Jeremiah 48 … Consider His Judgment Like a Fire

“In the shadow of Heshbon
The fugitives stand without strength;
For a fire has gone forth from Heshbon
And a flame from the midst of Sihon,
And it has devoured the forehead of Moab
And the scalps of the riotous revelers,”

Yesterday His Judgment was pronounced on the Philistines in just seven verses. Today, the attention is turned to Moab, and it is definitely extensive. I am not at all sure why so much time is given to one nation and so little to others, but the prophecies continue against those who had made themselves enemies of God by their arrogance, the worship of their own pagan deities, and in the way they had mistreated God’s people.

“Against Moab thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,…. The prophecy concerning Moab is introduced with these epithets of God, partly to observe that the God of Israel was the only true God, in opposition to the gods of Moab, and other nations; and partly to point out His omnipotence, being able to perform what He here predicts and threatens; as also to suggest, that for the enmity of the Moabites to His people Israel, and their contempt of them, which is taken notice of in this chapter, and the ill treatment of them, the Lord would now take vengeance on them,” Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible.

The Moabites had placed their trust in their god, Chemosh, which was tantamount to trusting self. And they would be taken captive as well as the one they had trusted.

“For because of your trust in your own achievements and treasures,
Even you yourself will be captured;
And Chemosh will go off into exile
Together with his priests and his princes,”

Pride, arrogance and self-exaltation was at the root of all their wickedness, a pride, arrogance and self-exaltation that would prove to be their destruction.  

“We have heard of the pride of Moab—he is very proud—
Of his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance and his self-exaltation.
30 “I know his fury,” declares the Lord,
“But it is futile;
His idle boasts have accomplished nothing,”

And Moab would be destroyed for their arrogance.

“Moab will be destroyed from being a people
Because he has become arrogant toward the Lord,”

And their destruction would come through His Judgment Like a Fire.

“In the shadow of Heshbon
The fugitives stand without strength;
For a fire has gone forth from Heshbon
And a flame from the midst of Sihon,
And it has devoured the forehead of Moab
And the scalps of the riotous revelers,”

Yesterday, we considered His Judgment Like a Flood, and today we read of His Judgment Like a Fire that would come down on Moab’s god, Chemosh and all the ones who served him.

And His Judgment Like a Fire of Fury would be widespread and inescapable. Consider some descriptors in this chapter foretelling the fate of Moab: destroyed, captured, shame, shattered, calamity, cut off, the sword will follow you, devastation, great destruction, broken, distress, continual weeping, anguished cry, no escape, ruined, desolation, slaughter, disaster, wallow in vomit, a laughingstock, the destroyer has fallen, gladness and joy are taken away, lamentation everywhere, an object of terror, the year of her punishment, fugitives without strength, perished, taken away captive.

And after forty-six verses predicting their hopelessly gruesome annihilation, comes a completely unexpected word, a wonderful word of hope in the latter days.

“Woe to you, Moab!
The people of Chemosh have perished;
For your sons have been taken away captive
And your daughters into captivity.
47 “Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab
In the latter days,” declares the Lord,

The last word addressed to the Moabites speaks of restoration in the latter days. The latter days refer to the Promised Messiah, Who would come not just for the nation of Israel, but for all nations. And in the latter days, His Judgment Like a Fire of Favor will be poured out on all those who would believe and place their faith in Jesus Christ.

Consider His Judgment Like a Fire

His Judgment Like a Fire is coming, either in His Fury to those who reject His offer of Grace and refuse to come to His Son in faith to receive His Gift of Eternal Life; or His Judgment Like a Fire will come with His Favor for all who turn away from sin and turn to Jesus for salvation.

He is coming again as Judge and His Judgment Like a Fire of Fury will deal out retribution to those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus. But to those who place their faith in His sacrifice of death as payment for our sins, His Judgment Like a Fire of Favor will grant us the privilege to marvel in His glorious Presence for all of eternity.

 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed, (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

His Judgment Like a Fire of Fury:

  • His Judgment Like a Fire of Fury will execute His Wrath.
    • For behold, the Lord will come in fire
      And His chariots like the whirlwind,
      To render His anger with fury,
      And His rebuke with flames of fire.
      16 For the Lord will execute judgment by fire
      And by His sword on all flesh,
      And those slain by the Lord will be many,
      (Isaiah 66:15-16).
  • His Judgment Like a Fire of Fury will throw those who are not a part of His Kingdom into that place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    • The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” (Matthew 13:41-42).
  • His Judgment Like a Fire of Fury will judge all those whose names are not found written in the book of life.
    • Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire, (Revelation 20:15).

His Judgment Like a Fire of Favor:

  • His Judgment Like a Fire of Favor will be poured out on all those who are recorded for life and purge us of all filth.
    • In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel. It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, (Isaiah 4:2-4).
  • His Judgment Like a Fire of Favor is poured out through His Holy Spirit
    • “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire,” (Matthew 3:11).
  • His Judgment Like a Fire of Favor fills us with His Holy Spirit
    • When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance, (Acts 2:1-4).

How do we respond to His Judgment Like a Fire?

Oh, His grace and mercy as He continues to offer His promise of healing and hope. But we cannot presume upon His kindness. We must not forget that what He has said, He will do, and that leaves every one of us faced with a choice: will we face His Judgment Like a Fire of Fury for refusing Him Who speaks to us of His grace and salvation in His Son; or will we come under His Judgment Like a Fire of Favor, having our sins purged and brought into His eternally unshakeable Kingdom through the blood of Christ.

See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire, (Hebrews 12:25-29).

The choice is ours to make, and it is a choice with eternal ramifications. Today, I pray that each of us find ourselves consumed, not by the Fire of His Fury but by the Fire of His Favor graciously given in Jesus Christ.

Oh, may we never get over His mercies, that we would live in such consuming gratitude and awe for the Fire of His Favor that we would consider it a profound yet undeserved privilege to be able to offer Him our very lives as a sacrifice of holy service and reverent worship.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).

Let’s Grow Together!

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