A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
No Chance for Mercy
Jeremiah 15 12/11/16 SCC
THE INEVITABLE RESULT OF SINFUL WAYS IS DEATH DEALING CONSEQUENCES
15:1 The Lord told Jeremiah that even if two of Israel's most effective intercessors stood before Him and pleaded for the people they would not change His mind about bringing judgment. Moses had been effective in getting God to change His plans when Israel had been unfaithful (Ex 32; Num. 14; Deut. 9). Samuel had also obtained God's mercy for Israel when she had sinned greatly (1 Sam. 7; 12). But these ‘defense attorneys’ would prove ineffective and the Lord would drive the guilty from His presence.
15:2 If the people asked where they should go now, Jeremiah was to tell them that they would each go to their appointed judgment: death, the sword, famine, or captivity—the consequences of military invasion. Quite the choices. Its all your left with when sin has its way.
15:3 The Lord would assign four destroyers of His people: human warriors, dogs, birds, and beasts. These would be His agents in carrying out His sentence. The prospect of dying without burial or being devoured by animals was horrible! This is a brutal outcome for sure.
15:4 All the kingdoms of the earth would look on Judah's fate with horror. This judgment would come because of all the sins that wicked King Manasseh had introduced and revived in Jerusalem and throughout Judah (2 Kings 21:10-15; 23:26; 24:3). Manasseh was the most syncretistic of all the Davidic kings. This was especially deplorable since Manasseh was the son of one of Judah's godliest kings, Hezekiah. The wickedness that Manasseh was responsible for so saturated life in Judah, even after he died, that it was impossible to remove. He was so evil and polluted the land with so many idols (even putting idols in the Temple of God and making his son pass through fire). He shed innocent blood.
Application: Even though Manasseh repented at the end of his life, he was still the most wicked king. Becoming a believer does not erase the consequences of a life of sin. (1) Nothing could erase all the terrible atrocities Manasseh had done before the LORD led him to repentance. (2) Yet no matter how wicked a man may be, he can always turn back to the LORD for forgiveness and grace. And Manasseh did that, so even this wicked king was forgiven and redeemed in the sight of God (2 Chr 33).
WHAT SIN CONCEIVES IS TERRIBLY PAINFUL, COSTLY, AND HUMILIATING
15:5 God asked Jerusalem, who will have pity on you? ‘mourn for you’, turn aside for you?’. God was the only one who ever cared for her! You love someone who has no interest in you. That hurts! That hurts God too. Noone else loved Judah but God. Yet they dis the only one who ever cared for them.
15:6 The city had forsaken God. It had regressed rather than advanced morally, spiritually. The Lord promised to destroy her with His own power. He was tired of returning to people who implored Him not to leave them. He was weary of waiting to judge people who had grown weary of repenting.
15:7 He would also scatter the people of the outlying towns, as a farmer winnows his grain by throwing it up to the wind that blows the chaff away. Children would die because God's people did not repent. Former winnowing’s, like the exile of 722 B.C. had not brought repentance. The gates of the land either refer to the cities or are the approaches to the land (its outlets and inlets) where the people would die.
15:8 So many young men of military age would die that the land would be full of widows who would mourn the deaths of their sons. This judgment would constitute a setback in the promise to multiply Abraham's descendants as the sand of the sea. It would be sudden anguish and dismay!
15:9 The woman who with posterity of seven sons, has all hope in the world, would become so sad that she could hardly breathe. Her sunshine disappeared at noon instead of evening with the death(s) of her son(s) no heirs to comfort in her old age. The swords of the enemy would also devour many survivors of earlier invasions. This seems to indicate that at least one invasion of Jerusalem already (2 Kings 24).
Application: Sin is anything contrary to the character of God. God himself is the definition of ‘good’. So the character of God is good. The fact God exists makes perversion of his character possible. That perversion is the definition of sin. It’s described as ‘forsaking God’, ‘going backwards’ of which they ‘did not repent’. The outcome was Gods hand ‘stretched out against you’, ‘I will destroy My people’, ‘I will bring against them’ ‘she will be ashamed and humiliated’. If you think you can ever get away with your sin, you are mistaken. The only thing you will ever regret in heaven is your sin and unbelief. It will cost you terribly and there is no way to recover. James says, ‘when lust has conceived it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished it brings forth death.’
The primary reason we sin is it gives us pleasure or it relieves pain. As sinful pleasure becomes habitual and addictive it does so by telling you two lies: (1) it tells you it will satisfy a ‘need’. (2) it convinces you that you cannot live without it. Most believers do not make it to maturity because they love sin too much. With a new nature it orients us toward joy found in God’s character rather than violating it. So the war is on with two competing sources the new and old.
FORSAKING SIN PLACES ONE SQUARELY AGAINST PREVAILING OPINIONS
15:10-11 Jeremiah addressed his mother and mourned that she had borne him v 10. Jeremiah complained that, although he had neither lent nor borrowed things, which could cause tensions and conflicts, yet everyone curses me. The Lord told Jeremiah he would set him free (of his own frustrations) so that he would be a force for good in the coming national crisis v 11. I know you can’t see it now.
15:12-13 Can anyone smash iron with their bare hands v 12? The enemy from the north would be impossible to defeat, as strong as iron or bronze. Neither will anyone be able to stop the Babylonians attacking Judah and bringing your wealth and your treasures as war booty back to Babylon because of her sin of forsaking God (v 6), not repenting of their ways (v 7), v 13.
15:14 Her sins provoked God’s anger like a fire...it will burn upon you. The enemy would indeed carry off all of Judah's wealth to a distant land they were unfamiliar with, because God’s angry with them.
15:15 Jeremiah prays to God to remember me, take notice of me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors (me, me, me) and to punish his persecutors. He prayed that the Lord not allow him to die because he had endured reproach for the Lord's sake. Apparently, the attacks threatened his life.
15:16 When the priests discovered God's Word in the temple during Josiah's reign (2 Kings 22:13; 23:2), Jeremiah had consumed it. With a deep appreciation for God's Word even before that event Jeremiah began to relish God's Word, it had become his delight and a joy to his soul. Eat Gods Word!
15:17 Jeremiah had not spent much time with the people who disregarded God's messages to repent. Rather, he felt indignation at their hard hearts and separated from them alone. Their attitude repulsed him. He felt under divine constraint. Jeremiah felt that he had become a social leper as a result.
NB: You may often deny yourself ‘merrymaking’, indulging in some sin, being under the worldly influence in some way and wonder why? It will be because Gods hand is upon you, His desires for you, that you will sit alone. Choosing to be the social outcast, in the family or office or peer group or society at large, will cause you to have to stand alone. You will often be alone when choosing godliness.
15:18 The prophet asked God why his broken heart refused to heal, his pain perpetual, his wound incurable. The Lord promised refreshment but this had not been Jeremiah's personal experience. God seemed like an unreliable stream bed. The prophet found himself in conflict with his people because of the message of judgment he proclaimed to them. He was at conflict with his God because he considered it unjust that he should suffer as a result of proclaiming God's message. So he complained about it.
Application: If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (1 C15:19). We give up the pleasures (the “merrymakers”) of this world. It costs to follow Christ. You may be tempted to pity yourself or complain to God because you are alienated from friend or family. This is a battleground now. We have to fite the good fite by denying ourselves not pitying ourselves. Eternal!
GOD STRENGTHENS THOSE WHO CHOOSE HIS WAYS OVER THAT OF THE WORLD
15:19-21 (1) If you return, then I will restore you, before Me you will stand v 19. Jeremiah needed to repent of his doubt and self-pity and return to God. Jeremiah had been calling the people to repent, but he needed to repent of self-pitying attitude. Perhaps God was telling prophet that he had been over concerned about what people thought and said when his one concern was God's word to proclaim it.
Application: Paul said, “If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10). Don’t forget it is God before whom we stand, not man (1 Cor 4:4; 2 Cor 5:10). Choose!
(2) If you extract the precious [words] from the worthless [words] v 19. The people had believed the false prophets’ words instead of believing Jeremiah’s words from God.
Application: Discernment is very important. You’re making life choices based on your discernment of what is true. One area today where there is a great lack of discernment is in accepting paraphrases, such as “The Message,” as being the Word of God and following Christian “fad” books.
(3) They...may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them v 19. If someone was to move, it was to be the people, not Jeremiah! You will have to continue to stand alone tho tempted to move! Then God restates his promises to Jeremiah: (1) he will become a spokesman 19. (2) God will make him a fortified wall of bronze 20. (3) the people will fight against Jeremiah but not prevail for God will save and deliver 21.
Application: We are God’s spokesmen today in the world and He promised to be with us but we do not have the promise that they will not prevail over us. In fact, Jesus said if the world hated Him, it will hate us and if they persecuted Jesus, they will persecute us (John 15:18, 20) and in the world we will have tribulation (John 16:33).
1. Chronic sin in our lives is a recipe for personal and spiritual disaster. All the signs point to doom. If we do not ID it and turn from it, we will not mature. We will instead become a casualty and lose reward.
2. God is on the side of the loner, my trail name. You will be alone when your kids disown Christ, your peers are promiscuous, your colleagues drink and carouse, your family tolerates homosexuality. You will have to deny yourself a close relationship, merrymaking, immorality, and acceptance.
3. If God’s character included mercy then God would have to always be consistent with his character and be merciful. However, that would violate his justice which is his character. Otherwise God would only be perpetually merciful and never judge evil or sin. But since mercy is a work of God and not the character of God he can choose to not be merciful and execute justice.