The Destroyer

Today's devotion from Jeremiah 48.Do you see how long this prophecy against the Moabites is compared to the previous judgment against the Philistines? This may seem odd to us at first. After all, many of the most recognized Bible stories told to our children seem to center on the Davidic-era struggle against Philistia. Why is so much more dedicated to God's fury with the Moabites? The Moabites were distant relatives of Israel. Their origins were traced back to Lot, Abraham's nephew. During the Exodus, Moab worked against the Israelites as they tried to wind their way to the Promised Land. Balak, their king during the Exodus who tried to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites, is credited in Revelation 2 with setting a stumbling block before the Israelites, referring to pagan worship that resulted from relationships with the women of Moab.

As you can see, there is a long history of enmity between Israel and Moab. However, a key component in God's judgment against them seems to stem from their cultic worship of the god, Chemosh. Chemosh was the national diety of Moab. He was a fish-god thought to be associated with (or the same god as) Moloch. From Scripture we see that this god demanded human sacrifices, and had places of worship built in Israel in his honor by none other than King Solomon.

Chemosh worship had wreaked havoc on Israel internally and externally. So, it shouldn't surprise us to learn that the word, Chemosh, is thought to mean "destroyer." Chemosh worship destroyed lives, families, trust, and the covenant. Now, knowing this, reread some of the verses of this chapter and see how God will destroy the destroyer.  Much of the first part of this prophecy is about discrediting the false god as much as it is issuing judgment against those who worshipped it.

Yet, God holds out the hope of restoration. In verse 47 we read, "Yet, I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the last days. This is the Lord's declaration." (Jeremiah 48:47, CSB) While Chemosh had led to destroyed lives, God destroyed the destroyer and seeks to restore those left broken in this false god's wake. How merciful is our God?