THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
The Point of No Return
EVENTUALLY WILLFUL SIN WILL BRING ITS FINAL VERDICT OF JUDGMENT
God brings a drought 1-4
14:1 A message came to Jeremiah from God concerning some droughts that overtook Judah. These were a punishment for covenant violation in Israel (Lev. 26:18-19; Deut. 28:23-24).
14:2 Judah was in mourning. Her cities were languishing, as when their gates sagged on their hinges. The people sat on the ground as an expression of their humbled condition crying out for relief.
14:3 The servants who had gone to draw water returned to their master’s empty handed. The cisterns, which collected rainwater in the cities, were dry and their servants covered their heads in anguish.
14:4 The farmers likewise felt humiliated by the lack of rain. The drought had cracked their land open and had made normal farming impossible. Notice ‘no water;’ v 3; ‘No rain’ v 4.
Application: They have come to the cisterns and found no water.... the ground is cracked, for there has been no rain on the land. Evidently droughts coincided with the Babylonian invasions from the north. God said they rejected Him ‘the fountain of living waters’ for these cisterns, idols. Now they experience physically what they were doing spiritually in going to the idols, empty cisterns.
The drought takes a toll 5-6
14:5 There was so little grass available that even the does, that normally took good care of their newborn fawns, deserted them to find grass to keep themselves alive.
14:6 Even the wild donkeys, known for their hardiness, could only stand and sniff the wind on the hills, finding nothing to eat. They panted, their eyes grew dim as they started to die. Notice no ‘grass’ ‘veg’.
A plea for God to deliver 7-9
14:7 Jeremiah admitted that their iniquities, apostasies, and sins had been great. These terms for sin are all words that indicate breach of covenant. But he pled for God to do something for the people for His own reputation's sake, as a God of mercy, if not for theirs.
14:8-9 Why doesn’t God stop the drought? He is their hope and Savior isn’t he? He’s acting like either (1) He doesn’t care like a stranger in the land or traveler who is passing through, v 8 or (2) He is powerless to do anything like a mighty man who cannot save v 9. They plead, do not forsake us!
God charges them with guilt 10-12
14:10-12 Their confession was superficial. They could not change their ways v 10. They claimed God as their Lord, but God said, they have loved to wander; they have not kept their feet in check. Therefore, the Lord does not accept them; now He will remember their iniquity and call their sins to account.
This was unacceptable behavior, and He would punish them for their sins. God again told Jeremiah, who was a genuine follower of God, do not pray for the welfare of this people v 11. They tried to manipulate God with their fasting and burnt offerings v 12, but God will not be bought off. Judgment will come by sword, famine, and pestilence.
Judgment is on its way 13-16
14:13-16 Jeremiah interrupted God by reminding Him that it was the false prophets who were telling the people that they would not see the sword nor famine, but they will have peace v 13. Jeremiah suggested that the people were not totally responsible for their behavior. The false prophets had misled them by promising them lasting peace and prosperity. He hinted that perhaps the Lord Himself was partially responsible since His prophets were misleading the people. God replied, the prophets are prophesying falsehood in My Name the Lord had not sent those prophets v 14. Their prophecies were their own concoctions, not messages from Him. They had misread the covenant badly if they had concluded that disobedience would not bring inevitable punishment. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them. They are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility, the deception [to convince yourself of something that is not true] of their own minds. Prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them because the false prophets had denied the coming warfare and accompanying famine, they would die in it meet their end v 15. This would be the proof that the Lord had not sent them and that they had been false all along! And the people who listened to them will also perish because of the famine and the sword. God shall pour out their own wickedness on them v 16. The people to whom the false prophets had given their fake promises would also die in the streets. So many of them would die in fact that there would not be enough people left alive to bury all the dead. This would be God's judgment on the people for their wickedness: many unburied corpses.
Application: Today, there are many who claim to have a word from God, through visions and dreams. It’s a dangerous thing to say anyone has a word from God, when God neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them. The Bible is enough. We have too much there to even know in a lifetime. We do not need more messages from God until we master what he has already revealed. Next time just say, ‘wait, I can’t hear any new messages from God, I’m not even practicing the stuff he has already given.’
NO AMOUNT OF PLEADING WILL CHANGE THE GUILTY VERDICT
Lament for all the loss of life 17-18
14:17-18 Jeremiah’s eyes flow down with tears night and day over the slaying of the judgment v 17. Like a virgin daughter, Judah had experienced a major tragedy. She had suffered a devastating assault and had incurred a severe injury. The countryside is filled with those slain by the sword v 18. The cities are filled with the diseases of famine! Wherever Jeremiah went he saw dead corpses and people about to die from famine and its related diseases. Even the prophets and priests, who knew the land well, were wandering around in it as though they were in a foreign country.
PT: We need to despair of our sin, broken by its outcome and shamed enough to confess, repent and turn away from it. Sin is the only thing that breaks our fellowship with God. Don’t be cavalier.
Confession of guilt 19-20
14:19 Jeremiah asked the Lord Has Thou completely rejected Judah or hast Thou loathed Zion? Why had he dealt Judah a fatal blow? When the people called on Him to send peace and healing, all He sent was silence and terror.
14:20 Again (v 7-9) they admit their wickedness, iniquity, and we have sinned against you. The prophet acknowledged that he and his people had sinned like their forefathers they were not saying that they were sinless. He implied that this confession merited some mercy.
PT: It is good and proper to name your sins to God. Identify each one and name and claim it. Say exactly what it is. Lord, I lied, cheated, jealous, promiscuous, lustful, sensual, enraged, revenge!
Hope only in God’s mercy 21-22
14:21 Jeremiah asked God to help them based on God’s character (1) for Thine own name’s sake, (2) do not disgrace the throne of Thy glory, and (3) do not annul Thy covenant with us. Jeremiah begged God for the sake of God’s reputation and honor not to abandon His people, not to break His covenant with them. Of course, God never breaks His covenants even though people do. If he allowed calamity to touch his people or Jerusalem and its temple, this could be disgraceful. Besides, he had a covenant with the people which obligates Him to deliver them from their enemies. Wow! They are quick to remind God of His obligations to them, but they fail to remember their own obligations to Him.
14:22 They finally admit, are there any among the idols...who give rain or the heavens grant showers? No. Is it not Thou, O lord our God? God was the only source of rain, not the idols or the astral deities, so Jeremiah's hope was in Him. Yes. God is the one who has done all these things. God brings the drought and the rain. God brings the sword and peace. He does it all! He had brought calamity, and He alone could bring blessing.
1. The nature of sin is such that it cannot help itself but to destroy everything in its path. We should never believe that a sinful strategy will bring good results. It can only deliver harm, rebuke and guilt. You might think that spending more than you earn is a way to get ahead or living together is financially advantageous or being vindictive is the way t protect yourself. Each God says violates his character.
2. Why would we ever think its better living life doing damage control. Its exhausting. Its chaotic. Its punishing. Sinful choices create more baggage and it can get heavy. Repent everyday. Do not choose the desires of your sin nature. Deny yourself its pleasures. Choose the good of your new nature Decide!