Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XIII: Prophecies Against The Sinful Nations Around Judah
D. Prophecies Against Various Nations For Their Disposition For War
(Jeremiah 49:23-39)
  1. Introduction
    1. Violence seems to be a regular part of world events today: terrorism is almost a daily event in the Middle East, usually several wars are being waged at any given time worldwide and even armed conflict afflicts inner city high schools and city streets in larger American cities on a regular basis!
    2. We may be tempted to arm ourselves to return violence for violence, but such a disposition is ungodly; God condemns it as seen in Jeremiah's word against various nations who were disposed for war:
  2. Prophecies Against Various Nations For Their Disposition For War, Jeremiah 49:23-27 et al.
    1. God through Jeremiah predicted the Babylonians would destroy Damascus of Syria for its bent for war:
      1. Jeremiah's prophecy in Jeremiah 49:23-27 was directed against the ancient city of Damascus of the Syrians; that message detailed the pain and suffering Damascus' inhabitants would experience at the hands of the invading Babylonians, Jeremiah 49:23-25.
      2. Note is made of the death of "all the men of war" in Damascus who would die, Jer. 49:26a (emphasis ours); this note along with the climactic description of a fire that would be kindled to destroy the "fortresses" (NIV) or "strongholds" (ESV) of Ben-hadad, a line of Syrian kings, shows the focus of God's judgment against Damascus is on Syria's military machine, Jeremiah 49:26b-27 NIV.
      3. Observing her history shows the Syrians were disposed for war: for example, when Judah's king Asa made a pact with Syria to side with Judah and not with Israel, Syria's king Ben-hadad attacked the cities of Israel in the north, overcoming the whole tribal territory of Naphtali, 1 Kings 15:16-20.
      4. Such a love for war especially against His own people would be judged by God, a judgment aimed specifically at the war machine used by Syria to wage such aggressive warfare!
    2. God through Jeremiah predicted the Babylonians would destroy peoples in Arabia for their bent for war:
      1. Jeremiah then predicted Babylon's forces under Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Kedar and Hazor, Jer. 49:28. Ryrie notes these were "nomadic desert tribes" Nebuchadnezzar tried to "bring under control" out of concern over their proud warlike feats due to their dangerously skillful archery (Isa. 21:16-17), Jer. 49:29-33; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978 ed., ftn. to Jer. 49:28-33; Bib. Kno. Com., O. T., p. 1198.
      2. Thus, for its disposition for war, these nomadic desert tribes would be defeated by Babylon!
    3. God through Jeremiah predicted the Babylonians would destroy Elam (modern Iran) for its bent for war:
      1. The nation Elam named in Jeremiah 49:34-39 lay east of Babylon in what is now Iran, a nation known for its bent for war as God predicted He would "break the bow of Elam" in Jer. 49:35; Ibid., p. 1199.
      2. This "bow" was the "mainstay of their might" in Elam, meaning the Elamites harnessed the power of the bow to such an extent it became the backbone of their power as a nation, Jeremiah 49:35b NIV.
      3. Since they were wholeheartedly committed to war so that their nation's might was BASED on it, God determined He would violently, effectively dissolve Elam BY MEANS OF WAR, Jeremiah 49:36-38:
        1. God promised Elam's people would scatter to live in every other nation; their warlike bent would thus have to dissolve as they would thus need to submit to others in other nations, Jeremiah 49:36.
        2. In place of their aggressive attitude toward others, God promised to terrorize the Elamites to check their violent attitude, bringing them into military defeat, Jeremiah 49:37.
        3. Also, God promised to set His throne in Elam and one day destroy its kings and officials who had built their nation on the power of the bow, Jeremiah 49:38. [This prophecy would apparently be fulfilled much later as the Elamites, a core part of Persia, overcame Babylon, Ibid.]
      4. Yet, in grace, God promised in Christ's reign to restore the Elamites to their homeland, Jer. 49:39!
Lesson: For their DISPOSITION for the violence of WAR, God promised destruction on the nations and peoples of Damascus of Syria, the nomads of Arabia and the Elamites.

Application: (1) May we personally NOT return unjust violence with violence, but overcome evil with good, Romans 12:18-21. (2) As a NATION, God wants us to use war as a LAST resort to EASE human injustice and misery, and to LIMIT the death and suffering we inflict in war, Deut. 20:10-15, 19-20!