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Do Not Trust in Material Treasures

In J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels, a silver metal called mithril is highly prized for its strength and beauty. The dwarfs mined and worked it, always desiring more. But as one character explained: "Even as mithril was the foundation of their wealth, so also it was their destruction."

When we covet material wealth, this sinful behavior leads to spiritual failure. That's why the prophet Jeremiah in today's reading condemned the Ammonites (descendants of Lot) for trusting in material treasures. As we've already seen in this study, Israel had made a practice of treasuring the wrong things, and they were suffering the consequences of their sin. After God's judgment, the Ammonites took advantage of the situation, occupied some of the land, and were more than willing to get rich quick off whatever the Assyrians had left behind (v. 1).

But another day was coming (vv. 2-3). The prideful and idolatrous Ammonites, including the ones living in their capital city of Rabbah, would also be conquered and sent into exile. They were wrong to trust in riches for safety and security (v. 4), a mistake also made by the Moabites (Jer. 48:7). Why? In those days, it was culturally normal as part of war to offer money for alliances or to pay tribute in order to buy off an invading army. In other words, they thought they were safe from harm behind a wall of money.

But they were wrong! God's judgment is unstoppable (Jer. 49:5). To disrespect God's people was to disrespect God. The Ammonite god Molek would not have the victory! Ezekiel prophesied the same fate for them (25:1-7). These prophecies were fulfilled in 582 b.c, when Ammon was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Note that God planned to have mercy afterward even on these longtime foes of Israel (Jer. 49:6).

Apply the Word

Where do you put your trust for your future security? For example, you may trust your investment or retirement account. While good stewardship and prudence are necessary, putting our faith in them can lead to pride. Remember that only God deserves our complete trust for today and for the future. Place your trust in Him!

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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