Like the other nations that were neighbors of Judah, Moab would soon face a military struggle. The Moabites had much national pride. Their soldiers thought of themselves as glorious men of war, but they would not be able to prevent the destruction of their country. They were once a “mighty scepter,” but their land would soon be decimated.
God likened Moab to a jar of old wine that had settled at ease for too long. They should have been poured from vessel to vessel in a way that would have produced the best taste. Now the Lord God would come and break the jar that symbolized the nation of Moab. The whole people group would be a shattered piece of pottery for which no one would care. The Lord Almighty of Judah would show Himself to be far stronger than Chemosh, the false god of the Moabites.
Despite the Lord’s judgment against them, Jeremiah ended this oracle with these words of promise: “I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days.” The phrase “in the latter days” was often used by the Old Testament prophets to describe the coming realities of the New Testament era or even the culmination of all of God’s promises in the new resurrection age.
God’s plans for Moab included this note of hope. How would Moab be restored? As strange as it may sound, good news for Moab began with the destruction of idols like Chemosh. These false gods of national pride and military might were of little use to the Moabites in their time of need. On the other hand, the victory of the Lord Jesus Christ through His atoning death on the cross has brought the greatest blessing not only to the elect of Judah, but also to the chosen people of God who were descendants of many other nations. People of faith would come from all lands in the centuries to come.
Idols are of no real use to those who trust in them. They are never able to give any gift of true worth. In contrast to this disappointing track record, the true God who created the heavens and the earth has blessed us with His only-begotten Son. Any restoration that the people groups of the earth would enjoy in the “latter days” could only come through Jesus and the gospel. There is no other name by which we must be saved.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Sovereign Lord, ancient cities have been planted and plucked up in accord with Your great plan. Many names of peoples and places mean nothing to anyone today. They have had their great moment, and are now gone from all memory. Will we not be humble before You? How foolish we are when we demand only comfort in our lives. We need to be brought to You, at times through great suffering. In a time of trouble we may finally turn away from false gods. They are an abomination in Your sight. What is the might that we are counting on today? Do we have muscles or weapons beyond our neighbors? Are we people of the highest wit and wisdom? Will we defend ourselves against the Lord through our clever responses or our great military tactics? Father, we have been foolish in our lofty pride. Our boasts have been false. Our deeds and achievements will amount to nothing. Our labors will be utterly vain unless they are in Your Son. We hear Your Word today calling us to a better hope than man can provide. We have turned away from the love of money, and the pleasure that seems to come from the applause of men. There is a better foundation for life in the greatness of Your Son. We will no longer magnify ourselves against You, for You are God, even our God. We are pleased to be Your children, and we submit ourselves to Your will and Your holy commandments.