Cursed be the one who does The LORD’s work negligently
And cursed be the one who restrains his sword from blood
The message from our Beloved LORD GOD in Jeremiah 48:10 is a powerful message. And this message is just as relevant to us today, as it was when it was given to Jeremiah over 2,500 years ago (Rom 15:4). Furthermore, this message is for both those serving in ministry, as well as those sitting in a pew.
The Backstory of Jeremiah 48:10
The Moabites were first cousins to the Israelites. The children of Israel were Abraham’s great-grandchildren, and the Moabites were the great-grandchildren of his brother Haran. Because these two nations were family, when the children of Israel wandered in the desert because of their unbelief, our Beloved LORD GOD did not let them harass or provoke their cousins to war (Deu 2:9, Jug 11:12-18). Moab returned Israel’s kindness by considering Israel an enemy and treating them as such (1 Sam 14:47-48, Psa 83:1-8). And when Judah fell into the hands of Babylon, Moab didn’t mourn instead they rejoiced and spoke against both them and GOD, saying “Judah was no different than any other heathen nation” (Eze 25:8-11). Implying Israel’s GOD was no different than idols of heathen nations, and HIS people weren’t any different. This act of hostility, in addition to their excessive pride brought a judgment of destruction and desolation upon them (Isa 16:6, Jer 48:7-9, Jer 48:26, Jer 48:42).
GOD’s declared destruction and desolation against Moab, was so definitive that HE forewarned those nations appointed to carry out HIS judgment, “negligence in carrying out HIS judgment brought a curse.” You might be wondering how such a loving GOD would make what appears to be such a harsh statement. We must first remind you that our GOD is holy (perfect, pure, untainted by evil or sin) so HE is not vindictive. HE is just (fair, impartial, righteous, upright and reasonable), and HIS decisions are always well-grounded. We will look at two examples, where our Beloved GOD’s judgment seemed harsh, if additional information had not been provided through The Scriptures:
1) King Saul and the Amalekites. During the time when the children of Israel were leaving the harsh life and severe bondage of Egypt, the nation of Amalek attacked the most vulnerable Israelites from the rear. The Israelites in the rear, were stragglers, because they were faint and weary. The Amalekites showed no fear of GOD when they attacked HIS people who could not protect themselves (Deu 25:17-19). As a result our Beloved LORD GOD had Moses stop the trek toward Mt. Sinai, and send Joshua and the fighting men out to overwhelmingly defeat the Amalekites, to stop their picking off the weak and weary Israelites (Exd 17:8-13). Our GOD further declared “the memory of Amalek would be utterly blotted out from under the heaven” (Exd 17:14-16). When the first King of Israel (King Saul) was anointed, he was given orders to exterminate Amalek as GOD has promised (1 Sam 15:1-35). But he performed his duty negligently, leaving the job to be completed by King David, the second King of Israel (1 Sam 30:11-18), and by Simeon’s descendants, a tribe of Israel (1 Chr 4:24-43).
2) The prophet Ezekiel, was grieving about the destruction of the holy city Jerusalem, but our Beloved LORD GOD comforted him by revealing the reasons why. HE showed Ezekiel the conduct and actions of escapees from Jerusalem (Eze 14:12-23), where not even one righteous man could be found to stop the destruction (Jer 5:1).
What does GOD mean by “curse” in Jeremiah 48:10? HE means to bring harm (Prv 12:21), misfortune (Jer 5:11-18), sorrow (Eze 23:25-35), anguish (Eze 7:23-27), misery and distress (Psa 107:10-21) against.
What does GOD mean by “negligently” in Jeremiah 48:10? The English word “negligently” was transliterated from the Hebrew word “remiyah” (7423) and it has two meanings. The first is to be deceitful, false, to have guile. The second is to be careless, remiss, indifferent, lax, slack, and slothful. I dug further to see how these two different meanings could be related, and our Beloved LORD GOD led me to the following information from the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon:
1) a letting down or relaxing of the hands, indolence; to be slack, a remiss hand (Pro 12:24); idle (Pro 10:4), negligently (Jer 48:10)
2) deception, fraud; a fraudulent tongue (Psa 120:2-3); a deceitful bow, one which shoots unruly (Hos 7:16); deceptive archers, who deceive by a false flight (Psa 78:57)
The first definition from the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, confirms the usage of the word “negligently” in Jer 48:10 as careless, remiss, indifferent, lax, slack, slothful, a letting down or relaxing of the hands, indolent. If you go back to 1 Samuel 15:1-31, and study King Saul’s behavior closely, you will find he was guilty of both definitions. He didn’t follow GOD’s word fully and then he lied about it. So King Saul was both negligent and deceitful.
How does one today “negligently” do GOD’s work? One negligently does GOD’s work when they:
1) forget WHOM they are truly serving (Pro 19:17, Mat 25:34-40, 1 Tim 1:12, Heb 6:10)
2) do not serve The LORD with a glad heart (Deu 28:47-48, Ecc 3:12-13, Php 4:4, 1 Ths 5:16)
3) become stagnant in spirit, doubting the truth of GOD’s WORD (Zep 1:12, Eze 9:9)
4) become weary of following GOD’s commands (Mic 6:3, Gal 6:7-9, 2 Ths 3:13) or weary of their calling (Isa 43:22-24, Zec 11:8, Mal 1:6-7)
5) feel that obeying or serving HIM is tiresome (Jer 18:11-12, Mal 1:13, Mal 3:14)
6) become cheerless in their service (1 Sam 2:12-17, 1 Cor 9:17↔Col 1:25, 2 Cor 9:6-15)
Why does one become “negligent” in doing GOD’s work? When one becomes lukewarm in their walk with GOD, they become lukewarm in their service to GOD (Rev 3:14-22). When one’s earthly interests become greater than their spiritual interests, they lose interest in the things of GOD because they are so tied up with things in their everyday life (2 Tim 2:3-4). Both their hearts and their interests are divided (Psa 133:1↔Php 2:2-4, Luk 16:13, 1 Cor 7:32-35).
Is being lukewarm sin? Yes, to be lukewarm means to be lacking in conviction for GOD or the things of GOD. When one lacks conviction, they no longer follow HIS command to stand firm in their belief (1 Cor 15:1-2, 1 Cor 16:13, 1 Ths 3:8); they are not diligent in their faith (1 Pet 1:1-11, 2 Pet 3:14); and they lack assurance (Heb 3:12-14, Heb 11:1). Our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST tells us whatever is not from faith is sin (Rom 14:23, Heb 11:6).
Are the other ways to confirm being lukewarm? Yes, lukewarm people continue to talk about GOD, but their heart no longer belongs to HIM (Isa 29:13, Psa 50:16-21); they follow the teachings of men, rather than the commandments of GOD (Matt 15:9, Mrk 7:1-23); they profess to know GOD but their beliefs and lifestyle deny HIM (Tit 1:16, Rom 2:17-24); deny HIS SON as The only way to salvation (Jhn 14:6, 1 Jhn 2:22-23); and deny HIS WORD by refusing to accept it as truth (Isa 30:9-11, 2 Ths 2:10-13, 2 Tim 4:3-4). Lukewarm people refuse to know GOD’s WORD, as they prefer to live the lifestyle they choose (Jer 7:24-26, Psa 81:11-13); they despise authority (2 Pet 2:10, Jud 1:8); they are arrogant, feeling they have everything they need (Rev 3:17).
What does Jeremiah 48:10 mean “and cursed be the one who restrains his sword from blood”? The sword is both an offensive (used to attack or harm) and defensive (used to defend or protect) weapon used in war. It can be physical (Exd 32:25-29, SS 3:8, Jer 47:6-7, Jhn 18:10-11), spiritual (Hos 6:5, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12, Rev 2:16, Rev 19:13-15), or figurative (Job 5:15, Psa 57:4, Pro 12:18, Isa 49:2). Our Beloved LORD GOD called King Ahab of Israel to use a physical sword, by going to war and destroying one of Israel’s deadliest enemies and it’s King (Syria and King Ben-hadad). But King Ahab, decided to let him go (1 Kin 20:1-34). As a result our Beloved LORD GOD sent HIS prophet to King Ahab to tell him, GOD would destroy him and his people, because like King Saul he chose to follow his own will instead of GOD’s (1 Kin 20:35-43).
How does “and cursed be the one who restrains his sword from blood” apply to us today? Today our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST call us to use a spiritual sword (HIS WORD – Heb 4:12), when HE sends us to someone(s) with a message (Eze 33:7-9, Act 20:2-27). If we choose not to give the message because it seems too harsh, or we choose to only give positive messages (2 Tim 4:3). The LORD JESUS CHRIST will judge our disobedience and hold us responsible for the soul we chose not to warn (Eze 3:16-21).
MY son, do not reject the discipline of The LORD
Or loathe HIS reproof
For whom The LORD loves HE reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights