A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH

Donít Ignore the Warnings

Jeremiah 24-25 SCC 2/19/17

 

WE CAN CHOOSE TO BE USEFUL TO GOD OR USELESSLY DISCARDED BY GOD

Verse 1 After Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jechoniah...king of Judah, and the officials of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths from Jerusalem and had brought them to Babylon (2 Kings 24:8-16). This was sometime in 597 B.C. at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah. God showed Jeremiah two baskets of figs set before the Temple of the Lord, in Jerusalem.

Verses 2-3 One basket had very good figs, like the first-ripe figs. These would be the first fruits that were to be offered to God in the Feast of First fruits in a basket at the Temple (Deuteronomy 26:2). (I have Agnusí fig preserve recipe)

Application: Itís hard to imagine now because we can get fresh fruit and vegetables year-round. But remember the joy of the very first strawberry of the season, the first watermelon, the first ear of corn. They were the best tasting because they were the first. Thatís what was to be given to God, the first and the best.

The other basket had very bad figs, which could not be eaten due to rottenness v 2. Emphasizing this corruption, rottenness is repeated three times. These would represent an offering that was unacceptable to God. Malachi 1:6-9 describes a similar scene where the people gave lame and blind animals as sacrifices to God. And God told them to try to pay their taxes with those animals. Would the government accept them? No. Yet they wanted God to accept them. Then God asks Jeremiah what he sees, and he describes the two baskets with good and bad figs due to rottenness v 3.

Verses 4-7 The good figs are the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans v 5. This is a surprising answer because the people believed that those sent into exile were those taken away from the Lord (Ezekiel 11:14-15). Men like Daniel and Ezekiel. But God has set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land v 6. They (the exiles) will come back to the land of Israel. I will give them a heart to know Me, ...they will be My people and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart v 7. Although there were a small number of people who did return to the land, and some whose heart was devoted to God, like Nehemiah and Ezra, this is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom, when all Jews will return to the land with a heart devoted to God (31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:24-32; Matthew 24:29-31).

Verses 8-10 The bad figs represent King Zedekiah (2 Chronicles 36:10-13), whom Nebuchadnezzar made king in place of Jechoniah, and the other survivors in the land, including those who fled to Egypt v 8. These people God will make them a terror...evil...reproach...a proverb...a taunt...a curse...I [God] will scatter them v 9. I [God] will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence upon them until they are destroyed from the land which I gave to them and their forefathers v 10.

Application: Making judgments according to manís values will result in the opposite conclusion to Godís values. For example, men think good works will get them to God. The Bible says manís righteousness (good works) are as filthy rags to God. Man says to work on your self-esteem. God says to deny yourself. Ignoring the mind of God leads to a path of uselessness. Nothing God can do with you.

 

WE ARE USELESS TO GOD WHEN WE REFUSE TO LISTEN TO GOD OR OBEY GOD

Warning about uselessness 1-8

Verses 1-2 the word [of the Lord] that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah. When? In the fourth year of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) v 1. In 605 B.C., when Jeremiah is 42 years old. Jeremiah has been prophesying for twenty three years, from the 13th year of Josiah v 2. So far his ministry has spanned the reign of three kings: Josiah, Jehoahaz, and now Jehoiakim.

Verses 3-8 God has given them plenty of time to respond and repent v 3. Jeremiah has spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. Not only the prophet Jeremiah, but also the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets again and again, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear v 4. The message: Repent, turn now everyone from his evil way v 5. Do not go after other gods to serve them and to worship them. Do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands v 6. If they would have responded positively to this message, then God would do you no harm. But, you have not listened to Me, declares the Lord v 7. They provoke Lord to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. Because you have not obeyed My words v 8

Application: Consequences are the results of our own actions, no matter who or what else we blame. Our choices can jeopardize us spiritually. A relationship with God is unmanageable when one ignores Him, His Word, and He is not listened to or obeyed.

Judgement because of uselessness 9-29

Verses 9-11 I will send Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land...and I will utterly destroy them v 9. Nebuchadnezzar is Godís servant in the sense that God is using him to accomplish Godís purpose. The voice of joy will be gone from the land (no voice of joy, gladness, bridegroom, bride, millstones or light) v 10. Each of these represent vitality and prosperity. Instead the whole land shall be a desolation and horror v 11.

These nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years [605-536 B.C.]. God had decreed that every 7th year the land was to lie fallow, to have a ďSabbath restĒ (Leviticus 25:3-5). The people were not to sow their fields or prune their vineyards. If the people would fail to follow this command, God would remove them from the Land to enforce this Sabbath rest (Leviticus 26:33-35). The seventy year Babylonian Captivity promised by Jeremiah allowed the land to enjoy its Sabbath rest (2 Chron 36:20-21). Therefore, the Captivity lasted seventy years because this was the number of Sabbath rests that had not been observed for the Land (one year in captivity for every 7th year when the land did not rest would mean they did not practice this law for 490 years [490 divided by 7=70]).

Verses 12-14 ThenÖ when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, declares the Lord, for their iniquity. ...I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the work of their hands v 12. This is the consequence of ignoring Godís will. I will bring upon that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied against all the nations v 13. This is material in chapters 50-51, which

evidently was written about the same time as chapter 25 v 14. Here is a description of Judahís final end when King Zedekiah is marched to King Neb to be blinded.

Verses 15-29 God pictures His wrath as a cup of the wine of wrath from My hand (same as Jesus did in the garden). Jeremiah was to take the cup and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it v 15. Judgment starts with Jerusalem and Judah v 18, then spreads south to Egypt v 20, west to the coast v 20, east and Northeast v 21, north v 22, far east to Arabia v 25 and on to Babylon v 26, all the nations surrounding Judah at that time.

Verses 27-29 God says to the nations, Drink, be drunk, vomit, fall, and rise no more because of the sword which I will send among you v 27. They have no option v 28. God says, I am beginning to work calamity in this city which is called by My name (Jerusalem) v 29. If Godís city does not escape His punishment, then certainly the other nations will not escape His punishment. In fact, I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth, declares the Lord of hosts v 29.

Gods judgment sweeps all the useless

Verses 30-38 Jeremiah continued the theme of Godís judgment on the nations. The Lord will roar from on high v 30, like a lion over its prey. God will shout... against all the inhabitants of the earth. ...He is entering into judgment with all flesh v 31. Why? Evil is going forth from nation to nation v 32. So God, like a great storm, is going forth. No one will escape, not even those from the remotest parts of the earth. Those slain by the Lord on that day shall be from one end of the earth to the other v 33. Their corpses shall be like dung, lying everywhere, in the same way that Judahís dead had remained unburied. All thatís left it to wail v 34, no escape v 35, cry v 36. Why? B/c of Gods fierce anger v 37-38.

Application: It takes an awful lot for Gods fierce anger to be worked up. There must be unimaginable provocation for this to happen. It takes place selectively and is usually associated with either deliberately willful sin or prolonged disobedience. Here its prolonged, yet you have not listened to me declares the Lord in order that you might provoke me to anger, because you have not obeyed My words v 7-8.

      Avoid uselessness at all costs. Beef up listening to Gods Word. Heed. Apply. Obey. Conform.

      Uselessness is a waste of life. Since our destiny is eternal its senseless to not prepare for that.

      No one gets away with a useless life. If no eternal investment, then eternal divestment.