The Ammonites, part of the descendents of Lot, are remembered because they would not help the Israelites on the way from Egypt to the Promised Land. They took advantage of the weak in their distress. Yet some of their women were mothers of a few important people in Israel, and in this way of intermarriage, they became a part of the Jewish people. Jeremiah announced that God would bring terror upon the Ammonites. One of their cities would become a “desolate mound.” As they had harassed the Jewish tribe of Gad, they would face trouble from neighboring enemies, but afterward God promised to restore the fortunes of the Ammonites.
The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. Like the Ammonites, they were not helpful to the Israelites when the Lord’s chosen ones were leaving Egypt. The two nations continued to stand against each other for centuries. Amazingly, certain kings of God’s people became interested in the gods of Edom, and this idolatry brought great trouble upon God’s people. According to Jeremiah, the descendants of Esau would face serious difficulties. The nation would be “stripped bare” by conquerors.
Syria or Aram was also an ancient land. According to Deuteronomy 26:5, it was part of the confession of an Israelite concerning his heritage to say publicly, “My father was a wandering Aramean.” In the land of the Syrians were the old gods that continued to have such a pull upon the hearts of the Lord’s children. Damascus, the capital of Syria, would also face devastating days according to the prophesy of Jeremiah.
We know much less about the remaining people groups mentioned in Jeremiah 49. Kedar, Hazor, and Elam would face great troubles. The Babylonians would prove to be formidable opponents for all the nations within their reach. They brought “terror on every side.” All of this loss was from the fierce anger of the Lord.
The root problem that any nation of the ancient world faced was not merely the greatest military superpower of their era. Their most frightening adversary was the Lord God Almighty.
The only one way to make peace with God is through the blood of Jesus Christ. With Him, inhabitants of strange lands are now counted as the Lord’s elect. They are not Jews by birth, but today as they hear the gospel, believe, and repent, they have are rightly called sons of God. It is the Lord’s plan to display His righteous wrath against His enemies, but it is also His sovereign will that His church proclaim a way of mercy through Jesus for peoples that most of the world has ignored or forgotten.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious God of the Nations, what a variety of false gods the peoples of the world have invented. You are the Creator of the heavens and the earth. Where are the Ammonites and the Edomites today? What has become of ancient Damascus and Kedar and Hazor? Where are the many cities and peoples that men have utterly forgotten? They once had mighty powers to give them a great defense against powerful foes, but could they stand against You, O Lord God Almighty? Father, You are a sure foundation and a mighty fortress in the day of trouble. Any challenge that men face in this world is nothing compared to the coming wrath that will be a true terror on every side. You are right to be angry with men because of our sin. You are the Maker of the world and of all that is in it. Surely You have the right to determine our destiny and to punish us for our iniquities. Nonetheless, You have not been content to show only Your righteous wrath. You have a plan for latter days that involves an amazing restoration of fortunes for all who trust in Your Son.