Judgment on Israel’s Neighbors

And he said:

“The Lord roars from Zion
    and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds mourn,
    and the top of Carmel withers.”

Thus says the Lord:

“For three transgressions of Damascus,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,[c]
because they have threshed Gilead
    with threshing sledges of iron.
So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.
I will break the gate-bar of Damascus,
    and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,[d]
and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden;
    and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,”
says the Lord.

Thus says the Lord:

“For three transgressions of Gaza,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they carried into exile a whole people
    to deliver them up to Edom.
So I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.
I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod,
    and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon;
I will turn my hand against Ekron,
    and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,”
says the Lord God.

Thus says the Lord:

“For three transgressions of Tyre,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they delivered up a whole people to Edom,
    and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
10 So I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.”

11 Thus says the Lord:

“For three transgressions of Edom,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because he pursued his brother with the sword
    and cast off all pity,
and his anger tore perpetually,
    and he kept his wrath forever.
12 So I will send a fire upon Teman,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Bozrah.”

13 Thus says the Lord:

“For three transgressions of the Ammonites,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead,
    that they might enlarge their border.
14 So I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah,
    and it shall devour her strongholds,
with shouting on the day of battle,
    with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind;
15 and their king shall go into exile,
    he and his princes[e] together,”
says the Lord.

–Devotion–

Well, it is bad to be Israel’s neighbors.  We gain glimpses of why it will be so bad.  There is internal evidence that clues us in to the issues.  The threshing of Gilead, the delivering of “a people” to Edom, pursuing a brother with the sword, and ripping open pregnant women in Gilead, these are the reasons punishment will fall on the neighbors of Israel.  If I may say, that does not seem to neighborly of the God of Israel.  WHat we have here is the reality that God does punish evil-doers and the un-just at some point.  He does not, will not, hold back his wrath from being active forever.  Perhaps we think that the Wrath of God is still just some idea.  That God stews up int he heavens.  But God’s Wrath spills over.  And here it spills over on the neighbors of Israel because of the way they have treated Israel.  And, did things change in Jesus day?  Yes and No.  Judgment was still brought.  But, rather than Israel’s neighbors being judged because of their unrighteousness, Israel was judged because of its unrighteousness. 

Throughout all four of the Gospel accounts Jesus is clearly at odds with the leaders and people of Israel.  It is finally Israel, in cahoots with Rome, that kill Jesus in the end.  This is bad news for Israel.  Really bad.  They are caught at their worst.  Rejecting their God, and His Son the Christ of Israel, who once defended them from their enemies for millenia.  Yes, bad news for Israel.  Israel has it no better off than any other nation now.  Being a member of Israel is no better than being a person of Afghanistan of America.  That is because it is not worldly lineage or heredity which justifies and saves, but faith in the Son of God–Jesus of Nazareth.

Pastor Beltz

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