Jeremiah 49:19 “Like a lion coming up from Jordan’s thickets to a rich pasture-land, I will chase Edom from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me?”
It is not popular today talking about God’s Judgement and its consequences in the history of mankind. There are parts of the Scriptures, especially in the OT, that some Christians feel uncomfortable about accepting as God’s revealed truth, even to the point of thinking that the God of the OT is somehow different from the God of the NT.
But Jesus, God the Son, also spoke strongly about the eternal fate of those who persist in rejecting his offer of mercy at the cross.
Jeremiah was one of the most unpopular of all the OT prophets because he remained faithful to the message of Judgement God had given him in the face of almost universal opposition. Most of his prophecy was warning God’s chosen people, the descendants of Jacob, about the coming Judgement they would receive for their disobedience and apostasy – a Judgement that would be executed through the Babylonians as an instrument of punishment in the LORD’s hands. But in these chapters the faithful Prophet is also commissioned to declare God’s Judgement on the surrounding nations.
One of these nations was Edom. We have here a stark reminder that ALL NATIONS in ALL AGES, including our nation today, WILL be held accountable to their Creator whether they acknowledge him or not! WE might have abolished God, but so far HE has been more tolerant towards us!
The people of Edom were the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother, and their Judgement would come because of their cruel treatment of their cousins, the nation of Judah, centuries before. JESUS is the GOOD SHEPHERD who is able to protect fully all those who belong to him so that no-one can snatch them out of his hand (John 10:28-29). There is irony here in Jeremiah. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:11) in order to bring them safely into his fold and ‘make them lie down in green pastures’ and ‘lead them beside quiet waters’ (Psalm 23:2). But JESUS is ALSO the ‘LION of Judah’ who in the end will destroy all those who oppose his right to rule in his world and in their lives.
This is ALL part of the ‘PACKAGE’ of God’s revelation of the outworking of his sovereign will in his world for the sake of HIS honour and glory. We don’t have the option of embracing the ‘nice’ parts of this revelation and shunning the unpalatable parts, in either of the OLD or the NEW Testaments. The Judgement of Edom (and all the other nations, including Israel) is a foreshadowing of the coming Day of Judgement when the ‘Lion of Judah’ comes back to reign! Are we willing, like Jeremiah, even in the face of criticism and ostracism, to declare God’s WHOLE TRUTH to a perishing world?
“Great God, what do I see and hear: the end of things created! The Judge of all the earth comes near on clouds of glory seated; the trumpet sounds, the graves restore the dead which they contained before – prepare, my soul, to meet him! … … But sinners, filled with guilty fears, shall see his wrath prevailing; for they shall rise, and find their tears and sighs are unavailing! The Day of Grace is past and gone; they, trembling, stand before the throne all unprepared to meet him!” (W.B.Collyer).