“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness, and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed.
“Moab has been at ease from his youth
and has settled on his dregs;
he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel,
nor has he gone into exile;
so his taste remains in him,
and his scent is not changed.
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I shall send to him pourers who will pour him, and empty his vessels and break his jars in pieces.
When I first read these verses I jotted down the word, “stagnant”. I wasn’t sure why that word came to mind, it was just my gut instinct. So I thought I do some research about these verses and see what others had to say. By others, I mean biblical scholars, and of all the ones I read, I most understood the commentaries of John Gill.
John Gill writes in reference to verse ten:
This is a general rule, which may be applied to all divine work and service; every man has work to do for God; some in a more public, others in a more private way; all should be done in uprightness and sincerity, with all faithfulness and integrity: it is done deceitfully when men play the hypocrite; and negligently when they are backward to it, lukewarm in it, and infrequent in the performance of it;
God gives us each gifts, talents and purpose. It is our individual responsibility to fulfill that purpose utilizing the gifts and talents given to us. To not do so, is to curse one’s own life.
In verse ten, Jeremiah was referring to the Chaldeans work to destroy the Moabites. This came after the Chaldeans had destroyed Jerusalem and carried way the Israelites to Babylon.
In verse eleven Jeremiah mentions Moab and writes about them settling on their dregs. Dregs is the sediment in wine that forms when left in the same container. Jeremiah was using it as a metaphor for how the Moabites had become stagnant.
According to Mr. Gill the Moabites had lived in peace and prosperity since their rise as a kingdom. They had very little disturbance from their neighbors. They became complacent in life and in God. Since they never knew real hardship, they considered themselves to be privileged and above all who surrounded them. They were haughty, prideful and stagnant. Why bother to improve and seek righteousness when you have no burdens, no hardships, and no motivation. They had become sinful.
The Chaldeans were sent to wake up the Moabites and show them the hardships they had avoided for so many years. The Chaldeans were sent to give balance to the Moabites.
In verse twelve, Jeremiah is letting the Moabites know that this balance is coming their way. The dregs that have settled and become stagnant will be shaken up and poured out. There is a price for everything, and they will pay.
The lesson from these three verses, which apply to all of us, is this.
Each of us is given a gift from God, it is our life. In that life we are given talents, strengths, things we excel at doing. To utilize these talents requires work, diligence and the continual movement towards righteousness. If we only go so far, or don’t begin, we become stagnant and soon our talents and life begin to settle to the bottom of the vessel, like a bottle of wine. But through the balance of the universe, someday our vessel of comfort will be broken and we will spill to the ground.
Every day you must open your heart to God, seek righteousness, and learn and do the work that God has given you. You must do this until the day your life is gone. You cannot allow yourself to become stagnant in your vessel of comfort.
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