Jer 48 45 Because of the Force CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When reading the prophecy of Moab in Jer 48, we see “they that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force…”. When you read that prophecy you might be inclined to remember the Star Wars expression, “May the force be with you,” and think that somehow their is a connection to this verse.
However, when you look up the word “force” in an English dictionary, like the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, you understand what “because of the force” means. Oddly, before we define the word for you, you might be interested to know that the word, “force,” or some other form of the word, appears 42 times in your KJV and is defined 12 different ways in those verses.
The word, “force,” is defined as power or violence [as in Laban taking Jacob’s family by force], rape [as in a man forcing a woman], physical strength or vigor [as in Moses’s natural force was not abated], a body of troops [as in Armed Forces], compulsion or constraint [as in stopping the work on the wall by force], binding or valid [as in a testament being in force], and so forth. You don’t need to go to “the Hebrew” or “the Greek” to figure it out. Just go to a good English dictionary and look up the definition.
The word “force” in Jer 48:45 simply means, “the might or greatness of a prince or state: strength in or capacity for waging war.” So, those who flee from Moab stand under the shadow of Heshbon because of Heshbon’s military strength. They are there for protection, as in an alliance between nations.
But the problem with looking to Heshbon for protection is disclosed in the rest of the prophecy. Jeremiah quotes Num 21:28-29 to remind them that Heshbon was the city of Sihon, king of the Amorites. And Sihon is the one who pushed Moab off the coast of the Dead Sea and into Syria. In other words, the fleeing Moabites will be looking to a former enemy for protection. And it’s going to backfire.
Trusting an enemy whose military strength is greater than yours eventually has bad consequences. Judah under Asa trusted Syria under Benhadad to defeat Israel in 1 Ki 15:16-20. But by the reign of Jehoash, Syria had turned against Judah [2 Ki 12:17-18]. Then Ahaz was attacked by Syria and Israel, so he made a deal with Tiglathpileser, king of Assyria, to defend him against Syria [2 Ki 16:5-9]. And what did the Assyrians do? Under Senacherrib, during the reign of Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah, they attacked Judah and besieged Jerusalem [2 Ki 18:13-]. God intervened in this attack and killed 185,000 elite Assyrian soldiers. Israel didn’t need more “forces;” they had the Lord.
So, trusting a nation “because of the force” is a bad deal, particularly when it has been an enemy. During the Tribulation, the nations of the world are going to put their trust in the Antichrist for the same reason. He is going to be strong because of the devil and his “forces” [Dan 11:38-39]. Here forces means, “a body of persons available for or serving a particular end.” The forces are both earthly troops and heavenly hosts [Eph 6:12; Rev 12:7; Is 24:21]. The particular end will be the destruction of Israel [Ps 83] and the ultimate fight against Jesus Christ, “the Prince of princes,” [Dan 8:25]. The Antichrist will be destroyed [2 Thes 2:8-9]. Woe to the countries that put their trust in him and the God of forces.
The only one to trust is the Lord God [Ps 144:15; 146:5], not a nation “because of the force.” The Lord God has more power than the devil and all the forces in the heavens and on earth.