In one Avengers movie, the Hulk (a good guy) battles Loki (a bad guy). Loki shouts, “Enough!…I am a god, you dull creature,” but the Hulk slams him to the ground anyway. As he walks away, the Hulk smiles and mutters, “Puny god.”
You trust in your riches and say, “Who will attack me?” I will bring terror on you. Jeremiah 49:4–5
He had a point. If Loki could be manhandled, he wasn’t much of a “god.” The same thing happens to the Ammonite god Molek. Like the Moabites, the Ammonites descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew. Both nations were conquered by Babylon in 582 B.C. At that time, Israel repossessed land taken from them by the Ammonites (vv. 1–2). Both of Jeremiah’s prophecies about these two nations end with the hope of restoration (v. 6).
The Ammonite god Molek is a virtual synonym for evil, due in part to that religion’s heinous practice of child sacrifice. The worship of Molek was singled out in the Law for the death penalty (Lev. 20:1–5). When conquered by the Babylonians, Molek and his priests would be exiled (v. 3). “Puny god” indeed! What kind of “god” could not protect his people? Molek couldn’t even protect himself!
The Ammonites are noted for trusting in their riches and military strength (v. 4). They made the same two mistakes as the Moabites; they trusted in themselves and in a false god. The repeated phrase “declares the Lord” emphasizes their mistake. God was in control! The same fate awaited other neighboring nations whose prophecies are contained in this chapter: Edom (Jer. 49:7–22); Damascus or Syria (Jer. 49:23–27); Kedar and Hazor (Jer. 49:28–33); and Elam (Jer. 49:34–39). No one who stood against God would ever win.
It can be easy to get discouraged by everything happening in the world around us. We may be tempted to think that God has not noticed. As you read these judgments, be encouraged that God is in control and He will not let sin go unpunished.