A STUDY OF THE BOOK OR JEREMIAH
Jeremiah 12-13 SCC 11/20/16
THE RIGHTEOUS STRENGTHEN THEMSELVES TO PERSEVERE IN HARDSHIP
12:1-6: Jeremiah acknowledges righteous are You, O Lord, but he lodges the complaint anyway v 1. Why has the way of the wicked prospered when God was angry with their sin? Why are the treacherous at ease? God has planted them, they have also taken root; they grow, they have even produced fruit v 2. Yet God is near to their lips but far from their mind. Don’t you notice this and if so why no action? In contrast, Jeremiah says that God knows him, sees him, and does examine my heart’s attitude toward You v 3. You know the accusations against me are false, the death threats! So Jeremiah wants God to drag them off like sheep for the slaughter! God had sent a famine on the land causing the vegetation of the countryside to wither v 4. Even the land is suffering because of the wicked. Yet even in this difficult time, the wicked seemed to do better than the righteous. Rather than repent, they had claimed that God will not see our latter ending so no restraining influence to stop them sinning.
God gives two metaphors in response to Jeremiah’s question:
1. If run with footmen [now] and tired you out, then how can you compete with horses [the future] v 5? 2. If you fall down in a land of peace [now], how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan [future]? If you think this is bad, then just wait. If Jeremiah thought the current drought situation in his life and land was hard, how was he going to hold up when the Babylonians invaded and things really heated up?
Even Jeremiahs own family dealt treacherously with you v 6. They must have joined the men of Jeremiah’s hometown Anathoth (11:21). So God told Jeremiah, do not believe them, although they may say nice things to you. Outward they were nice to him, but really they were against him. Don’t be deceived by those close to you just because they are close to you. You may think, “Jonny’s family and friends deceive him,” while thinking your family and friends don’t do that to you. Why do you think that? Because they are your family. Bad reason!
Application: Paul learned to rejoice, be content, not be anxious in whatever circumstances I am (Philippians 4:4-20). Whatever is in your life today, use it to learn and grow because tomorrow may be worse. If you get tired, lose faith, or are anxious, about today, what will you do if it gets really bad? Jeremiah was complaining about surviving today, and God said, how will you survive when the Babylonians invade and it gets really difficult?
DEEP PERSISTENT UNREPENTANT SIN MAKES ONE AN OBJECT OF GODS HATRED
12:7-13: This includes his own people: In v 7 God mourned that He had forsaken the nation and abandoned His people to their captors. In v 8 Judah had become like a lion roaring in defiance against God and God came to hate her. Judah became like a speckled bird of prey, a mutated bird, surrounded by the other birds against her on every side ... to devour v 9. God is bringing the other nations against her. Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard—the priests and false prophets have ruined Judah v 10-11. The sword of the Lord is coming to devour one end of the land to the other v 12. Everything they have done to prosper had become a failure because of God’s fierce anger v 13.
PT: God mourned, I have forsaken My house [the Temple]; I have abandoned My inheritance [the Land]; I have given the beloved of My soul [the people of Judah] into the hand of her enemies’ v 7. This was not from a hardened heart of a mean king. Judah was God’s beloved. But Judah became like a lion...she has roared against Me with Baal worship. Therefore, I have come to hate her.
Application: This tells us a lot about God. God came to hate His own beloved people because they, like a lion, roared against God. Paul wrote, “Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be!” (Romans 6:1-2). John wrote, “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). Paul also wrote about an immoral man among the Corinthian believers, “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Corinthians 5:13). Just because you are a professing believer doesn’t mean you can shake your fist at God and His commandments. Don’t live your life in such a way that God comes to hate you!
12:14-17 This includes the surrounding nations: Here is God’s promise of compassion and restoration for the surrounding nations that attacked and uprooted Israel. Thus says the Lord concerning all My wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance they uprooted Israel and Judah from its land v 14. God will uproot His people from their land into exile and then return her to her own land (Prophecy of the Millennial Kingdom) v 15. Then the nations who learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name will survive, but if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation ... and destroy it v 16-17. Here is an extraordinary window into the compassion of the Lord; peace and prosperity for those nations who learn and respond to the ways of the Lord. However, if they would not respond to the Lord positively, the Lord promised to destroy these nations again. All of this is prophetic of the millennium.
WHILE JUDGMENT IS INEVITABLE ONE CAN STILL CHOOSE TO REPENT
The linen waistband 13:1-11
13:1-7: The Lord instructed Jeremiah to purchase a linen waistband; to wear it without first washing it v 1-2. Sometime later, God told him to Take the waistband...which is around your waist, ...go to Parah (a town close by) and hide it there in a crevice of the rock v 4-5. Then after many days, God told Jeremiah to go get the waistband that was buried the waistband was ruined, it was totally worthless v 6-7.
13:8-11: God interpreted Jeremiah’s symbolic actions. The message was one of judgment, I will destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem… this wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts v 8-10. Obviously, the purpose of the waistband is it clings to the waist of a man v 11. So God made Israel and Judah to cling to Me, declares the Lord. Just as Jeremiah’s waistband was taken off and ruined, so Israel and Judah were taken off God and ruined. God made them that they may be for Me a people, ...but they did not listen.
Application: You may think that because you feel close or are friends with God, or that you’re tight with God as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, that you can take liberties with God and He will be okay with that. Instead, God warns he will destroy the pride…of those…who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts who did not listen. They are totally worthless to Him. Our attitude is often that God is here for us. It’s the opposite, we’re here for God.
The wine and wineskins 13:12-14
13:12-14: The second visual of full wine jars. This parable stressed the destructive effects of God’s judgment coming on the people of Judah because of their self-indulgence and complacency. He told the people that every jug is to be filled with wine v 12. The people scoff; this was obvious. Then God said that the people were like these jugs, and God is going to fill them with drunkenness and then I will dash them against each other...I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion v 13-14. Another illustration of the coming judgment. The judgment is such that they will smash each other violently colliding and shattered in a drunken stupor. So devastating God will show no mercy at all.
A final plea and warning and lament 13:15-19
13:15-17: Jeremiah tells the people listen…do not be haughty v 15. Repent, turn to God, before the darkness of judgment comes v 16. But if you will not listen...Jeremiah’s soul will sob in secret for such pride and the flock of the Lord will be taken captive v 17. Even the king and queen mother will be brought low v 18. They would be taken captive, the entire nation with no hope of escape v 19.
Application: In spite of all the many examples of consequences we observe in life, we still ignore them, until eventually there is no room left for lessons, only punishment. Then we are wholly carried into exile. Ignoring God, punishment becomes inevitable and unavoidable.
13:20-27: Jerusalem is incurably wicked. Jeremiah asks, Can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin or the leopard change his spots v 20-23? Neither can those accustomed to doing evil do good. Therefore, I will scatter them like drifting straw to the desert wind...because you have forgotten Me and trusted in falsehood v 24-25. Their lewd behavior sealed their fate behaving like adulterers and like copulating horse’s v 26-27 with no self control nor decency.
1. There is just no way to ignore God and assume there’s no consequences. Many feel free to discount God but God says that can’t happen without facing me in judgment.
2. While there is real loss for ignoring God that cannot be recovered, its possible to still repent and start a walk with God from where one is at in life then. Replace pride with humility and listen to God.