The Scriptorium

Judgment on Syria

Jeremiah 49.23-27

Judgment on the Nations (2): Jeremiah 49 (4)

Pray Psalm 2.11, 12.
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Sing Psalm 2.11, 12.
(Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!)
Rejoice with fear in Jesus’ grace,
and worship before His exalted face!
Beware His anger and judgment grim:
How blessed are all who rest in Him!

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 49.23-27.

1. How would the people of Damascus (Syria) respond to God’s judgment?

2. What would happen to Syria’s military might?

These litanies of judgment sound very similar. There’s a reason for that: God is an equal-opportunity Judge of the wicked. What He brings to bear against one rebellious and idolatrous people, He will bring to bear against all. He is consistent in His condemnation of sin everywhere He finds it. When the final Day of Judgment comes, God will condemn alike all who have resisted His grace and the Church’s calls to repent and believe the Gospel. All temporal judgments are portents of the judgment to come; we should expect them to look alike in many ways.

The judgment of God is “bad news” (v. 23), but those who are in danger of judgment need to hear that bad news is coming, that they might consider the goodness of God and repent (Rom. 2.4). Syria was always a strong threat and nemesis to Israel and Judah, but now she is pictured as fainthearted, feeble, and in flight. “Anguish and sorrows” come upon the Syrians as Nebuchadnezzar, the servant of God, sweeps down from the north (v. 24). The burning of the king’s palaces probably symbolizes both the subjugation of the entire nation and the end of Syria’s dynasty (v. 27). God is coming to clean house in Syria with fire.

The mention of “the city of praise” and “the city of My joy” is enigmatic here, and the NKJV adds to the confusion by capitalizing “My.” If we drop that to a lower case “m”, then we can imagine the prophet speaking from the perspective of anyone who formerly found the capital city of Syria to be a pleasant and enjoyable place. Under the judgment of God, all that is gone.

The bad news is that God is even now judging the sins of the world; His wrath is being poured out against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, who hold down the truth of God by their unrighteous deeds (Rom. 1.18ff.). But the good news is that His judgment can quicken lost sinners to newness of life, like a newborn child emerging from the terrible pains of childbirth (v. 24). We need to hold out both the threat of judgment and the promise of life to the people of our day, explaining that Jesus has taken away God’s wrath and opened the way into His kindness, forgiveness, and love.

1. What do we learn from Jeremiah about sharing the Gospel in our day?

2. Does God still use temporal judgments to turn the heart of people to Himself? Explain.

3. How does believing in Jesus enable us to escape the judgment of God which is to come?

Jeremiah speaks here of the kingdom of Syria, which he means by Damascus, where the kings, as it is well known, resided. The Syrians had been from the beginning very hostile to the Israelites; and histories, well known, record that they had continual wars for many years. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 49.23

Lord Jesus, thank You for delivering me from God’s judgment; help me today to live to…

Pray Psalm 2.1-10.

Pray for the lost people in your Personal Mission Field. Pray for an opportunity to talk with them about Jesus, emphasizing the Good News of His having delivered us from bad.

Sing Psalm 2.1-10.
Psalm 2.1-10 (Agincourt: O Love, How Deep, How Broad, How High!)
Why do the nations vainly rage,
conspiring together from age to age?
Earth’s kings and all of their counselors stand
against the Lord and His Right Hand:

“Now let us cast His yoke below,
His Kingdom authority overthrow!
Throw off His Law, reject His Word;
no more be governed by this Lord!”

The Lord in heaven laughs in wrath
at all who embark on this cursèd path.
His angry Word to them is plain:
“Yet shall My King in Zion reign!”

Proclaim the message far and wide,
that God has exalted the Crucified!
From heav’n He sent us His only Son,
Who has for us salvation won.

To Christ the Lord be given all
who humbly embrace Him and on Him call.
Be wise, be warned: His judgment comes
to break the prideful, sinful ones.

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study. Click here for Jeremiah 46-49. You can also download for free all the weekly studies in this series on the book of Jeremiah by clicking here.

Check out the special offer on our book The Church Captive. Are churches today captive like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day? Order your copy of The Church Captive and decide for yourself (click here).

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore