Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jeremiah Will Be Protected

Jeremiah 15:1-21

“Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.  And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.  And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.  And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.” (Jeremiah 15:1-4)

Moses and Samuel were very highly regarded prophets from Israel’s history for their dedication.  Judah has turned so far from God that even their presence would not cause God to overlook their sin.  They are to be kicked out to go wherever they can.    Like a person who has been expelled from their home they may well ask where they are supposed to go.  God was quite specific that  some will be killed, and some will be wounded in battle,  and some will be taken into slavery while others will starve. They will attacked by human enemies, by packs of dogs, by birds, and by wild animals.  As a result they will be forced to take refuge in many foreign lands.  Hezekiah was one of the best kings Judah had had, but his son Manasseh was one of the worst, doing his best to turn the people away from God.  Because of his success, Judah will be destroyed.

“For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?  Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.  And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways.” (Jeremiah 15:5-7)

Like a rebellious wife, Judah has jerked away from God and gone their own way for so long he has determined to destroy them.  Time after time they have come and asked his forgiveness, promising to do better but making no effort to changes, and he is sick of it.   Just as they would use a fan to blow away the chaff when winnowing their grain, god will bring a fan to plow away what they have.  He will take away their children and destroy the people because they refuse to make any changes. 

“Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.  She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while it was yet day: she hath been ashamed and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.   Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.” (Jeremiah 15:8-10)

The men are being killed leaving their widows behind, and a mother who had given birth to seven sons ends up without a single survivor, taking away all their joy and hope.  It is not over because God will allow the rest to be killed or captured.  Even innocent people are suffering because of what their children and ancestors have done.  Everyone is against them. 

“The LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.  Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?  Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders.  And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you.” (Jeremiah 15:11-14)

Though the innocent were suffering, there is still hope.  There will be some who survive, and when trouble comes to the other nations, they will turn to Judah for help.  In the interval, an iron weapon is not strong enough to break one of iron reinforced with steel.  Judah’s belongings will be taken without repayment, because of their sins.  Because God is so angry at their behavior, they will be carried away into captivity. 

“O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.  Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.  I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.  Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?” (Jeremiah 15:15-18)

Jeremiah reminds the Lord how when no one even knew where to look to find out what God commanded, he had sought the Lord, making his word his delight.  He did not go along with those who made fun of God’s commands.  Instead he found himself alone because of what God wanted, upset with what the people were doing.  It seemed like his pain and sorrow would never end.  Sometimes it seemed like God’s promises were just lies. 

“Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.  And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.  And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.” (Jeremiah 15:19-21)

God’s answer was that if Jeremiah would come to him, taking the time to separate the good from the evil, God would use him to speak to the people.  He was not to run after them, or go along with them but to wait for them to come to him.  When they came it would be in opposition, but God would make him like a brass wall they couldn’t destroy because God would be with him to protect him.   

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