SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 06/12

The Cup Of War

Reading: Jeremiah chapter 1

1. Introduction

Unlike the prophet Isaiah, who was a prophet to Judah and Jerusalem (Isaiah 1:1), or the prophet Ezekiel, who was sent specifically to the people of Israel (Ezekiel 2:3, 3:4-7), Jeremiah prophesied to the whole world! His predictions concern every nation. His prophecy about the Cup of War is in fact a judgement of the Almighty God on all peoples right down to this day. We see reports of this prophecy's fulfilment in every news bulletin: war, war, WAR! No nation, however insignificant, is exempt. The catalogue of war and trouble is long and growing. Will it ever stop? What is its purpose? Does God care about humanity? And if He does, what is He doing about it? Jeremiah's message is for us; so take note.

Yahweh, the God of Israel said to him:
Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

The Bible has much to say about these and other troubles. The newspapers, radio and TV tell the same story over and over and over and over again. the record is seemingly endless!

2. Troubles come to Everyone

We must not assume that troubles only afflict the wicked and that once you put your faith in Yahweh all your troubles will end. Many have thought this and have given up the faith when events proved otherwise. The fact is: Troubles come to all people - good and bad: no matter what their colour, creed, social or economic standing. Everyone experiences trouble. The Bible says:
Job 5:6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;
7: Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.

Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.
Mark 13:7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
8: For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

3. The Cup of War

Jeremiah 25 is one of the most wide-ranging prophetic chapters in the Bible. It contains a prophecy about the Cup of War!   A cup which is passed to all nations - in turn. No nation is allowed to escape: all must drink from this deadly Cup of War! The cup is filled with unrest, turmoil, revolution and bloodshed. It is a fearsome prophecy to say the least; and it is coming to pass at this very moment. The Almighty says that every nation in the world is scheduled to drink of this cup. No nation is allowed to escape. All must drink! This means that all the peace initiatives of the politicians will be unable to prevent the Cup of War from reaching their nation. Because every nation must drink!
Jeremiah 25:15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.
16: And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
17: Then took I the cup at the LORD's hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me:
18: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;
19: Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;
20: And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,
21: Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,
22: And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,
23: Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners,
24: And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,
25: And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,
26: And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.
27: Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.
28: And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink.
29: For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.

4. When the Cup Reaches your Country

Obviously there are good souls in every country: believers who have done their best to live righteous lives. What should they do when caught up in this kind of trouble: when the Cup of War reaches their homeland? Bear in mind that escape from trouble is not always possible. It often happens that true believers find themselves caught up in the whirlwind of war! What should they do? The Bible spells out the actions we should take - NOW - before that time arrives. It may be that you will be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.
Psalm 50:15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
Zephaniah 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD's anger come upon you.
3: Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD's anger.

These texts tells us that we should call upon the Lord before the fast-approaching time of trouble: it may be He will He will deliver us. But there is no guarantee: note the words "it may be." A believer's main concern then - and now - should be to continue in the faith and not give up - even though terror is all around: because the whirlwind of war will not last forever. A time of everlasting peace is not far away. The Prince of Peace has promised to return and that day is very near. So hold fast. Be like the prophet Habakkuk who wrote:
Habakkuk 3:17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19: The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

5. Promise to the Obedient

There is, I am glad to report, hope for the faithful and the obedient. They are not altogether forsaken. Yahweh is pleased when His people walk the pathway of righteousness. He rewards them. Read the story of the Rechabites in Jeremiah 35. Yes, the Most High rewards obedience. In short, no matter how bad the situation becomes, Yahweh will always spare some souls from the families of the obedient (the Jonadabs in the church) to do His work and carry forward His message. All may not be spared the calamities to come: but some will. Faithful obedience is the true believer's best safeguard in the time of trouble. This is a vital fact to remember when the Cup of War reaches your nation.

6. All Trials have a Purpose

Tribulation is the inevitable outcome or harvest of mankind's sin. Tribulation is, nevertheless, permitted by the Most High in order to show the universe that every departure from His perfect law has resulted in chaos and trouble. Tribulation and war has now become the 'educational environment' in which the human race is being compelled to learn several important spiritual lessons. They are: With these facts in mind you should let your troubles to: The Bible says:
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?


            Trouble, why friend I see thee right,
            Thou art not cause for fear or fright,
            Without thee character would be unknown,
            Midst tortured souls thy seeds are sown.

            But alas! when thou draweth near,
            Our faculties loose power with fear,
            We see thee as a cursed foe,
            Seeds of sorrow sowing sow.

            Yet great men all have tasted thee.
            Thy priceless gifts no eye can see.
            Thou mouldest men as men should be;
            Men to face eternity!

Throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity we shall not only look back on our present troubles as stepping stones to understanding the foolishness of sin: but also view them as 'spiritual windows' through which we have recognised Yahweh's boundless love, mercy and kindness: qualities of which we would have been blissfully ignorant had not sin blighted the universe. With these facts in mind rise above your troubles and tribulations. Learn from them: yea master them! The end result will be that for you tribulation will be viewed like a war veteran's badge of distinction, to be worn for all time! Praise be His holy name! Paul writes:
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4: And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
6: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

SBS     Sermon Notes     See SBS Lesson on Human Suffering

Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Placed on Internet May 1997 ... Updated August 1999