August 23 (Daily reading: Jeremiah 49-50) God next pronounced judgement on the Ammonites, the descendants of Ben-Ammi, who was the son of Lot and his younger daughter (Genesis 19:38). The Ammonites worshiped the god Malcam (or Milcom), and God asks: “Does Israel have no sons? Or has he no heirs? Why then has Malcam taken possession of Gad and his people settled in its cities?” (49:1). We could ask these questions for our day: “Why has untruth, unbelief, and false religion (or non-faith) taken possession of our country that was founded on the truth and principles of God’s word? Why do lies seem to spread more quickly and further than truth? Why have man’s opinions, or even imaginations, replaced God’s revelations?”
Then God addressed Edom. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, who had rejected his birthright and turned his back upon God’s blessings. God said, “I will bring the disaster of Esau upon him (Edom) at the time I punish him” (49:8). What is the “disaster of Esau?” Malachi quoted God: “‘I have made his (Esau’s) mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness’ … Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘They (Edom) may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the LORD is indignant forever” (Mal. 1:3-4). There are terrible consequences when we shun God’s way to live in our own selfish way!
On the other hand, God declared what would happen when His people repented and sought Him: “‘In those days and at that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘the sons of Israel will come, both they and the sons of Judah as well; they will go along weeping as they go, and it will be the LORD their God they will seek … They will come that they may join themselves to the LORD we in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten” (50:4-5).
– Al Gary