Vs. 1, “Then the LORD said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go!” God would respond to Jeremiah’s prayer with this verse. No matter who sought to intercede for Judah, God’s mind was made up…He would not relent. God had chosen the Jews to be a blessing to the world, but now they would become abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth (vs. 4). We must be careful to not assume God enjoyed what He was doing. This brought incredible grief to our Lord just as Jesus wept over Jerusalem many years later. We would see Jeremiah’s heartfelt response as he pleads his case to the Lord. Jeremiah was nearly questioning his purpose and ministry…but God would bring him a test that many of us would find incredibly hard to endure.
Regarding application…God’s Food. Vs. 16, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.” Had Jeremiah forsaken God’s word during this tumultous time…He would not have lasted and endured. We don’t simply read God’s word…even Satan & pagans do that….WE MUST EAT God’s word!!! We must chew and taste the goodness of it. We must let it digest into our souls and let it revitalize our very being! When I come across a fellow believer who has told me they are struggling…the number one thing I ask them is, “Are you doing your QT’s?” Every response I have heard so far is the answer, “NO”. Brothers & Sisters in Christ…are we so dull & ignorant? When we choose to not dine at the table of our King, we WILL grow weak. His Word is the only thing that can sustain us in times of tribulation. We must be grounded in it now, so that when the storms come, we are strong enought to endure. I’ll never grow tired in reminding each of you daily why we must turn to God’s Word! Keep your eyes elevated to Jesus!
Vs. 1, “You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” Question: Why do the wicked always seem to prosper? But Jeremiah would not be the only one to ask such a question. We probably have all asked such a question and we know Job did too. No matter how strong we are in the Lord, sometimes our human intellect will conjure doubts in our minds. Jeremiah wanted God to just get it over and the unrighteous dealt with. But God would respond with a reminder that our life will not always be easy…in fact, it will become increasingly harder as you walk stronger with the Lord (vs. 5). We see the utter sadness that God would have to watch His creation reject Him. Yet, once again, we see God’s faithful promises shine in the darkness of men. (vs. 15)
Regarding application…Questions. God is patient with His children. Jeremiah trusted in the Lord but still wondered why the wicked seemingly were not being affected. While we can sit and anaylze the word of God to satisfy our curiosity regarding such questions, It really just comes down to trusting His promises. It’s not that it is inherently bad to ask questions…but sometimes we are faced once again with the task to believe in something we don’t understand = Faith!!! It doesn’t matter if we have all the answer so much as it matters that our faith is increasing our character. Whenever you have questions…ask…but remember that ultimately, we were never intended to know everything. That is why God is God and we are His creation.
Vs. 8, “But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.” The history of the Jews is the record of covenants…God would make them and unfortunately His people would break them. He made a covenant with Abraham when He called him, and He would confirmed this covenant with Isaac and Jacob. The Covenant (promise) was the basis for all the blessings God desired to give His people. These were a people that looked like Godly people by their so called actions, but their hearts & actions in the dark would bring destruction. Their hearts were so bad that God would not listen to their crys when destruction would come. Jeremiah would find that the message would not bode well to the audience He was preaching to.
Regarding application…Enemies. Vs. 19, “I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more.” Jeremiah’s words remind us of Jesus who was a lamb led to the slaughter. A lamb will not fight back…Jesus & Jeremiah would not fight back, but God & His timing is everything. God would not let the enemies of Jeremiah conquer his ministry at this time. For Jesus…God knew that Jesus must be overtaken by His enemies. Here’s the bottom line…When we walk with God, boldly live for God…we WILL have enemies!!! If you are loved & liked by all…there perhaps is something wrong. Our biggest foe obviously is Satan…but, we must realize and not be suprised when we have enemies in our lives. But the most striking part about this all is what Jesus has to say about our enemies…”But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) We are not to love Satan, but we must love people made in God’s image who have yet to know Him. So the next time an enemy steps into your life, pray for them & love them with the Love Jesus gave you! And if God puts His vengenence upon them, may His will be done.
Vs. 3, “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm nor can they do any good.” We see how foolish it is to worship things made by humans. Abraham himself was once a worshipper of idols before he trusted in God. By this point, God’s people had no excuse, for they were instructed quite cleary from the Mosaic Law not to worship idols. If only they would comprehend the glory & majesty of the true Living God! Theologian A.W. Tozer, “…the essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him.” Our temporary idols of today may not be made of wood, but they bring just as much competition as the wooden & golden idols of yesterday
Regarding application…Our Way & God’s Way. Vs. 23, “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” We are on the road of life and the moment we turn from God…we take a major wrong turn. It would be like witnessing a car go down the wrong side of the street. Most people would think or call out to them about how incredibly foolish & dangerous it is to drive in the wrong direction. Yet that is exactly what we do when we direct our own steps. Verse 23 is reminds me of what the Apostle Paul would say to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:19-21)
Our lives once belonged to us…but now we are slaves to righteousness. On the road of life, we have only “One Way…Jesus!” By the Grace of God He gave us intellect & will…but we are not meant to fathom the ways of God. In our endeavor to live a life for Him…sometimes I think we as Christians overanalyze ourselves more often than we should. We analyze the “why’s” of our Christians lives…when all God said was to have faith & obey. Sometimes we make life more difficult than it should be. It’s almost refreshing to know that it is not up to “US” to figure it all out! Let’s truly thank God that we simply have to follow the directions. The next step you take…ask yourself…is it my way or God’s way?
Vs. 6, “You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,” declares the LORD.” God’s people were putting their confidence in everything except the Lord. They were putting confidence in relationships, family, friends and unfortuately they were putting confidence on being circumcised…but God wants circumcision of the heart first (vs.26)! Just because they were direct recepients of God’s covenant, did not give them the right to sin. No matter your standing or upbringing…this does not guarantee your success as a Christian. Sometimes we hear of street kids living powerfully for the Lord and PK’s rebelling from the Lord.
Regarding application…Crying. Vs. 1, “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.” Whew…this is a hard topic. I would venture to say, no one wants to cry in front of others. We are taught at an early age that crying is for cry-babies. Boys don’t cry and girls are sissies if they do. If something would trigger us to cry…we more than likely would want to avoid it. Yet, Jeremiah would not avoid it even though it made him literraly weep. I’ve found this to be true…the older I get, the more I cry. Yet, perhaps there should be more crying in the church. “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:9-10. Remember, there is always a time for everything and perhaps we don’t give enough time to mourning and weeping. When we cry, I believe the Holy Spirit is softening our hearts. It’s okay to weep and feel the sadness of this world we live in. Take courage one day that when we reach eternity, there will be no more sorrow. But until then, perhaps we also should be known as weeping servants for the Lord.
Vs. 9, “The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?” This was their worst sin…they were rejecting the word of the LORD. God is saying we ought to no better than horses or birds…yet we were ignorant because of sin and deception. They were decieved because they thought they had wisdom. Just because they had the Temple & the law did not make them Godly or protected. The Bible is continually the number one seller in the world, but that doesn’t mean society is getting more Godly. They would find out they they would miss their opportunity and God would judge them harshly. We see Jeremiah’s concern as he laments for Judah as we close the chapter.
Regarding application…Broken Heart. Vs. 21, “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.” We see why Jeremiah would be the weeping prophet. Iimagine if you could have known the killings in Norway could have been prevented. Imagine if you had the opportunity to run to all the people and students who were killed. Yet, how many of these people would have listened to you? How many would have taken you seriously? This is what was happening to Jeremiah. Think how sad you would be if you knew without a doubt these people that you are warning would all be dead soon. It really is a overwhelming thought…the sadness would be gut wrenching.
One thing that about Jeremiah is that his heart was definitely not hard. His broken heart kept him faithful in enduring the monumental task that God had given him. No matter how hard our lives are…may we never harden our hearts to the plight of others. Sometimes, you may be watching t.v. late at night and run across one of those commericals with children who are starving to death and some organization asking for your help. It’s easy to want to turn the channel and not think about the less fortunate. Believe me, having just gone to Mexico on Missions, I got to see the poverty and children with nearly nothing. But, Jeremiah chose not too…Jesus would choose not to…we must choose not to. We must remember that our lives are not just about us. There is a world out there that needs the message we hold in our hearts. It’s an incredibly sad task to put yourself out there and see the reality of the pain people endure & will endure if they don’t turn to Jesus…but we must! Are you prepared to have a broken heart?
Vs. 2, “Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message: ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD.” Three times a year, the Jewish men were required to go up to the temple in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. Jeremiah would take this opportunity to preach the Word of the Lord. God’s people were putting their trust in other God’s. They assumed the Temple of God would never be able to be destroyed, so they took God for granted. Instead of the Temple helping them to be holy, they were making the Temple an unholy place. Jeremiah would try to remind them of God’s past judgments on His people (vs. 12-15), but they still would not listen. God would go so far as to instruct Jeremiah not to pray for them anymore (vs. 16). Their empty sacrifices show us that God does not just want the outward action…it starts with the heart & shows itself with action (fruit).
Regarding application…Obedience. Vs. 23, “but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.” Obedience comes with a promise. As children, we might have obeyed our parents because we got rewarded for it. If we cleaned our room, we could have that toy we had been wanting for so long. Yet, God’s promise comes with a far greater gift! When we trust & obey the Lord; it brings glory to Him, reward to us both on earth & in Heaven, & encouragement for others! It’s truly a win-win situation. Obedience starts with the small things…we show God that we can be responsible with QT’s, prayer, service…and God will take that obedience and fling wide the doors of possibilities: Mission opportunities, Seminary opportunities, serving God’s church as a lay leader, bringing people to Christ @ work & your neighborhood! But it all starts with doing the everyday obedience. Don’t do it because you have to…do it because His love compels us to!
Vs. 1, “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin! Flee from Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem! For disaster looms out of the north, even terrible destruction.” The Lord gives a final warning to Judah in the first three verses. Even in the midst of impending castastrophe, God would give a last chance to any who might hear His voice! But we also see the LORD Almighty would speak directly to the Babylonians directing them in their attack against Judah! God is a God of consequences & wrath! It is only natural that Jeremiah would be saddened that nobody listened or would listen to his warnings (vs. 10). No one would escape the wrath…Men, women, the elderly & children. Judah’s hypocritical sacrifices were more than God could bear. This time…God was not not purifying them with fire, He was punishing them with fire. Remember that Jeremiah was a prophet & these events have not yet occured.
Regarding application…Shameless. Vs. 15, “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD.” I think our society today is very shameless in its actions. When Adam & Even had sinned, they realized they were naked & went to cover themselves. But, it seems today…if that had happened…Adam & Eve wouldn’t mind. Sex sells & attracts…so that’s why we see so many shameless people flaunt their bodies and not even blink an eye. There’s no shame these days in so many other ways too. Not just physically….but when Christians shamelessly sin outright (get drunk, live with their boyfriends/girlfriends, flaunt their money, etc…)….that’s the type of sin God abhors. The End Times will be like the days of Noah. In the midst of this increasing shameless society, let us be “Holy” and set apart from the world. We don’t have to dress the same, talk the same, and live the same way to be a part of society. As Christians we cannot escape society, for we must be a light to the world…but let us not conform to it either (Romans 12:1)
Vs. 11, “The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD.” God would instruct Jeremiah to do a search of the city to find if one righteous person lived in it…if Jeremiah would find just one, God would call off the invasion. This reminds us of Abraham and Sodom. Jeremiah would search both poor & rich and not find anyone. The goodness of God did not bring repentance to these hard-hearted people. They would continue to turn to their idols. Yet God would yet show his mercy & faithfulness by staying true to His covenant with Abraham (vs. 18). Jeremiah would obey God and proclaim their sin & how they were living. Instead of listening, they grew more corrupt in their nature…the rich grew richer, the poor got poorer & the priests & prophets were corrupt.
Regarding application…God Still Searches. Vs. 1, “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.” We cannot hide from God. Our hearts whether cold or warm are like beacons in a dark desert night. God has not stopped His search. The Lord still searches for hearts that are soft & open to Him. When God does His “Internet Search” for soft hearts….does your name come up on the search list? I wonder if that list is growing or decreasing these days? Let us do our very best to not only be on that list…but be a part in adding to that list by sharing His Word that softens hearts!!!!
Vs. 7, “A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant.” Horrible judgment would come upon Judah, and yet God’s people would be unprepared. They would not listen to Jeremiah’s exhortation to repentance. Here we see the example of the weeping prophet Jeremiah as he contemplates the tragedy that would happen to his people. Judah was foolish and ignorant of God & His ways. Yes, there would tragedy in the captivity and the loss of lives…but more importantly…it was tragic that God’s people had so much unbelief that it would take them to this point.
Regarding application…Circumcision of the Heart. Vs. 4, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts...” They were going through the outward form of circumcision. Circumcision was a sign that showed they belonged to the nation Israel, but God hadn’t given it just as a ritual. More importantly, their hearts needed to be circumcised to God. Peter’s powerful message in Acts 2 on the day of pentecost would circumcise the hearts of 3000 people. Question: What condition is your heart in? Remember the parable of the sower? Jeremiah tells us from vs. 3, “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.” The seed of God’s word MUST land on cultivated soil…a cultivated heart. A cultivated heart will turn to God. A circumcised heart will turn from idolatry. A softened heart will love because He first loved us. A joyful heart will praise in good & bad times. It begins with the heart…when we backslide, when we turn from God…the first thing to change is the condition of our hearts. Check your heart today! Let God’s Word grow deep roots in your heart, so you may bear the sweetest fruit the Lord can create!