Those entrusted with the care of God’s people had not been doing their jobs.
👉 The shepherds had (v 1-2):
- scattered the flock
- driven away the flock
- had not tended the flock
👉 The [false] prophets had (v 11-21):
- acted ungodly
- prophesied by false gods
- led God’s people astray
- committed adultery
- walked in lies
- strengthened the hands of evil
- spread ungodliness
- filled the people with vain hope
- spoke their own words, not God’s
- were not sent by God
👉 But God… (v 23-24)
- was close at hand
- was not far away
- saw all
- filled the heavens and the earth
And God promised to raise up a righteous branch for the people who would (v 5-6):
- reign as king
- deal wisely
- execute justice and righteousness
- save Judah
- make Israel secure
- would be called “The Lord is our righteousness”
God saw his people and he was going to take action.
When those entrusted with the task of leading, caring for, and cherishing His children failed to do it – he knew.
👉 Sometimes, we just need a reminder that God sees.
Whatever you are experiencing – he sees it.
Betrayal or brokenness.
Disappointment or discouragement.
Loss or loneliness.
Fear or failure.
Weary hearts or worried minds.
Your God is close at hand and his eye is on you.
Happy February, friends.
👉 The Lord made it clear what was expected of the leaders of Judah (v 1-3).
- do justice
- do righteousness
- deliver those wronged
- do no wrong or violence
- do not shed innocent blood
Do justice. Do righteousness.
We see these specific commands all throughout scripture – Old Testament and New Testament. It’s a good reminder that we are to live out what we know to be right.
Not just think it – but do the thing.
Not sit passively by – but do the thing.
Not just post our opinions – but do. the. thing.
👉 King Josiah (v 15-16)
- king of justice and righteousness
- cared for the poor and needy
In other words, he did exactly what the Lord told him to do.
Then, there were two of Josiah’s sons.
Shallum (v 17)
- eyes and heart for dishonest gain
- shedding innocent blood
- practicing oppression and violence
Jehoiakim (v 21)
- in prosperity, would not listen to the voice of the Lord
- disobedient since his youth
👉 As a result of their disobedience – the people will be given into the hand of their enemy (v 25).
And though it doesn’t sound like it now – the Lord has good things planned for his people. He will meet them in their exile and remind them of who he is – and of who they are to him.
And don’t we all need a reminder of who we are in Christ? Of how the Lord sees us?
I’m getting ahead of myself; we aren’t there yet.
But – if you want a sneak peek…
How does the Lord describe the behavior of Israel in Jeremiah 3:6?
What does the Lord call Israel in Jeremiah 31:4, 21?
Think on that for a bit.
You are loved and you are all things beautiful to your heavenly Father.
This is a short chapter but something really important is about to happen.
👉 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is waging war on Judah. King Zedekiah of Judah sends men to ask Jeremiah if the Lord is going to fight on their behalf.
Have you ever asked a question and then regretted it? Yeah, me too.
The Lord responds by telling them that, not only would he not fight on their behalf, he himself would fight against them.
Well, that’s unfortunate.
👉 The Lord is sending them into exile; he is giving them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
They are given two scenarios.
- They leave the city, surrender and be taken into exile.
- They remain in the city and die by the sword of their enemy.
👉 The real choice here is accepting or rejecting the discipline of the Lord.
The people had been rebellious, unfaithful, and wicked. But – in this exile – though painful – was a chance for restoration.
We will see in chapter 31 that the people who “survived the sword” – those who accepted the discipline of the Lord – “found grace in the wilderness.”
Even in exile – the Lord was there.
You are loved.
👉 Jeremiah gave God’s words to God’s people and it was not well received (v 1-2).
Pashur (a priest and chief officer in the house of the Lord):
- heard Jeremiah’s prophecy
- beat Jeremiah
- put Jeremiah in stocks
👉 Jeremiah went through all the emotions:
- felt deceived by the Lord (v 7)
- felt overpowered by the Lord (v 7)
- was laughed at and mocked by the people (v 7)
- his faithfulness to the Lord resulted in reproach and derision (v 8 )
- yet he could not stop himself from speaking of the Lord (v 9)
- his closest friends wished him harm (v 10)
- he believed the Lord was with him and would protect him (v 11)
- he wanted to see the Lord’s vengeance on his behalf (v 12)
- he questioned his very existence (v 14-18)
👉 There is something comforting – reassuring – about hearing Jeremiah’s words. His “Why” echoing in our ears. He obeyed and “all” his close friends turned on him.
It’s a reminder that we – as Christ followers – are promised peace but not popularity.
But – though all turned away – Jeremiah knew that God was with him.
Fighting on his behalf like a warrior (v 11).
Don’t you love that image?
Stay the course, friend.
Though the world mock you. And those closest to you hurl their insults. When you walk alone.
Walk on. Head held high. Eye on the prize. Following Christ every step of the way. The Lord is with you – like a mighty warrior.
Live like you’re loved.
👉 The Lord tells Jeremiah to:
- buy a potter’s vessel
- gather civil/religious leaders
- stand at the gate
- proclaim the words of the Lord
- break the vessel
👉 The people have:
- forsaken me
- profaned this place
- made offerings to other gods
- filled the place with the blood of innocents
- built high places of Baal
- offered sons as sacrifices
👉 The Lord is bringing disaster because the people have:
- stiffened their necks
- refused to hear the word of the Lord
The people just refused to hear the word of the Lord. And what we will see in upcoming chapters is that there were false prophets teaching things contrary to the word of the Lord.
We will see two specific false prophets punished severely for causing the people to “trust in a lie.”
What lies have we been trusting in, friends?
The world is constantly tickling our ears with empty words and false promises. How can we recognize the lies?
We must be so in God’s Word – so in tune with his voice – that anything contrary to it is glaringly obvious.
You are loved.