Jer. 16:1-17:27; 8:4-10:16
God spoke to Jeremiah on a personal note. Because of the upheaval that was soon to overtake Judah, Jeremiah was not to marry nor bring children into that wicked world. In many cases, it is better to refrain from having children because of the calamities that would overtake them. That era in Judah’s history was such a time. Jeremiah was also forbidden from partying and feasting with the Judeans. Many times, when confronted with punishment, man in seeking to justify himself will ask, “What have I done?” The prophet was to remind them of their fathers’ sins of forsaking God for other gods and refusing to obey His law. Moreover, He stated, “And you have done worse than your fathers…so that no one listens to Me.” In like manner, God would not listen to their cries. They would be cast out of the land. In order to preserve a pathway for the Savior to come, God would eventually allow Judah to return. It was also prophesied that the Gentiles would come. That did take place hundreds of years later as the gospel of Christ was preached to the Gentiles.
Men who trust other men instead of God were contrasted with those who do trust in the Lord. Judah had trusted in Egypt and other foreign alliances instead of God to deliver them from their enemies. They were like a shrub planted in the parched desert. When the blessings of rain come, they fall elsewhere and the shrub continues to thirst for water. However, the man who does trust in God is like a tree planted by the river. Even without rain, its roots reach out and draw in sufficient water for it to thrive and yield fruit. Man cannot live without God. We must have air, water and food and they all come from Him. Even more important is the salvation of one’s soul. Without God, there is no hope. However, He is longsuffering. Judah was offered another opportunity to repent. If they would keep the Sabbath and the offerings and sacrifices associated with it, He would relent and allow Judah and Jerusalem to remain. BUT they would not hear.
Jeremiah had called upon Judah many times to repent, but they had refused to heed his words. The cycles of nature act at their given times without being commanded. Judah had refused to act even though they had been commanded. Those inactions would result in their just punishment. Instead of preaching the word of God, the priests and prophets had spoken lies to the people. They would receive the same punishment as would be meted out to the people whom they had led astray. In another attempt to get the people to repent, Jeremiah called out to them, “Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves…Because we have sinned against the Lord.” The invading Babylonians were depicted as vipers coming upon them. Some of the saddest words in all of Scripture were then penned. “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!” It was too late.
As Jeremiah viewed and spoke to Judah, he had two extreme emotions. Seeing the eminent destruction that was upon them caused the prophet to weep floods of tears. On the other hand, their disobedience and refusal to hear his words caused him to want to get far away from them. Their lips were full of lies and deceit. The Lord reiterated His displeasure with Judah as they had forsaken His law and followed their own hearts and false gods. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom…But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me…For in these I delight,” says the Lord. God would punish the circumcised Judeans, who were actually uncircumcised in the heart at the hands of the uncircumcised nations around them.
The prophet, Jeremiah contrasted the futility of idols with the power of God. Celestial bodies are His handiwork, but they are unable to hear man’s calls. Wooden idols are just that—wood with decorations. They can neither do evil nor good. Silver and gold are pleasant to behold, but there is no power in them. The metalsmiths were put to shame by the futility of people worshipping their images. Idols created nothing and are not eternal. They are breathless and the product of errors. God is called the King of the nations. He is the true God, the living God and the everlasting King. “At His wrath the earth will tremble…” He made the earth by His power and established the world by His wisdom. God—not Baal is in control of the complete universe. “The Lord of hosts is His name.”