’s presence and voice. This is one of the primary dangers that lurks in the last day church. A false sense of security usually ends up in tragedy. Remember, the word of the Lord that Jeremiah kept warning Israel about concerning the events at Shiloh? It was at Shiloh where they took the presence of the Lord for granted. They encroached upon the Lord once to many times and the result was defeat and the loss of the Ark. The reminders of Jeremiah concerning Shiloh need to be sounded out today as well. We cannot afford to be complacent or to be taking the presence of the Lord for granted (Jer 7:12, 14, 26:6, 9). The final verses of chapter 44 (vs 18-26) continue to emphasize the sure destruction that would come upon Egypt. Yet, as we have seen with God on many occasions, He speaks of a future restoration that will come upon Egypt. It is reflected in what Isaiah said as well in Isa 19:25 concerning Egypt, Assyria and Israel. Speaking of Israel their future Restoration is also foretold in verses 27-28. It was true that Israel had already gone into great captivity but there is a promised Restoration that goes beyond what they knew after the Restoration period at Babylon. In fact when we refer to Egypt, Assyria and Israel in these verses we have more of a picture of what will happen at the time of the 2nd coming. In the end after all the rebellion of Israel and other nations, it is still in the heart of God to restore. May our hearts be so inclined as well.
The Word of the Lord is now being brought against the Philistines who were a constant irritant to Israel ever since Israel crossed over the Jordan. They were defeated by one of the Pharaoh’s of Egypt (either Pharaohnecho or Pharaoh Hophra). Remember, these prophesies were not spoken in chronological order because it was the Egyptians who brought judgement against the Philistines. In the previous chapter, the Word of the Lord came against the Egyptians. The ministry span of Jeremiah took place over a period of about 40 years. The Middle East area was comprised of Assyria, Egypt and then Babylon as the premier powers during this 40-year period. King David had several encounters with the Philistines throughout all his years. The Philistines were the ones who fought and defeated Israel at the time when the Ark was taken at Shiloh (1 Sam 4-5). This judgement is a culmination of destruction that will be poured out upon them. In other words, the cup of iniquity had become ripe. The battles will be fierce and without mercy. The approaching storm of battle is likened to a flood that will come from the north. The descriptiveness of fathers not being able to go back to rescue their little ones is a horror too difficult to contemplate. It is simply not possible for us to fully grasp what this would be like yet we could very well see these very things take place in our day. The time to seek the Lord is now; to find Him and seek that place of safety and refuge.
Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
The Lord makes clear that war will be inevitable for all that the Philistines had done through the years. It would be good to meditate and think about what is being shared here in light of the day and hour we are currently living in.
This prophesy is directed towards Moab which had a sordid beginning. Moab was the son of Lot who had an incestuous relationship with his eldest daughter. Lot was the nephew of Abraham who allowed his natural eyes to dictate his vision (Gen 13:10). The fruit of this decision led him to Sodom and into the midst of a most perverse people. Though Lot was a righteous man, his soul was vexed through the day to day exposure of the sinfulness in Sodom. It took the intervention of Abraham and angelic hosts to literally bring Lot out of Sodom before its destruction. This demonstrates the low level of discernment and physical strength that Lot had. This background helps for us to understand how Lot could be brought to such a degrading level in bearing a son through his own daughter. This kind of evil conception helps for us to realize the evil inclinations that Moab had. Moab was evil, his lineage caused great damage to Israel and yet they are related. Later on when the prophesies of Isaiah go forth you see the lament the Lord has for Moab as His judgements are pronounced. It should also be noted that the 2 ½ tribes that settled on the eastern side of Jordan (their inheritance) landed on many of the places of Moab. This could also add to the Lord’s lament as judgement is about to come. Moab is located today in modern day Jordan.
The important verses and primary themes will be covered in this chapter. When viewing the judgements upon Moab, Ammon and Edom we must see them in light of what will transpire in our days. There are many applicable truths that will be gleaned out from many of these verses.
The destruction that will come at the hand of the Babylonians will be thorough and swift. There is the plea in verse 6 for those who hear these words to flee before it is too late. Let us remember that the people of Moab are cousins to Israel. It was from Moab where some of the outcast like Elimelech and Naomi were sheltered as were the parents of David when being hunted by Saul ( 1 Sam 22:3-4). How can we forget Ruth who was a Moabitess who married into the kingly line? One can understand the plea being sent forth to those who would hear. The sins of Moab are mentioned in verses 7-10. They were a people who put their trust in their gods as opposed to the living God. This land has a history going back to the time of the Judges. Later King Solomon erected a sanctuary for Chemosh (1 King 11:7). Can you imagine the wisest king of all time, filled with wisdom and having had an intimate relationship with God coming to the place of worshipping one of Moab’s primary god’s? It should give each of us pause in seeing how susceptible we can be if pride and issues of the heart are not dealt with.
There is a vital truth that is conveyed in verses 11-13. It speaks of those who settle down in their Christian life. We can say it refers to those who like to serve the Lord in a comfort zone. The journey of a Christian is an ongoing one. There are times when the Lord will establish His people in certain places or experiences for a time but then call them to move on. The Lord in His wisdom leads us into places where He can deal with our nature while giving us opportunity to grow in grace. A Christian must have an ongoing vision otherwise there will be stagnation. This happened in John 6 with those who were following the Lord. They were happy and content in their walk with the Lord when the Lord was meeting their needs through miracles etc. Their tune changed when the Lord introduced Himself as the Lamb, the Broken Bread with the message of the Cross (John 6:26-66). The majority did not allow themselves to be poured into that new depth that Jesus was calling them to. They said the sayings were too hard and chose to go no further with Him. Did they lose their salvation; we are not sure but they forfeited an opportunity to grow in grace and intimacy with the Lord. This was the condition of Moab; they refused change and refused to be poured out from vessel to vessel. The result was that they did not change; their scent remained in them. What keeps us from moving on or from being poured out from vessel to vessel? It could be a root of bitterness or an offense or some other issue of the heart that might arise.
In verses 14-25 there are a series of judgements pronounced on some of the prominent cities in Moab. God will completely cut down the strength and glory by way of the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar will not just have victories over Israel but in Egypt and the lands of Moab as well. One of the prominent sins of Moab that is commonplace today in nations is drunkenness. A drunken stupor allows for a desensitizing society that cannot see the enemy at the door. This will take place when Babylon falls under King Belshazzar (Dan 5). Another sin of Moab was their joy in seeing Israel in trouble. They rejoiced in their downfall (vs 27). We need to be very careful when people come under judgement especially when it involves a brother or sister in the Lord. It is important to point out sin and speak of it if you are a leader or pastor but always in a way of sobriety. If we overly state another man’s sin we leave ourselves open for the enemy to probe and seek out vulnerabilities in our own lives. Moab also had issues with pride (vs 30). Isaiah spoke concerning this in Isa 16:6.
The Lord along with Isaiah and Jeremiah all mourned over Moab. It is an indication of the largeness of heart that is seen in God. It is His heart that none would perish. The joy and gladness that once filled the land is now all but gone. It will be a time when God puts away the idolatry that was still very much in evidence (vs 35). The riches of the nation will all be stripped away coupled with great howlings from the cities. God will reject Moab because they have continually have rejected God. Remember, they were a people who refused to be poured out from vessel to vessel. This is the danger if we stay the same and never change. This occurs when there is a continual rejection of Truth (2 Thess 2:9-10). The coming assault from the Babylonians will be complete with utter destruction which will be filled with terror. It is here where we see another glimpse of what it will be like when God moves against the nations in Armageddon fury.
As with many of the other nations, we see a Restoration that will take place in Moab in the last days. It is clear that Jordan will figure prominently at the time of the 2nd coming.
1 John 4
The Apostle John had great ability to discern the spirits due in large part to the close relationship he had with the Lord. The Lord whispered to John who the betrayer would be. John could speak with authority in how Satan was able to put into the heart of Judas the seeds of betrayal. He also saw how Satan could enter Judas which enabled him to fulfil Scripture (John 13:2, 27). John now is exhorting the saints to test and try the Spirits. The ability to discern the operating Spirit in situations is vital in these last days. Paul warned that Satan is able to transform himself into an angel of light and that he will deceive many (2 Cor 11:14). We must be aware that there are fallen angels who pay allegiance to Satan who will work in seeking to deceive the children of God. We must not take every spiritual manifestation as being from God. If we study the Word and spend time in prayer we will come to the place of being able to distinguish good from evil.
Isa 7:15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
The Apostle Paul warns about the working of seducing spirits in the last days that will cause many to leave the faith. This is oftentimes accomplished through the propagation of false doctrines. The appeal of false doctrines is directly related to the heart condition of the church. God is not threatened in our testing the spirits, in fact, it is encouraged. This is what Joshua did when he challenged the man with the sword. It turned out that it was actually the Lord and when Joshua knew of it he removed his shoes due to being on holy ground (Josh 5:14). It was here where he learned to yield to the sword in his own life before wielding the sword on behalf of a nation.
Oftentimes we can determine which spirit is in operation from prayer and worship. If there is doubt ask the spirit or the one who is controlled by a spirit if it’s true that the Son of God came in the flesh. Sometimes it is a simple yet profound question that can unlock the governing spirit in a person or in a meeting. If our spirit man is fine tuned and fed well with the Word it will help in our ability to discern. Once again, John is making clear how important it is to test the Spirits especially when living in a church world that is so caught up in the supernatural.
John makes the powerful declaration that the Lord is far greater than any foe. Jesus resides in the life of a believer and we need to have that assurance and confidence of this fact. Jesus spoiled the works and power of Satan at the Cross. The more we embrace the Cross and its message the greater power and authority we will wield. If we truly know God, others will be able to recognize God in us (vs 6). We will see that as the days draw darker there will be a gathering and uniting of people of like faith. The anti-Christian fervor could have the effect of uniting the Body of Christ in a greater way.
John now speaks on one of his signature subjects which is love. It was the love of God the Father that served as the catalyst for sending His only begotten Son to die (John 3:16). The love that is referenced is “agape” love which totally has the interests of others in mind. It was the “agape” love of Jesus for man that served as the catalyst in the giving of His life (John 15:13). Is this measure of “agape” love achievable in the life of a believer? Jesus offered Peter this opportunity soon after his resurrection (John 21:15-18). Peter did not have the capacity for “agape” love at that time but at the end of his life he speaks with authority on the subject. He allowed the Lord through the work of the Holy Spirit to manifest this quality in love within his life (2 Pet 1:5-7). John speaks in verse 11 that if God loved us in this way then we should be able to love others with the same love.
John makes the point that if we truly have godly love one for another then love will be perfected in us. It means that God dwells within and makes His abode with us. If God is dwelling within us then our whole motivation in everything we do should be based on love. That is how God deals with us although there may be times where it does not seem like it His love at work. He does things from an eternal perspective and His motivation is always with our best interest in mind.
As we grow in His love, we will notice an absence of fear. The perfect love of God at work in a believer’s life leaves absolutely no room for fear. What is there to fear if the love of God dwells within? If God always does that which is best and right in one’s life, why should there be fear? It is clear that many Christians today are bound with fear and it serves as a paralysis in the life of God’s people. John consistently makes the point that God is a God of love. In verse 19, we see that it is God who is the initiator of love. Once we come to know His love and it consumes us we tend to reciprocate. This is what true love does; it seeks to outdo the other in giving. If we can grasp this revelation, it will help in our service towards God and our fellow man. It will certainly help to strengthen many marriages. The enemy of such love is the “self” life. It puts man on the throne in the place of God. Let us always be reminded of the two great commandments that are anchored in love.
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.