Yes, I’m back with more from Jeremiah. Sorry for not posting a lot recently, things have been a little strange on my side as of late. Thanks for putting up with my inconsistency, and for all of your support!
So in my last post, I left it with the stubborn generation that God was going to destroy for their idols and adultery. Here I am now in chapter 23, and God has not relented. He still is angered by this generation’s choice, lack of repentance, and stubbornness. He still is going to punish Jerusalem for their denial. I will be skipping over some chapters here and there, so just bear with me.
Ch. 7:23 – 24: But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.”
“They followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts”… oh, does that sound like me sometimes! How many times have we rejected His commands, disregarded Him and flat – out disobeyed? But it does not pain us, for we follow the stubborn inclinations of our evil hearts. In Ch. 17:9, it says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” A common verse we’ve all heard at one time or another goes hand – in – hand with this line of thinking: Isaiah 55:8: “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’” Stubbornness blinds people. It keeps us from seeing things the way they really are, because of the evil desires in our hearts. This is not an excuse, however, to spurn His commands. It is a warning against the stubbornness that we cannot see in our own lives. However, He gives us the confidence, the affirmation that if we walk in obedience to all he commands of us, it will go well with us. He will be our God, and we will be His people.
Ch. 9:24: ”But let the one who boasts boast about this; that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”
Wait, isn’t this the same God who is about to completely annihilate Jerusalem for their idolatry and adultery? Why, yes it is. How can this be? Because He is the Lord who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth. It is completely just for the Lord to exhibit His wrath on this generation, because justice commands that He punish them for disobeying His commands. These people have repeatedly, stubbornly committed this offense against His command, and as a result, they are to be punished and have brought this upon themselves.
Ch. 13:1-11 tells of how the Lord commanded Jeremiah to purchase a linen belt and put it around his waist, but to not let it touch water. He then was to take it to Perath and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks. After this too was done, many days later the Lord had him return to the rocks and retrieve the belt. However, when he took it from the place he had hidden it, it was “ruined and completely useless” (v. 7). V. 8-11: Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt – completely useless! For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’”
God binds us to Him to be His people for His renown and praise and honor. But it is still our choice. We can either listen, or we can choose to ignore. Those who ignore will be completely useless.
Ch. 16:17: “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.”
Is that not a scary thought? Sure we all know in our heads that it’s true, but getting it known in our hearts is another story. Every time we sinned, if we knew that none of it was concealed from the eyes that truly mattered, what kind of difference would that make? What gets me is that even my thoughts, the things that we think but never say (or wish we could, but know we shouldn’t), He still knows! It makes no difference whether they’re oral or mental, He knows either way!
Ch. 17:5: This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and who turns away from the Lord.”
This goes perfectly with Psalm 118:8: It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. What I find interesting, however, is that God doesn’t say that it’s impossible to draw strength from man. He doesn’t say that it’s not possible to trust in man; only cursed is the one who does. How many of us have trusted in others, have drawn strength from them, even spiritually, and have turned to them instead of the Lord? He is to be our ultimate source of strength, the One we trust the most. We can trust in others, we can draw strength from them; however, it cannot be so much that we look to them instead of the Lord. We cannot turn away from the Lord for the sake of mere flesh. V. 7 offers a blessing: But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.
Ch. 19 – 20 I find extremely interesting, as such a great reminder. Ch. 19 delves into what Jeremiah is to prophesy, as the Lord is telling it to him. Then at the very beginning of ch. 20, Jeremiah prophecies exactly as the Lord has commanded him to, and Pashur, the official in charge of the temple of the Lord, has Jeremiah beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the Lord’s temple. Really? Jeremiah did just what the Lord had instructed him to do, and that was what he received? But this is just another example of what we hear all the time: following the Lord is not an easy thing. And it most certainly doesn’t always make sense. It doesn’t always seem like it’s fair, or just, or even right. But that doesn’t make our job any different. That doesn’t change our responsibility. If the Lord has given you a command, it is your duty to fulfill that command, even if you are persecuted for it.
As far as Jerusalem goes in the book, it is still idolatrous, still adulterous, still rejects God and refuses to repent. The Lord still intends to judge the people according to their sins. And one day, we should expect the same.
(P.S. Sorry about the formatting, I wasn’t sure how to fix it.)