Jeremiah's Conversation With God
Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, received the word of the LORD in the days of kings Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. God said, "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." Jeremiah objected, "Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child."
Jeremiah 1:7 - "But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak."
God Knows, Sanctifies And Ordains You Before Birth
The foreknowledge of God is unimaginable. Before you are even conceived, God knows all about you. Before you are born, God ordains your purpose. From the womb, God's hand is on your life. Tragically, many people betray their calling, and never live up to their divinely ordained purpose. You will never accomplish anything more worthwhile than the will of God. Abandon your will for His.
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."
God Will Answer Your Objections
God had a very dramatic, very dangerous role for Jeremiah to play as prophet to the nations. Jeremiah voiced strong objections. The LORD answered, "Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee." Faint not! God will not only answer you, He will embolden, enable and encourage you, too.
Jeremiah 1:9-10 - "Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant."
The Rod Of An Almond Tree
The word of the LORD assured Jeremiah that God was with him. A vision appeared. "Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree." In Moses' day, a company of rebels tried to overthrow Aaron the High Priest. God made every tribe lay a wooden rod on the ground. Overnight, "the rod of Aaron ...brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds." As God quickly vindicated Aaron, he promised to vindicate Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1:12 - "Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it."
The Seething Pot
Jeremiah's second vision was of a seething (boiling) pot facing northward, from which direction an evil calamity would come. It was a prophecy foretelling the invasion of the Babylonians, who eventually attacked from the north. Israel was going to "boil" in Nebuchadnezzar's "pot." It happened just a few years later, in Jeremiah's lifetime. If you persist in your sins, God is going to judge you.
Jeremiah 1:16 - "I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands."
God Makes His Prophet Invincible
God told Jeremiah, "I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant." "...speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces..."
Jeremiah 1:19 - "I have made thee ...a defenced city, ...an iron pillar, ...brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings, ...the princes..., the priests..., ...the people. ....they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee."
Never Stop Asking "Where Is The LORD?"
Jeremiah did not want to pronounce judgments on his countrymen, but God required him to. After all God's kindnesses - deliverance from Egypt, and countless miracles in the wilderness and in the Promised Land - the people stopped inquiring of the LORD and turned to idols. It is a frightening, foolish mistake to forget God. Seek Him always!
Jeremiah 2:5 - "What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, ...Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, ...The priests said not, Where is the LORD?"
Israel Was Holiness Unto The LORD
The LORD was grieved over Jerusalem when He said, "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase." He must now grieve over the Church, too, because so much is no longer holiness unto the LORD.
Jeremiah 2:7 - "I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination."
The Fountain Of Living Water, Or Broken Cisterns?
Israel forsook the Water of Life for broken cisterns when they turned to idols. "Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD." Our generation is doomed for committing the same folly - forsaking the living God.
Jeremiah 2:13 - "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
Thine Own Wickedness Shall Correct Thee
Jeremiah rebuked Israel for forsaking the LORD, allowing themselves to be spoiled by their enemies, and adopting the ways of the Egyptians and Assyrians. "Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee." Sometimes, the best rebuke comes from the shame, humiliation and sheer pain that occurs when you wake up and realize what a fool you have been, and what tragic circumstances your disobedience has caused.
Jeremiah 2:26 - "As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets."
Will Thou Not Cry Unto Me?
Spiritual adultery was Israel's great offense against God. "Thou has played the harlot with many lovers." "Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with." "...and committed adultery with stones and with stocks [idolatry]." Nevertheless (and astonishingly) God asked them to return and repent! Oh, marvelous grace!
Jeremiah 3:1,4 - "If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? ...yet return again to me, saith the LORD. ...Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me?"
God Divorced Israel, But Not Judah
The northern ten tribes of Israel fell into idolatry immediately after Solomon died. The tribes of Benjamin and Judah in Jerusalem had a few righteous kings like Jehoshaphat, Josiah, and Hezekiah, who literally saved Judah from destruction by their righteousness. God divorced Israel, but not Judah. Once Judah backslid, only the coming of Messiah could save them all.
Jeremiah 3:8 - "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also."
The Ark Of The Covenant Will Be In Heaven
The Ark of the Covenant vanished when Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon captured J erusalem. It will not be in Jerusalem when Jesus reigns 1000 years. It will be in Heaven (Revelation 11:19; 15:5). God's glory is now in Jesus, the true Ark.
Jeremiah 3:16-17 - "In those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD."
Jerusalem Will Be The Throne of the LORD
Let all the world come against Jerusalem. Let them set themselves against Israel and their God. Let them amass all their political and military might. Let them terrorize and plunder. Yet God has declared it shall be His, and nothing shall stop the Holy One of Israel.
Jeremiah 3:17 - "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart."
Return, Ye Backsliding Children
Throughout the book of Jeremiah, God exploited the people's backsliding, sharply reminding them that the chaos, and war, and tragic losses they were experiencing was their own fault. His intention was to motivate them to repentance, but they completely failed to appease Him. Sin becomes so vile that men sometimes become incapable of repenting. Take great care never to reach that place.
Jeremiah 3:20,22 - "Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings."
Break Up Your Fallow Ground
Jeremiah's rebukes against Israel seemed almost rhetorical. They were not listening. Calls to put away their abominations, and swear, "The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment and in righteousness," fell on deaf ears and hard hearts; like sowing seed on hard ground. God said, "Break up your fallow ground." He admonished them to blow trumpets and call the people together, but they would not. Judgment had to fall.
Jeremiah 4:7 - "The lion [Nebuchadnezzar] is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles [Babylon] is on his way; ...thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant."
Watchers From A Far Country
Jeremiah and Daniel use the term "watchers" to describe heavenly agents who carry out God's judgments. Daniel 4 chronicles the downfall of Nebuchadnezzar at the hands of "watchers." Jeremiah prophesied divine judgment on the people of Judah by the "watchers." Beware, lest watchers visit you in your sins.
Jeremiah 4:16-17 - "Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD."
The Earth Without Form
Jeremiah's heart and bowels were suffering as he contemplated the spoil and destruction that he saw coming to the "foolish, ...sottish" people. "I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. ...there was no man, ...the fruitful place was a wilderness, ...the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD." The prophecies depicted the land after Nebuchadnezzar's armies captured, burned, and destroyed Judah.
Jeremiah 4:24 - "Thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end."
Travail In Prayer, Or Travail In Judgment
Many people disdain the seemingly unsavory task of travailing in prayer. In over forty years of ministry, I have known precious few people who relish true, travailing prayer. But it is a divinely-ordained occupation. If we fail to agonize in prayer for victory over the world, the flesh and the devil, we will someday agonize because we did not.
Jeremiah 4:30 - "When thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? ...For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, ...saying, Woe is me now!"
Judah Sentenced To Serve Strangers In Another Land
Their prophets prophesied falsely, and "became wind." The people loved it. God told Jeremiah, "I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them." He warned that lions, wolves and leopards would spoil the land after a mighty, ancient nation "whose language thou knowest not" [Babylon] impoverished their cities.
Jeremiah 5:19 - "Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.
The Sins Of Judah Which Led To Captivity
Jeremiah assaulted Judah's sins and backslidings: Adulteries, whoredoms, chasing women, idolatry, false gods, not seeking truth or God's ways, swearing falsely, foolishness, wickedness, getting rich and fat through deceit, rebellious, denying punishment, refusing correction or to return to the LORD, treacherous against God, not grieved when stricken, not fearing of God, forsaking God, not executing judgment, trusting in their cities, laying wait, setting snares, trapping and catching men, ignoring fatherless and needy.
Jeremiah 5:29 - "Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?"
Be Thou Instructed, Lest I Make Thee Desolate
Even after God irrevocably determined to send Nebuchadnezzar to capture Jerusalem, He urged the people to flee in advance. "O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, ...for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction." It was God's last-ditch effort to save them. "Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate."
Jeremiah 6:10 - "To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? ...the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it."
Ask For The Old Paths
While you are praying, ask God to show you the old paths. The world hates the path of righteousness. It hates the ancient truth of God's word. It hates the people of God. But their way is NOT better. Walk in the old paths. It is the good way. You will find rest for your soul.
Jeremiah 6:16 - "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."
Gird Thee With Sackcloth, Make Thee Mourning
What better can a preacher do, than convince the people of their sins, and persuade them to repent? Yet some refuse to do just that. God denounced the false prophets and priests who deceived the people. "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed."
Jeremiah 6:26 - "O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, ...for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us."
Most people will not acknowledge that "God is angry with the wicked every day," (Psalm 7:11). Unrepented sin separates us from Him. It really cuts off our communications with God. The only prayer God really wants to hear from a sinner is repentance. Sincere repentance opens His heart and ears again.
Jeremiah 7:9,10 - "Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name?"
Shiloh - Go, See What I Did To It
God advised sinful Judah to go to Shiloh and learn a lesson about how He judges wickedness. Shiloh is where Eli the High Priest allowed his sons to misuse holy offerings and commit whoredoms in the tabernacle. Their evils were demoralizing Israel. God suddenly killed Hophni, Phinheas and Eli in one day, and the Ark of the Covenant was stolen. Learn from their mistakes.
Jeremiah 7:12 - "Go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel."
Cut Off Thine Hair; The LORD Hath Rejected Thee
Jeremiah said, "Cut off thine hair, ...cast it away." Cutting off a woman's hair, or plucking a man's beard, symbolized humiliation, shame, disgrace and reproach. God concluded them all in disgrace for their abominations.
Jeremiah 7:29-30 - "Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath. For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it."
Tophet Shall Be Called The Valley Of Slaughter
Judah made cakes to "the queen of heaven" and poured drink offerings to other false gods. Outrageously, they set idols in the house of the LORD, built evil altars in Tophet (valley of Hinnom), and burned their children in the fire. God's response was to prophesy the utter slaughter of those who were guilty.
Jeremiah 7:32 - "The days come, ...that it shall no more be called Tophet, ...but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place. And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven."
Scattering Judah's Bones To The Sun, Moon And Stars
By worshipping the sun, moon and stars, Judah exhausted God's longsuffering. In retaliation, God ordered the Babylonians to desecrate their graves.
Jeremiah 8:1 - "At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served."
The Stork, Turtle, Crane And Swallow Know Better
Deception is worse than a brain disease. When people reject His wisdom, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness," 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. Why did Judah perish? "They hold fast deceit, ...The wise men ...have rejected the word of the LORD."
Jeremiah 8:7 - "The stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD."
The Preacher's Heart Is Broken When People Resist
A preacher spends his entire life trying to save people from their sins. But when their hearts are of stone, and judgment cannot be averted, the preacher is the one whose heart is broken, whose cry cannot cease.
Jeremiah 8:18,20-22 - "When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. ...The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?"
Oh That My Eyes Were A Fountain Of Tears
Jeremiah's tears were of suffocating grief, after Judah finally provoked the fatal wrath of God. When someone you love has died, the tears are so painful. Weep now, while your prayers can make a difference.
Jeremiah 9:1 - "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men."
God has a big problem with liars. Some people are so corrupted, they would tell a lie even when the truth is more convenient. What is a lie, but a perversion of reality, a cancerous mental condition, a spiritual tumor that begs to be excised? All liars will have their part in the lake of fire.
Jeremiah 9:3,5 - "They bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; ...they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies."
Do Not Trust A Deceiver
I cannot understand why men engage in deception. The entire universe stands on truth. Nothing stands on deception. Everything built on deception falls. Society crumbles when men deceive one another. "Trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders." God hates deception. Stop the lies now. Stand up for truth.
Jeremiah 9:6 - "Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: ...Shall I not visit them for these things?"
Glory In The LORD
"Who is the wise man, that may understand this? ...I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them." Neither wisdom, might, nor riches compare with understanding the will of God. Your only glory is to understand Him.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 - "Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness."
The Counsel Of The LORD Shall Stand
Compare your wisdom to God's. Well, that's not a fair comparison. He is infinite. He has seen everything and knows everything. He has witnessed every act and thought of every man and woman who ever lived. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. We are finite, limited, inexperienced, ignorant and unlearned. Still, we trust ourselves, and don't trust HIM? That's illogical! "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand," Proverbs 19:21.
Jeremiah 10:23 - "...it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
Oh LORD, Correct Me
Jeremiah contemplated the gross vanities of the heathen, especially how they inexplicably made gods out of wood and silver and gold. He surmised that men were brutish [beastlike, carnal], and grievously foolish. He charged God's people, "Learn not the ways of the heathen." In frustration, he declared, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Man is nothing without divine correction and judgment.
Jeremiah 10:24 - "O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing."
I Will Bring Evil They Shall Not Be Able To Escape
Israel tragically ignored the enormous reality that their very existence came from the covenant God made with them in Egypt. In that covenant, God said, "If you will obey me, and keep my commandments, I will bring you into the land which floweth with milk and honey." But all those years later, they forgot where their prosperity came from and went whoring after other gods.
Jeremiah 11:11 - "Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them."
I began to pray for a man, but the Holy Spirit pressed me not to. I didn't know why at first, but soon learned that he had a long history of sternly resisting God. In most scriptural cases, the people grieved the Lord with persistent, hardened sins. God determined not to listen to prayers made in their behalf.
Jeremiah 11:14 - "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble."
God Had To Destroy His Green Olive Tree
Judah's idolatries sorely provoked God. "What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many?" Once, God called Judah "a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit." But their sins infuriated God. "With the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken." You may have once been a green tree in God's favor, but if you persist in your sins, He will destroy you.
Jeremiah 11:16-17 - "For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee."
The Men Of Anathoth
The men of Anathoth threatened Jeremiah, saying, "Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand." "I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me." Jeremiah prayed, "O LORD... let me see thy vengeance on them." Never threaten God's anointed.
Jeremiah 11:22-23 - "I will punish them: the young men shall die ...their sons and their daughters shall die ...there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth."
You may find yourself asking the same questions Jeremiah asked. "Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins." God may not explain why He allows the wicked to prosper, but your questions prove that you believe He knows why. And He does.
Jeremiah 12:1 "Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments."
Horses, Jordan, And The Last Days
The four horsemen of Zechariah 6 and Revelation 6
are four spirits traversing the earth, loosed in the last days near the Euphrates River for a cataclysmic "clash of civilizations" (Sixth Trumpet War, Revelation 9). Today, King Hussein of Jordan leads the call for these world powers to create a Palestinian State opposing Israel.
Jeremiah 12:5 - "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?"
Horsemen Will Come, Jordan Will Swell
Jeremiah was distressed by the apostasy he saw all around him. He sought God for understanding. "Why...? How long...? and many other questions. But God's response was sobering, even breath-taking. "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" When sin persists, things can only get worse.
Jeremiah 12:7 - "I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies."
The Lion And The Speckled Bird
God accused Judah of being like a lion in the forest, roaring threateningly against Him. He also compared them to a speckled bird of prey waiting to devour a fallen beast, while other birds compete against her. God's "heritage" had become hateful and bloodthirsty people.
Jeremiah 12:8-9 - "Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it. Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour."
My Vineyard, My Portion, Desolate, Mourneth Unto Me
It reminds me of Abel's innocent blood crying out to God from the ground. When God saw His holy land desolate like a wilderness, it mourned unto Him. His fierce anger rose up. He promised to pluck His people out of the land, then send the sword of the LORD to devour - "utterly pluck up and destroy" - His enemies from one end of the land to the other. Then He would re-plant His people. If God hears the land mourn, He surely hears your cry.
Jeremiah 12:11 - "They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me."
The Marred Girdle
God told Jeremiah to get a linen girdle, wear if for a while, then take it down to the Euphrates River and hide it in the hole of a rock. Later, God told him to go back and retrieve it. It was ruined, no longer useful. This object lesson demonstrated how God would punish Judah for their pride.
Jeremiah 13:10 - "This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing."
To The King And Queen: Judah Shall Be Carried Away
King Jehoiachin and his queen-mother bore the guilt for Judah's downfall. Kings must give account to God for their rule. Then, Nebuchadnezzar captured Judah. Next time, Antichrist will execute God's punishment.
Jeremiah 13:18-22 - "Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory. ...Judah shall be carried away captive all of it. ...where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? ...And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity."
Can The Leopard Change His Spots?
It is a sad day when Almighty God says to you, in effect, "You will never change. I am finished with you." A hardened heart is worse than death. Strive to keep your heart tender and pliable before God.
Jeremiah 13:23-24,27 - "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. ...Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?"
Because of their sins, the people were languishing. No water. No food. The fields were bare. Cattle were perishing. "The cry of Jerusalem is gone up." But it was an empty cry. Nobody but Jeremiah even tried to repent, and God rejected his intercession.
Jeremiah 14:10-12 - "Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence."
God Will Destroy False Prophets
I remember reading Jeremiah 14 when I was a small child. The LORD said, "The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination." I tremble when a man prophesies flippantly, "Thus saith the LORD..." He should be absolutely certain!
Jeremiah 14:15 - "Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed."
A Great Breach, A Very Grievous Blow
False prophets will certainly meet their doom, but not them alone. God says that He is going to pour out their wickedness on all the people who love to hear the false prophets. God told them to weep night and day, because "the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets" because of famine and sword.
Jeremiah 14:17,19 - "... for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow ...we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!"
Not Even Moses Or Samuel Could Dissuade God
The LORD told Jeremiah, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight." This is very terrifying. But it illustrates the fact that even people who have previously been effective intercessors do not necessarily carry more weight with God. God operates on divine principle. If you have finally sinned away your day of grace, it doesn't matter who tries to convince God otherwise.
Jeremiah 15:5-6 - "For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? ...I am weary with repenting."
Unbreakable Northern Iron And Steel
Jeremiah was nigh unto despair, trapped between the sins of the people and the judgments of God. The women would soon be widows and childless as God sentenced their men to Nebuchadnezzar's sword. Jeremiah had to obey God in pronouncing dreadful judgments, but he knew the people hated him for it. They cursed and threatened him. Nevertheless, the iron will of the people could not break the heavenly iron and steel in Jeremiah's soul. The strength of the righteous is greater than the strength of the wicked.
Jeremiah 15:12 - " Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?"
The Preacher Seeks Refuge
Jeremiah was feeling quite overwhelmed by the downfall of his nation. God made it clear that He was not going to change His mind about their overthrow by Nebuchadnezzar. In desperation, Jeremiah pleaded with God for his personal survival. "O LORD, ...remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke." Even if the whole world fails, you can still be saved!
Jeremiah 15:16 - "Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name."
Take The Precious From The Vile
God answered Jeremiah's personal plea for help with a challenge. "If thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them." Nothing is more effective than isolating the precious things of truth, righteousness, and holiness from all the contaminants of sin. God will be delighted.
Jeremiah 15:21 - "I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee."
The Unmarried And Childless Prophet
The word of the LORD told Jeremiah not to take a wife or to have sons or daughters. They would only die grievous deaths, and would neither be buried nor mourned. God took all peace, lovingkindness and mercies from the people, to provoke them to ask why the LORD pronounced all this great evil on them. Eventually, God will force every sinner to stand face to face with his sins.
Jeremiah 16:11 - "Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me."
I Will Send For Many Fishers; They Shall Fish Them
Just as God closed up shop in Jerusalem, and liquidated His apostate people from His holy land, He spoke intriguingly to the future, prophesying that "Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth." Then He added the strangest statement: "They shall fish them." How can you read that and not remember Jesus telling Peter, "I will make you to become fishers of men"? Ages ago, God knew the only way Israel would ever be saved is by the Gospel of Christ.
Jeremiah 16:16 - "I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them."
Unrepented Sins Will Never Be Forgiven
God told Judah that her pernicious sins "have kindled a fire in mine anger which shall burn forever." God will forever be angry that Judah turned their backs on Him and brought down the great nation that He wanted to bless. Future generations might find redemption in the blood of Jesus, but that generation's sins will never be blotted out, and never forgiven.
Jeremiah 17:1 - "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars."
A Heath In The Desert, Or A Tree By A River?
"Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and ...shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness." You can forsake God, and trust only human abilities, but you cannot escape divine destiny. Ultimately, you can ONLY prosper if you trust the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 - "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, ...neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
It is impossible for you or me to know someone else's heart. We cannot even know our own heart. It is deceitful. A man who pursues the riches of this world while ignoring God is like a partridge sitting on eggs that never hatch. Your heart can make you trust folly and doubt wisdom. Only God can accurately search your heart and "try your reins." He will give you what is right, according to what He finds in your heart.
Jeremiah 17:9 - "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah is the only Old Testament prophet who called Israel's leaders "pastors." They "transgressed against me," (2:8); "they have become brutish, and have not sought the LORD," (10:21); "destroyed my vineyard, ...trodden my portion underfoot," (12:10); "...scattered my flock, and driven them away, " (23:2). Jeremiah sensed his solemn responsibilities as a prophet-pastor.
Jeremiah 17:15-16 - "They say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: ...that which came out of my lips was right before thee."
Heal Me. Save Me.
"Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved." Jeremiah had no one but God. The people resisted his prophecies. "They say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now." The prophet reminded God of how diligently he attempted to follow the LORD, and speak what He required. A track-record of obedience goes well with earnest, expectant prayer. He WILL save!
Jeremiah 17:18 - "Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed."
Unclaimed, Expired Prophecies
There are literally hundreds of prophecies in the Bible that will never come to pass, because God's people did not meet the terms of the prophecies: curses that will not be fulfilled because they made amends; blessings that might have been if they had only repented. "Thus said the LORD unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, ...And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the LORD."
Jeremiah 17:23 - "But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction."
The Potter's House
God told Jeremiah to go to the potter's house, because He would speak to him there. So he went, and the potter "wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it." God can destroy everything you are, and start over.
Jeremiah 18:6 - "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? ...as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand."
It is the biggest little word in the English language: IF. It is also the biggest little word in the Bible. So many of the prophecies that God has ever uttered are contingent on that big little word: IF. Not, "IF GOD...," but "IF YOU..."
Jeremiah 18:8,10 - "If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. ...If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them."
Hearken To The Voice Of Them That Contend With Me
As soon as you take God's part, you inherit His enemies. Ask Jeremiah. They oppose you because they oppose Him. You can never overcome them alone, because they are not just flesh and blood adversaries, but principalities and powers - spiritual wickedness in high places. "Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah." When adversaries strengthen themselves against you, strengthen yourself in prayer. God will be there.
Jeremiah 18:19,23 - "Give heed to me, O LORD, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me, ...thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me."
Judah Was To Be Broken Like A Potter's Bottle
For the second time, God told Jeremiah to prophesy that Tophet (Valley of Hinnom)
would become "the valley of slaughter." "Get a potter's earthen bottle, ...go forth unto the valley of the son of Hinnom, ...break the bottle in the sight of the men." This pantomime foretold Judah's destruction by Nebuchadnezzar.
Jeremiah 19:11 - "Say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again: and they shall bury them in Tophet, till there be no place to bury."
People Resist God's Messenger To Their Own Hurt
Jeremiah stood in the court of the LORD's house and prophesied divine judgments on the people in the name of the LORD. When Pashur, chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesy these things, he smote Jeremiah and put him in stocks. When he was released the following day, Jeremiah prophesied again.
Jeremiah 20:6 - "And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies."
His Word Was As A Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones
Jeremiah complained bitterly to the LORD for the persecution he was suffering as a prophet of doom. "I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. ...I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me. ...Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name." Complaining to God will not release you from your responsibility.
Jeremiah 20:9 - "But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."
Let Me See Thy Vengeance On Them
The prophet had often prayed for his enemies, that they would repent and return to God. After years of persecution and rejection, however, he blessed the LORD, but cursed the day he was born. Then he asked the LORD to show him His vengeance on them.
Jeremiah 20:10,12 - "For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. ...All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him. ...O LORD of hosts, ...let me see thy vengeance on them."
Zedekiah Calls On Jeremiah To Pray
As the end drew near for Jerusalem and Judah, Zedekiah wanted Jeremiah the prophet to enquire of the LORD what the outcome would be. Jeremiah was not nice. He prophesied copiously against Zedekiah - that God would utterly foil his efforts to fight Nebuchadnezzar, and "I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, even in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath." Oh, don't wait too late to pray!
Jeremiah 21:7 - "And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah ...into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon."
Z for Zedekiah - The Last King In Ancient Israel
As Z is the last letter in the alphabet, Zedekiah was Israel's last king. The nation fell in 586 BC. Jeremiah was absolutely right.
Jeremiah 21:9-10 - "He that abideth in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence: but he that goeth out, and falleth to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he shall live, ...For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire."
Many Nations Shall Pass By This City
Millions of tourists from around the world visit Jerusalem every year, to see the ancient sites and rehearse the Bible stories. God said that would be the case.
Jeremiah 22:5, 8-9 - "If ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation. ...And many nations shall pass by this city, and they shall say every man to his neighbour, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this great city? Then they shall answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods."
Josiah - Shallum - Jehoiakim - Jehoiachin - Zedekiah
Josiah, the last righteous king, died in 609 BC. His evil son, Jehoahaz (Shallum), ruled only three months before being taken to Egypt and murdered - as prophesied. His brother, Eliakim (Jehoiakim), ruled eleven years under Egyptian tribute. He died when Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem. His uncle, Jehoiachin (Jeconiah), ruled three months before he was taken to Babylon. Finally, Zedekiah resisted the Babylonian siege for eleven years, until Judah was utterly destroyed in 586 BC.
Jeremiah 22:11 - "Thus saith the LORD touching Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, ...he shall die in the place whither they have led him captive."
The Prophesied Death Of Jehoiakim
It makes no sense when a righteous man's son becomes extremely evil. Josiah was one of Judah's most righteous kings, but his son, Jehoiakim, was vain, selfish, and wickedly unjust. God said, "thine eyes and thine heart are not but for thy covetousness, and for to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and for violence." God sentenced him to death without a proper burial - no one knows where.
Jeremiah 22:18-19 - "Thus saith the LORD... They shall not lament for him, ...He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem."
Hear The Word Of The LORD
Many Old Testament books open similarly, "The word of the Lord came to..." [whoever]. God's word came to many men either audibly or in visions: Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Balaam, Joshua, Samuel, Saul, Nathan, Gad, David, Solomon, Shemaiah, Jeroboam, Jehu, Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, Jonah, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Cyrus, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zerubbabel, Zechariah, Malachi, John the Baptist, Peter, Paul. The world would be completely righteous if
everyone would hear the word of the Lord.
Jeremiah 22:29 - "O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD."
Jehoiachim (Jeconiah) Cut Out Of Messianic Line
King Josiah's grandson, Jehoiachim (also called Jeconiah, or Coniah) was removed from the Messianic line because of his sins! "As I live, saith the LORD, though Coniah ...were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; ...I will cast thee out." Coniah's descendants (including Jesus' step-father, Joseph) were denied kingship. God abandoned Solomon's descendants. Through David's son, Nathan, Mary descended, passing kingship to Jesus.
Jeremiah 22:30 - "Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, ...for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah."
Woe To Pastors That Scatter The Flock
If you are a leader, beware! "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. ...Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings." God vowed to feed them with wormwood and gall (bitterness). You will be replaced. God will find someone right for the job.
Jeremiah 23:4 - "I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD."
The Righteous Branch Of David
David's life was awfully tainted by personal sins. His sons' lives were fraught with shameful and evil behavior. Solomon scarcely inherited the throne, and in later life, gravely reproached it. Nevertheless, God immortalized David's diligent efforts to please his God by promising to raise up a righteous branch to his posterity. Messiah would descend from him -- a King of Kings, and Savior for all mankind.
Jeremiah 23:5 - "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth."
Prayerlessness - Like A Canary In A Coal Mine
In the old days, coal miners carried a canary in a cage with them, down into the mines. The canary was a sign to them. If the canary died, it was a signal that toxic gases might be present, and they needed to quickly escape. Prayerlessness is like that. Any time you notice that nobody around you is praying, you should find another place, because death is in the midst.
Jeremiah 23:22 - "But if they had stood in my counsel, ...then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings."
I Have Heard What The Prophets Said
You do not have to be praying for God to be listening. He hears EVERYTHING you say. God condemned the false prophets. "I have not sent these prophets, ...I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied." "I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed." Using your tongue to prophesy without divine unction can land you in BIG trouble with God.
Jeremiah 23:26,31 - "They are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;...I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith."
The Burden Of The LORD
God demands that His burden (His strong desire) should never be misrepresented. If a prophet has a dream or a word from the LORD, he should accurately represent it. But God is adamantly opposed to anyone who presumes to declare the burden of the LORD inaccurately. This is a real indictment against many of the so-called prophetic ministries that are illegitimate.
Jeremiah 23:38-40 - "Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD; ...I will ...cast you out of my presence."
Two Baskets Of Figs
The LORD showed Jeremiah a vision of two baskets of figs sitting in front of the Temple, after Nebuchadnezzar began taking Judah away to Babylon. One basket contained good figs, and it represented the Jews who cooperated with their captors. God promised to bring them again to Jerusalem after the captivity was over. The other basket contained "naughty" figs - evil, because they resisted God's punishments.
Jeremiah 24:10 - "And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers."
Seventy Years Of Captivity Prophesied
The captivity of the Jews under Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon is one of the most significant prophecies in the Bible. Daniel 4-5 documents its fulfillment.
Jeremiah 25:11-13 - "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations, ...all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied."
Jeremiah Prophesies Global Calamity At Armageddon
The LORD showed Jeremiah a time far beyond the Babylonian captivity when He would finally bring every evil nation to judgment. He foresaw Jesus Christ destroying the grapes of wrath at the Battle of Armageddon.
Jeremiah 25:29-30,33 - "I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. ...The LORD shall roar from on high, ...as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. ...And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth."
They Should Have Prayed, And Not Threatened Murder
When Jeremiah prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, "the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die." But the princes of the city argued that King Hezekiah did not kill the prophet Micah when he prophesied similarly. Instead, Hezekiah "besought the LORD." Resisting God is always futile. Prayer is always a better solution.
Jeremiah 26:19 - "Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them?"
Some Live, Some Die For The Cause
There was another prophet, named Urijah, saying the same things that Jeremiah was saying. King Jehoiakim wanted him killed, so Urijah fled to Egypt. Unfortunately, the king sent men to Egypt to bring him back. Jehoiakim personally killed the prophet with a sword, and had his body cast into a commoners' grave. God oversees a unique plan for every man. Urijah had to die. Jeremiah had to live.
Jeremiah 26:24 - "Nevertheless the hand of Ahikam the son of Shaphan was with Jeremiah, that they should not give him into the hand of the people to put him to death."
God Made The Earth, And Gives It To Whom He Pleases
God instructed Jeremiah to send messengers to all the neighboring kings to deliver a word from the LORD. He informed them that changes were coming. To this very day, kings and nations fail to recognize (to their own hurt) that the destiny of all men is carefully in the hand of God.
Jeremiah 27:5 - "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; ...I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me."
The Yoke Of Babylon
God often instructed Jeremiah to use pantomime. This time, He told him to make several yokes, and send them by messengers to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Zidon, and Zedekiah of Judah. The messengers conveyed a message from the LORD. Every nation is under His control.
Jeremiah 27:6-8 - "I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, ...and all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son's son, ...that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar ...will I punish, ...until I have consumed them."
Cooperate With Your Captors
Jeremiah instructed every king in the region to cooperate with Nebuchadnezzar, for in doing so, God would guarantee their safety. But if they resisted Nebuchadnezzar, they would surely die. He also gave this word to his own king, Zedekiah. Jesus taught a similar principle in His day: "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest [he] deliver thee to the judge, ...and thou be cast into prison," Matthew 5:25.
Jeremiah 27:9 - "Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live."
False Prophets Should Pass A Prayer Test
False prophets told the people that the vessels of the temple would quickly be brought back from Babylon, although Jeremiah had prophesied "seventy years." "They shall be carried to Babylon, and there shall they be until the day that I visit them, saith the LORD." Jeremiah challenged them to a prayer test to prove they actually had power with God.
Jeremiah 27:18 - "If they be prophets, and if the word of the LORD be with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left ...at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon."
Hananiah - Jeremiah's Vicious Adversary
Hananiah defied Jeremiah in the temple. "Thus speaketh the LORD, ...I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon." He prophesied the soon return of the temple vessels and Jehoiakim. Jeremiah argued that time would prove the true prophet. Hananiah grabbed the yoke Jeremiah wore, and broke it, prophesying that Nebuchadnezzar's yoke would break in two years. God told Jeremiah to make new yokes of iron to depict Babylon's hard yoke. Jeremiah told Hananiah:
Jeremiah 28:16-17 - "This year thou shalt die, because thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD. So Hananiah the prophet died the same year."
After 70 Years, I Will Turn Your Captivity
Jeremiah wrote a letter to the captives in Babylon - the kings, queen, priests, prophets, eunuchs, princes, carpenters, smiths, and all the other people who were taken in the days of Kings Jeconiah and Zedekiah. He admonished them to build houses, plant gardens, marry wives, bear children, raise families, and seek the peace of Babylon. If they would obey, God promised to bring them back home.
Jeremiah 29:10 - "For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place."
I Know The Thoughts I Think Toward You
NEVER think that God does not want to hear your prayers. Even while in Babylonian captivity, God told His people that He WANTED a right relationship with them! He WANTED them to pray!
Jeremiah 29:11-13 - "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart."
The Process of Prayer
Prayer is a process with many components: praise, worship, adoration, thanksgiving, confession, contrition, repentance, supplication, intercession, and more. Which component can you afford to neglect? Some people go weeks, months, even years without "covering all the bases." Yet they spend hundreds of hours watching television, chatting on the phone, surfing the internet, and less worthy pastimes. Uninhibited prayer is an extremely worthy activity. We owe it to ourselves to pray.
Jeremiah 29:12 - "Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you."
Three Men Cursed - Ahab, Zedekiah, And Shemaiah
Two men, Ahab and Zedekiah, committed villainy and adulteries, and prophesied lies to the people. Jeremiah prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would "slay them before your eyes," AND that their names would become a curse: "The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire." Similarly, a man named Shemaiah overthrew Jehoiada the priest, and tried to imprison Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 29:32 - "Thus saith the LORD; ...I will punish Shemaiah... he shall not have a man to dwell among this people; ...neither shall he behold the good that I will do for my people."
Ordinarily, the word "travail" speaks of the pain and agony of childbirth. In Israel's case, they were so ensnared by their sins, their punishment and subsequent deliverance was like an agonizing travail. To a Christian, overcoming the world, the flesh and the devil can sometimes be enormously painful. But a new life cannot be had without travail!
Jeremiah 30:6 - "Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?"
The First Prophecy Concerning "Jacob's Trouble"
Both Jeremiah and Daniel prophesied "Jacob's trouble," the last and worst trial Israel will ever face. We also call it "The Great Tribulation." Messiah will save them from it.
Jeremiah 30:7-9 - "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him."
David Will Rule Under Christ In The Millennium
This is one of my favorite prophecies in the Bible. David will reign as a king in Israel, and as a prince under Jesus Christ (King of Kings) during the Millennium. "I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them," Ezekiel 34:24. "Their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me."
Jeremiah 30:9 - "They shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them."
The Voice Of Them That Make Merry
Joy springs from hope. Hopeless people have no joy. People who have hope have joy. When God promises good things to us, hope is renewed, and we rejoice.
Jeremiah 30:18-19 - "Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few."
A Great Whirlwind
Together, Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied five times of a coming whirlwind. The term refers to the fury of the Battle of Armageddon. Armies from all nations will clash with Jesus Christ at His coming - like a whirlwind!
Jeremiah 30:23-24 - "Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it."
I Have Loved Thee With An Everlasting Love
In 3000 years of volatile history, Israel both served and spurned the LORD. The chosen nation experienced countless upheavals; blessings and cursings; prosperity and failure. Repeatedly, they provoked God's fury, incurring His wrath. But in the end, Israel will be saved. Nothing but an everlasting divine love can explain that.
Jeremiah 31:3 - "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. ...I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them,
and make them rejoice from their sorrow. ...and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD."
God often spoke to His people about their return from Babylon captivity. "They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: ...He that scattered Israel will gather him." But the way home needed guide-posts - waymarks. I think waymarks can be compared to the ancient landmarks. They are the old ways, the old righteous paths that were once the stuff of our joy. Let us bring back the waymarks.
Jeremiah 31:21 - "Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, ...O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities."
A New Covenant
Israel breached their ancient Covenant with God irreparably. By its terms, God vowed to scatter them from His land. It finally happened. But mercifully, God vowed to make a new, spiritual covenant, writing His law in their hearts. It began on the Day of Pentecost.
Jeremiah 31:31 - "The days come, ...that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, ...Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, ...But ...I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."
God first revealed His interest in Jerusalem when He sent Abraham to Mount Moriah. God also sent an angel to meet King David there, and told Him to buy the place where they stood. Then God sealed His promise when Solomon dedicated the Temple. As long as time shall be, Jerusalem is the LORD's. NOBODY will EVER change that!
Jeremiah 31:38-40 - "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the city shall be built to the LORD, ...[it] shall be holy unto the LORD; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever."
Praying To Make Sure You Did The Right Thing
Jeremiah prophesied the destruction and the 70-year captivity of Judah, but he also prophesied their return from Babylon, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. God told Jeremiah that his uncle, Hanameel, would come to sell his property to Jeremiah. He instructed him to buy it. Jeremiah, in great faith, bought the land. Then he prayed, asking God if He would surely bring them back to the land.
Jeremiah 32: 27, 37-38 - "I am the LORD, ...is there any thing too hard for me? ...I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely."
Call Unto Me
Angelita's brother and his family came to church for the first time. Their little daughter was legally blind. "Please pray for her," she requested. The guest minister invited them to come forward for prayer. As they came, the Holy Spirit spoke and said, "I am Jehovah Rapha, the Lord that healeth. Tonight I will heal you." Immediately, the young child cried, "I can see!" Within days, her doctor confirmed the dramatic miracle. She could see excellently.
Jeremiah 33:3 - "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things."
The Voice Of Joy, Gladness And Praise Shall Return
Jeremiah was in prison when the word of the LORD came to him. God reiterated that Judah could not escape His judgments in Babylon, but He promised again that He would eventually bring them health and cure, "...and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth, ...cause the captivity to return, and ...pardon all their iniquities."
Jeremiah 33:9,11 - "Again there shall be heard in this place, ...The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, ...the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever."
Divine Covenants Cannot Be Broken
The Old Testament Covenant did not fail. Israel failed. God sent them to Babylon because the terms of the Covenant promised their dispersion. Other divine Covenants still stand. They will be fulfilled in the Millennium.
Jeremiah 33:20-21 - "Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers."
Just Obey God. Don't Renege. Don't Revert Back.
Jeremiah prophesied to King Zedekiah that Nebuchadnezzar would take him to Babylon, but would not kill him. Realizing that Judah was genuinely being overthrown, Zedekiah ordered the people to free all slaves and servants to fend for themselves. The Jews released their slaves, but quickly had a change of heart and made them return. That further angered God, and He heaped more judgments on them.
Jeremiah 34:20,22 - "I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life: and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation."
God ordered Jeremiah to call the Rechabites to a temple chamber and give them wine to drink. Jeremiah prepared wine pots and cups, saying "Drink ye wine." But they utterly refused. Their forefathers had commanded them never to drink wine, never build permanent houses, nor plant permanent crops. The Rechabites faithfully obeyed. The LORD told Jeremiah to reprimand the men of Judah. "They obeyed their fathers, but you will not obey ME!"
Jeremiah 35:19 - "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever."
It May Be They Will Present Their Supplication
The LORD told Jeremiah to write all his prophecies in a book. Jeremiah dictated his book to a scribe named Baruch, then sent Baruch into the temple to read it out loud to the people on a feast day while there was a crowd in attendance. The supreme purpose of God's written word is to call us back to Him. If you have read the Bible, but have not yet repented, you have missed the point!
Jeremiah 36:7 - "It may be they will present their supplication before the LORD, and will return every one from his evil way."
Jeremiah Prophesies The End Of Jehoiakim's Line
Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, read the book of prophecies to the king's princes, and they were frightened. They instructed Michaiah to read the scroll to King Jehoiakim, who cut up the book with a penknife, threw it into the fireplace, and called for Jeremiah and Baruch. But the LORD hid them, and Jeremiah prophesied against Jehoiakim.
Jeremiah 36:29-32 - "Thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost."
Some People Want Prayer, But Will Not Listen To God
Zedekiah was the last king of Judah. Nobody in Judah would hear the word of the LORD from Jeremiah. Ironically, the king sent men to Jeremiah, asking him to pray for them. But Jeremiah had only bad news. The Egyptians, who had come to help Zedekiah, would return to Egypt, and the Chaldeans (Babylonians) would take the people and burn the city. People always want the prophet to prophesy good things, even when they are completely evil.
Jeremiah 37:9 - "Thus saith the LORD; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart."
Jeremiah - Man Who Refused To Change His Message
Nobody could make Jeremiah change his message. "Though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans, ....and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up... and burn this city with fire." A captain raised up false charges against Jeremiah, which put him in prison many days.
Jeremiah 37:17 - "Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took him out: and the king asked him secretly in his house, and said, Is there any word from the LORD? And Jeremiah said, There is: for, said he, thou shalt be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon."
Take A Stand - Pay The Price
From the earliest days of his ministry, Jeremiah faced threats on his life for his unpopular preaching. After a while, he found himself in and out of jail. Even the king wanted him silenced. But by the grace of God, he survived all their attempts. If you take a stand, you have to be ready to pay a price. God will help you.
Jeremiah 37:21 - "Then Zedekiah the king commanded that they should commit Jeremiah into the court of the prison, and that they should give him daily a piece of bread out of the bakers' street."
The Princes Of Judah Wanted To Kill Jeremiah
Jeremiah prophesied extensively that God would save Judah if they surrendered to seventy years captivity under Nebuchadnezzar. But if they resisted, God would cause Nebuchadnezzar to utterly destroy them. "Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: ...this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt." You can kill the prophet, but you cannot change the word of the LORD.
Jeremiah 38:6 - "Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon ...And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire."
Whatever You Have To Endure, Just Do It!
Whether you are Jeremiah or John Doe, the will of God will take you through unbelievable adversities. King Zedekiah permitted Jeremiah's adversaries to throw him into a lifeless dungeon, bogged in mire with no food. He nearly died. Suddenly, the king's eunuch, Ebedmelech, interceded, and Zedekiah had him lifted out. Just as suddenly, Jeremiah was standing, counseling the king. Whatever you have to endure, just do it!
Jeremiah 38:14 - "Then Zedekiah the king sent, and took Jeremiah the prophet unto him ...and the king said unto Jeremiah, I will ask thee a thing; hide nothing from me."
Zedekiah Rejected Prophecy, But It Came To Pass
Straight from the miry dungeon, Jeremiah stood fearfully, face-to-face with King Zedekiah, who sought his counsel. "Wilt thou not surely put me to death? and if I give thee counsel, wilt thou not hearken unto me?" Zedekiah swore not to hurt him. As often before, Jeremiah advised the king to cooperate with Nebuchadnezzar. If he resisted him, Judah would be destroyed. Zedekiah rejected that counsel, and Jeremiah saw it come to pass.
Jeremiah 38:28 - "So Jeremiah abode in the court of the prison until the day that Jerusalem was taken: and he was there when Jerusalem was taken."
Nebuzaradan - The Man Who Burned Solomon's Temple
Few people recognize his name, but he should be infamous. He burned down Solomon's Temple and Palace. He carried away the majority of the Jews to Babylon. Miraculously, Nebuzaradan also delivered Jeremiah from prison. Nebuzaradan recognized a capable Jewish leader named Gedaliah, and made him governor of the sparsely populated land of Judah. He gave the vineyards and fields to the remaining poor, to tend to and live off of it.
Jeremiah 39:13-14 - "Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard sent, ...and took Jeremiah out of the court of the prison, and committed him unto Gedaliah."
God Favors An Intercessor
The Babylonians dealt the fatal blow to Jerusalem. The men of war fled. Zedekiah stood before Nebuchadnezzar and watched as his sons and nobles were killed. Then they put out his eyes. But the eunuch who interceded for Jeremiah, saving him from the miry dungeon, received a miraculous deliverance from the LORD. God favors intercessors!
Jeremiah 39:17-18 - "Thou shalt not be given into the hand of the men of whom thou art afraid. For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, ...because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD."
The Babylonian Guard Recognized Prophecy Fulfilled
Nebuzaradan was taking Jewish captives from Ramah to Babylon. Jeremiah was among them, in chains. Nebuzaradan told Jeremiah, "The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. ...because ye have sinned against the LORD." He apparently knew Jeremiah had prophesied it. He removed his chains, and promised to treat Jeremiah well if he came to Babylon, but told him he could stay if he wished.
Jeremiah 40:4-5 - "I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. ...So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go."
Wise Counsel Is Worth Repeating
Nebuzaradan appointed a great Jew, Gedaliah, as governor of Judea. That encouraged the remnant who fled to quickly return. Jeremiah joined with Gedaliah. All along, Jeremiah had admonished everyone to cooperate with Nebuchadnezzar. His was not only prophetic, it was wise counsel, and Gedaliah repeated it.
Jeremiah 40:9 - "Gedaliah ...sware unto them ...Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you, ...gather ye wine, and summer fruits, and oil, and put them in your vessels, and dwell in your cities that ye have taken."
Major Threat Is Past; Beware Minor Threats!
With Gedaliah as the newly-appointed Governor of Judah, the Jews who had been in hiding quickly returned, and began to prosper in the vineyards and fields. Johanan came to Gedaliah to warn him that trouble was brewing among the Ammonites. "The king of the Ammonites hath sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to slay thee." Johanan asked permission to slay Ishmael, but Gedaliah refused. Sometimes, we think our only threat is the BIG enemies. Satan will exploit your naiveté. Be watchful!
Jeremiah 40:16 - "Gedaliah ...said unto Johanan, ...Thou shalt not do this thing: for thou speakest falsely of Ishmael."
Ishmael Kills Gedaliah; Johanan Defends Judah
Just as hope sprang up in the hearts of the remnant of Judah, the Ammonite king persuaded Ishmael, son of Nethaniah of David's seed royal, to kill their governor, Gedaliah. Ishmael killed Gedaliah, his men of war at Mizpah, and eighty more men. Then, he kidnapped the women of Mizpah. But Johanan raised an energetic counter-attack against him, and rescued all the hostages. Ishmael fled back to the land of Ammon. Even if you just faced the greatest trial of your life, you have to keep fighting.
Jeremiah 41:17 - "They departed, and dwelt ...by Bethlehem."
The Remnant Ask Jeremiah To Pray For Them
After the Babylonians left, the remnant of Jews saw that opposition from a few rebels threatened to destroy them. They all appeared before Jeremiah and said, "Pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; ...That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do." Good move. Earnest prayer should always be your first action. Jeremiah agreed to pray. They promised to obey.
Jeremiah 42:5-6 - "Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD."
God Promised Blessing In Judah, Cursing In Egypt
The people asked Jeremiah to pray for them, so Jeremiah prayed. Ten days later, the LORD answered. He promised to build them up if they stayed in Judah, but they would all die by sword, or famine, or pestilence if they fled to Egypt.
Jeremiah 42:13-14,18 - "If ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God, ...Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, ...so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt."
A Dishonest Prayer Will Only Bring Trouble
Jeremiah told Judah, "Ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD, ...all that the LORD our God shall say, ...we will do it." They "dissembled;" gave a false, misleading, hypocritical, camouflaged statement to God. They would not obey the LORD, and He knew it the moment they said it. You can never pull off a scam with God. He knows your phony heart the moment you have it.
Jeremiah 42:22 - "Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die ...in the place whither ye desire to go."
Why Pray, If You Will Not Heed The Answer?
The people of Judah promised they would do whatever the LORD told them if Jeremiah would pray. But they reneged. You will never win like that.
Jeremiah 43:1-4 - "When Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, ...then spake Azariah ... and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there. ...So Johanan ...and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah."
Johanan Betrays Jeremiah, Takes Remnant To Egypt
Johanan was the hero who defeated Ishmael, who tried to overthrow the remnant of Judah. Johanan recaptured every hostage Ishmael had taken. But Johanan wanted everybody to flee to Egypt. He hated the word of the LORD from Jeremiah, forbidding them to flee to Egypt. Johanan and his crowd accused Jeremiah of delivering Judah to the Chaldeans to die. You should be TERRIFIED of wanting your will more than God's will.
Jeremiah 43:5,7 - "Johanan ...took all the remnant of Judah, ...So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD."
Egypt Will Be Like Stones In A Brick Kiln
Almost everybody hated Jeremiah's prophecies, but it did not stop them from coming to pass. When the remnant of Judah fled to Egypt against God's orders, God told Jeremiah to hide stones inside of clay in a brick kiln at the entrance of Pharaoh's house. He prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would come and smite Egypt, and capture and kill with sword and with fire.
Jeremiah 43:12 - "And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, ...and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire."
Why Commit This Great Evil Against Your Soul?
When people do wrong things, they often do not believe they are doing wrong. The remnant of Judah saw their brethren horrifically judged, and taken captive to Babylon. Nevertheless, they justified their own sins with "logical" arguments. But sin is just as evil for one man as it is another. None of our "reasons" will stop the judgment of God. If you sin against God, you do so at the peril of your eternal soul.
Jeremiah 44:7 - "Therefore now thus saith the LORD, ...Wherefore commit ye this great evil against your souls, ...to leave you none to remain?"
Evil Spirits Will Encourage Your Defiance
The rebellious Jews immediately committed idolatries and worshipped Egypt's false gods. Jeremiah argued that God made their brethren desolate for committing such abominations in Judah. Jeremiah prophesied that these Jews would be utterly consumed in Egypt. Their reply was shocking! They boasted that since they began burning incense and making offerings to the queen of heaven, they had marvelously prospered, and when they halted, they "wanted all things." Satan powerfully deludes multitudes with prosperity.
Jeremiah 44:16 - "As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee."
The Abominable "Queen Of Heaven"
God's people went to Egypt and worshipped and burned incense to "The Queen of Heaven." Today, one billion Catholics burn incense to "The Queen of Heaven," - "The Blessed Virgin Mary."
Jeremiah 44:17 - "We will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil."
Jeremiah Curses Worshippers of "Queen Of Heaven"
God's people had just broken their vows to Jehovah, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In Egypt, they made new vows to the "Queen of Heaven." "We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her."
Jeremiah 44:26-29 - "Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, ...all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, ...that ye may know that my words shall surely stand against you for evil."
Baruch - Jeremiah's Scribe
Baruch transcribed Jeremiah's prophecies, but they terrified him. He reacted, "Woe is me! The LORD has added grief to my sorrow!" But Jeremiah prophesied, " ...The LORD saith, ...that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up." Being a mouth-piece for God can overwhelm a man with its seriousness. But God will reward that man for obeying.
Jeremiah 45:5 - "Seekest thou great things for thyself? seek them not: for, behold, I will bring evil upon all flesh, ...but thy life will I give unto thee for a prey."
Crying Without Praying
More than two dozen times, Jeremiah spoke of the cries of people facing the judgments of God. They are the cries of pain, anguish and agony in dreadful circumstances that accompany divine punishment. Why would they not simultaneously utter a PRAYER for mercy to the God of heaven? But prayerlessness is, from the beginning, a rudimentary cause for their judgment. A righteous prayer could have alleviated their cry.
Jeremiah 46:12 - "The nations have heard of thy shame, and thy cry hath filled the land: for the mighty man hath stumbled against the mighty, and they are fallen both together."
Jeremiah Prophesies Judgments Upon Egypt
Jeremiah published prophecies against the Gentiles, beginning with Egypt. The guiding principle of these prophecies is that wherever the Jews go to be punished, whether Babylon or Egypt, God will eventually deliver the Jews, and eventually punish their oppressors. God used Babylon and Egypt to punish backsliding Judah, but at last, Egypt and Babylon were still idolatrous enemies of God.
Jeremiah 46:25 - "The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him."
God Will Correct His People In Measure
I am always amazed at God's counter-offers. Almost every time God rages against His people, He also points to the door of mercy. Regardless of how furious God becomes, He is not willing that any should perish. The Righteous Judge will have mercy!
Jeremiah 46:27-28 - "Fear not thou, ...O Israel, ...I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. ...I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure."
God Judges The Philistines At Gaza And Ashkelon
Gaza and Ashkelon are infamous coastal towns near the Egyptian border, homeland of the Philistines, and source of so very much of Israel's grief for many centuries. The word of the LORD by Jeremiah prophesied their ruin by Nebuchadnezzar and his horses and chariots.
Jeremiah 47:6-7 - "O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still. How can it be quiet, seeing the LORD hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the sea shore? there hath he appointed it."
God Will Judge False-god Worshippers In Cruel Mockery
Moab worshipped Chemosh, and held Israel in derision - a laughing-stock and mockery. But God will have ALL false-god-worshippers in divine derision and mockery in the end. "For the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God," (Exodus 34:14).
Jeremiah 48:26-27,35,39 - "Moab ...shall be in derision. For was not Israel a derision unto thee? ...I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the LORD, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to his gods. ...so shall Moab be a derision and a dismaying to all them about him."
The Calamity Of Moab
The history of Moab is fraught with wickedness, beginning with an incestuous birth. The Moabite king hired the prophet Balaam to curse Israel. Moabite women enticed Israel with adulteries and idolatries (Numbers 25). Moab warred with Kings Saul and David. Moabite women brought their false god Chemosh into Solomon's household. God punished Moab with Babylonian captivity.
Jeremiah 48:46-47 - "Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, ...Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab."
Amman, Jordan - The Ammonites
All these prophets cursed the Ammonites [now known as Amman, Jordan]: Jahaziel, Nehemiah, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos, and Zephaniah. Some of the calamities they prophesied were fulfilled in ancient days, but others will be finalized when Jesus comes at Armageddon. King Abdullah, who now rules in Amman, Jordan, is the primary Arab voice who demands that Israel give up much of the Holy Land to create a Palestinian State. Do you think anyone can survive who tries to steal God's Promised Land?
Jeremiah 49:1 - "Concerning the Ammonites, ...the days come, saith the LORD, ...it shall be a desolate heap."
Prophecies About Edom's Extinction
The descendants of Esau, Jacob's twin brother, were known as the Edomites. Edom, or Idumea, was the land south of Israel, primarily in the Negev Desert and south of the Red Sea. The Edomites were hostile to Israel, and warred with them often. The prophets had nothing good to say about Edom. According to the prophecies, the Edomites became extinct following the Babylonian captivity.
Jeremiah 49:7,13,17 - "Concerning Edom, thus saith the LORD of hosts; ...all the cities thereof shall be perpetual wastes. ...Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished."
Prophecies About Damascus
Jewish historian, Josephus, claimed that "Abraham reigned at Damascus, ...but after a long time, he got him up and removed from that country, ...and went into the land then called the land of Canaan." In centuries to follow, Damascus conducted many wars against the descendants of Abraham. Damascus fell to Nebuchadnezzar in 572BC, then to the Persians under Cyrus in 538BC.
Jeremiah 49:23-24,26 - "Damascus is waxed feeble, ...fear hath seized on her: ...her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts."
God's Throne In Elam (Babylon)
At the temple dedication, God told Solomon, "Now have I chosen and sanctified this house, ...and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. ...But if ye turn away, ...this house, ...will I cast out of my sight." Isaiah saw God's throne in the temple (6:1). When Israel went into Babylonian captivity, Ezekiel saw the throne leave the temple toward the east (10:1-18). God told Jeremiah that He would rule from Elam for a while.
Jeremiah 49:38 - "I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the LORD."
When God Turns Your Captivity
God judged evil nations in two devastating ways. In some cases, God utterly destroyed them, as He did at Sodom and Gomorrah. In other cases, He punished them, sending them into captivity. Then, after a while, He promised to "turn your captivity," or "bring again your captivity. Such was the case in ancient times for Israel, Moab, Ammon, Elam, and even Egypt. In the end, however, all enemies will go the way of Sodom.
Jeremiah 49:39 - "It shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD."
Publish The News Of What God Is Doing
The big news of the day was that Babylon had overthrown Jerusalem and taken Judah captive. But God had another, more important announcement. He would send the Medes and Persians and overthrow Babylon! Let no man err. God IS ALWAYS in control!
Jeremiah 50:2 - "Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces. For out of the north there cometh up a nation against her, which shall make her land desolate."
They Will Seek The LORD After Their Punishment
Although the LORD sentenced His people to seventy years in Babylon, He promised they would return home. God would send Medo-Persians to overthrow Babylon, and Israel would again seek the LORD.
Jeremiah 50:4 - "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten."
The Lost Sheep Of Israel
Here is one of the most powerful and profound allegories in the Bible. God called Israel His "lost sheep." From the time Israel was cast out of the Promised Land, until Jesus Christ establishes His earthly kingdom, Israel is indisputably displaced and "lost." Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." He instructed His disciples, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, ...But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Jeremiah 50:6 - "My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray."
The Punisher Must Be Punished
How often in world history has Almighty God drafted a heathen nation to punish His own chosen people? He drafted Assyrians to remove the ten northern tribes of Israel. Then He drafted Babylonians to remove the remaining tribes of Benjamin and Judah in Jeremiah's day. But there is mysterious irony in His workings. After they have punished God's people, they too will be punished - "Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage."
Jeremiah 50:15 - "...for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her."
God Will Bring Israel Back Home And Pardon Them
God punished Assyria and Babylon for punishing Israel. "First the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones. Therefore thus saith the LORD, ...I will punish the king of Babylon ...as I have punished the king of Assyria. And I will bring Israel again to his habitation." Messiah will then pardon their sins.
Jeremiah 50:20 - "In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; ...they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve."
Cyrus And The Medes
Once Judah had endured its seventy-year captivity, God ordained the Medes, under Cyrus, to violently overthrow Babylon. In Jeremiah 51, the Medes are referred to as a destroying wind, fanners (as winnowing or threshing a harvest), an invasion of caterpillars, and spoilers. Babylon could not possibly stand.
Jeremiah 51:1-2,14,53 - "Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, ...a destroying wind; ...and will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: ...I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; ...from me shall spoilers come unto her."
Israel - My Battle Axe
God hated the brutish idols of Babylon. "They are vanity, the work of errors: ...they shall perish. The portion of Jacob [the LORD] is not like them; ...Israel is the rod of his inheritance." Under Messiah, Israel - His "battle axe," "the rod of His inheritance," will conquer all nations at Armageddon.
Jeremiah 51:20,24 - "Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms. ...I will render unto Babylon ...all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD."
Our Rock Is Greater Than All The World's Mountains
In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a statue representing the kingdoms of men. He saw a rock, hewn out of a mountain, representing Messiah, come and crush the statue - crushing all the kingdoms of men. The rock became a great "mountain," a kingdom throughout the whole earth. Jeremiah affirmed that Babylon, the great "destroying mountain" would be totally destroyed. Our Rock is greater than all the world's mountains.
Jeremiah 51:26 - "They shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD."
Babylon Will Die Drunk!
In Daniel 5, Belshazzar, king of Babylon, made a great feast to a thousand of his lords. He and his princes profanely drank wine in golden vessels from the temple of God at Jerusalem. Suddenly, God wrote their death sentence on the wall. Jeremiah's prophecy from years earlier was perfectly fulfilled.
Jeremiah 51:39,57 - "I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD. ...I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men."
Throw The Book Into The River
Over the years, Jeremiah dictated to Baruch and Seraiah an entire book of prophecies. He instructed Seraiah to read it when he got to Babylon, and remember that the LORD foretold these desolations. Jeremiah told him to throw the book into the river to symbolize the disappearance of Babylon.
Jeremiah 51:63-64 - "When thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her."
Prophecies Really Do Come True
Jeremiah recounted the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the kingdom of Israel. King Jehoichin was taken to Babylon in the first stage of Nebuchadnezzar's siege. Zedekiah, the last king, was evil, and rebelled against Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem, slew its leaders, burned the temple, palace and houses, broke down the walls, and carried thousands of residents to Babylon. Years later, in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar's son, Evil-Merodach, mercifully released Jehoichin from prison.
Jeremiah 52:3 - "Through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence."