Avoid Arrogance

Explore the Bible Series

May 22, 2005

 

Background Passage: Jeremiah 46:1-52:34

Lesson Passage: Jeremiah 50:11-13; 24-25; 29-32

 

Introduction: God governs history.Believers may easily entertain narrow views of the sovereignty of God.Perhaps Christians, at times, tend to see the hand of God in their own lives; however, when it comes to the unfolding of international circumstances, they may fail to discern the work of God.Often, Godís sovereignty over the nations does not seem apparent.The dismal history of the Twentieth-Century, for instance, may cause even godly people to wonder about the Lordís sovereignty over the larger affairs of world history.Arrogant world leaders may envision themselves as invincible, and nations imagine that they will stand for ever.Jehovah will not tolerate this kind of arrogance, and the Scriptures give ample evidence that the Lord rules over the nations of the earth. Isaiah reflected on this great truth in the following text.

 

Behold the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are counted as small dust in the scales.Look, he lifts up the isles as a very little thing.And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering.All the nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted by him as less than nothingÖ It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.He brings the princes to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth useless.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Isaiah 40:15-17 and 22-23

 

The Book of Jeremiah devotes forty-five chapters to Godís judgment upon the people of Judah; however, the final chapters of this important prophecy expand to a much larger scope.God turned his attention to the nations of the Middle East.Their sins have not escaped his attention.Indeed, judgment began in the Lordís House, but Jehovahís displeasure came to bear on the Gentile nations as well.Nothing escaped his notice.The Prophet Jeremiah took a brief, prophetic ďtourĒ of the wicked, idolatrous kingdoms that surrounded Judah.Godís justice demanded retribution toward all those who disregarded his word.

 

Judahís arrogance grew from their misapprehension of their covenant relationship with God. They reckoned that their idolatry and immorality had little bearing on their favored status before God.Of course, they calculated wrongly.On the other hand, the pagan nations took great pride in their military prowess and international alliances.In both the case of Judah and the Gentile nations, these groups demonstrated poor moral and spiritual discernment, and they invited the judgment of God.What had so grievously clouded their spiritual vision?The answer to that question seems to be pride.What is spiritual pride?This kind of arrogance refuses to acknowledge Godís glory and sovereignty, disregards Godís commandments, enthrones the human will, and demeans the Lordís word of correction.

Outline of Background Passage:

 

I.                    Godís Judgment on Egypt (46:1-28)

A.     Godís call to Egypt for judgment (46:1-2)

B.     Egyptís military pride and its ultimate ruin (46:3-12)

1.      Egyptís preparation for war availed nothing (46:3-6)

2.      The unseemly military pride of Egypt (46:7-9)

3.      No remedy for Egyptís humiliation (46:10-12)

C.     Egyptís demise at the hands of the Babylonians (46:13-19)

1.      The failure of the Egyptian army before the Lordís hand of judgment (46:13-17)

2.      Godís swore to take Egypt captive (46:18-19)

D.     Two symbols of Egyptís fate (46:20-24)

1.      Egypt like a pretty heifer (vv. 20-21)

2.      Egypt hewn down like a great tree (vv. 22-24)

E.      Godís final word concerning Egypt (46:25-26)

F.      The Lordís mercy to Judah (46:27-28)

1.      Judah will return from captivity (46:27)

2.      God had not forgotten his people (46:28)

 

II.                 Godís Judgment on Philistia (47:1-7)

A.     Philistia will be ďfloodedĒ with judgment (47:1-2)

B.     The cowardice and shame of the Philistines (47:3-5)

C.     The Lordís sword of judgment will not rest (47:6-7)

 

III.               Godís Judgment Against Moab (48:1-47)

A.     The sin and destruction of Moab (48:1-10)

1.      Great destruction will follow (48:1-3)

2.      The terror of the little ones (48:4-5)

3.      Moabís false hope (48:6-10)

B.     Moabís pride (48:11-17)

1.      Moab had remained at ease for many years, like dregs at the bottom of a skin of wine (48:11-13)

2.      Moabís calamity (48:14-17)

C.     Judgment on the cities of Moab (48: 18-33)†††††††††††††††††††††††

D.     The people of Moab will lament their downfall (48:34-39)

E.      Moab judged because of its arrogance (48:40-46)

F.      Godís remarkable promise of mercy (48:46-47)†††††††† †††

 

IV.              Godís Judgment on Ammon (49:1-6)

A.     Ammonís sin against the Tribe of Gad (49:1)

B.     Godís judgment against Ammon (49:2-3)

C.     Ammonís sinful pride (49:4-5)

D.     Godís mercy toward Ammon (49:6-7)

V.                 Godís Judgment on Edom (49:8-22)

A.     No wisdom found in Edom (49:8)

B.     God will leave Edom barren (49:9-11)

C.     Edom will drink the bitter cup of Godís judgment (49:12-13)

D.     Godís message to Edom (49:14-22)

1.      Godís call to the nations to observe Edomís demise (49:14)

2.      Edom will be made insignificant (49:15-18)

3.      God turned his heart against Edom (49:19-22)

 

VI.              Godís Judgment on Damascus (49:23-27)

A.     Damascus brought to shame (49:23)

B.     Damascus like a woman in labor (49:24)

C.     The coming destruction of Damascus (49:25-27)

 

VII.            Godís Judgment on Kedar and Hazor (49:28-33)

A.     Babylon will destroy Kedar and Hazor (49:28-29)

B.     No where to flee (49:30-31)

C.     Their possessions will be the spoils of war (49:32-33)

 

VIII.         Godís Judgment on Elam (49:34-39)

A.     Elamís military prowess will be brought to nothing (49:34-35)

B.     Godís fierce anger will bring the sword against Edom (49:36-38)

C.     The Lord promised mercy to Elam (49:39)

 

IX.              Godís Judgment on Babylon (50:1-51:64)

A.     Babylonís idolatry condemned (50:1-3)

B.     God will not forget his covenant with Israel and Judah (50:4-10)

1.      Godís people will seek the Lord (50:4-5)

2.      Judah and Israel like lost sheep (50:6-7)

3.      Babylon will be judged for their mistreatment of Godís people (50:8-10)

C.     Babylon judged because they rejoiced over the Lordís people (50:11-17)

D.     Godís judgment against the king of Babylon (50:18-20)

E.      The nations called to destroy Babylon (50:21-46)

1.      The utter destruction of Babylon (50:21-28)

2.      The military rout of Babylon (50:29-37)

3.      Babylon will be like Sodom and Gomorrah (50:38-40)

4.      A nation from the north will destroy Babylon (50:40-46)

F.      Babylon to be ďwinnowedĒ like chafe (51:1-64)

1.      Babylonís army will be defeated (51:1-5)

2.      God will recompense Babylon (51:6-11)

3.      God will raise up the Medes to destroy Babylon (51:11-32)

4.      God will destroy Babylon (51:34-44)

5.      Babylon will pay for their abuse of Judah (51:45-53)

6.      God will hear the cry of his people in Babylon ( 51:58)

G.     Jeremiahís instructions to Seraiah (51:58-64)

Observations on the Lesson Passage:

1.      This pronouncement against Babylon provides an excellent example of the biblical balance between divine providence and human responsibility.God used Babylon as an instrument of judgment on Judah, but he also held the Babylonians responsible for their violent and gleeful actions toward Godís people (See 50:11). During the course of human events, Christians cannot always discern the balance between sovereignty and responsibility.Indeed, very often, humility demands that believers should reserve judgment about such matters until a little historical and theological perspective makes things clear.

2.      Sinís consequences often take people unaware (See 50:24).Pride had blinded Babylon, and they did not see the snare of sin ready to trap them.Sinners are often careless and oblivious to the consequences of their actions.They breeze through life without a thought of the impending judgment against them.

3.      God makes a formidable foe (See 50:29-32).Babylon set itself against the Lord, but they, perhaps, had not taken stock of his power and holiness.They contended with God, and that is a battle every unrepentant man will eventually lose.