We begin the message of Jeremiah.
The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.
Now, going back into Leviticus 26 the LORD is talking when He gave the Law to the people of the blessings if they would obey the Law of God. But then He speaks of their disobedience and the curses that would come. There are certain inevitable consequences of certain behavior and we need to know that. If you stick your finger in an open socket and the juice is on you are going to get shocked. Now, in training your child, and there is a socket there, you say, “Don’t put your finger in there because it will shock you.” And that is just basic laws of electricity. You can say that with certainty. That kind of action is going to provoke that kind of response. What is true in the natural physical laws is also true in the spiritual laws. There are certain actions that will provoke a certain response. And God knows what actions will provoke what responses.
God has given us the spiritual laws. And God said, “If you will obey these laws, than this will be the result. You will be happy, and prosperous.” And He tells the response of obeying these laws. But He said, “If you disobey them than these are the consequences of disobeying. This is what is going to happen to you.”
I think of how fair that God is in that He has always warned in advance of the inevitable consequences of a particular action. And thus, when the consequences come you really should not blame God for the tragedies that have befallen you because God told you that is what would happen. It is just the inevitable consequences. When a child sticks his finger in the plug and gets that shock he should not turn and scream at the parents, “You shocked me, you hurt me!” No, they warned him not to put his finger in there, that it would give them a shock. And they just know that that is the way it is.
And so we so often make a grave mistake in blaming God for the calamities because God said that this is going to happen if you do these things. Now in Leviticus 26 beginning with verse 14 God warned them if they did not do all of these commandments, these are the things that are going to happen. These are the consequences, these are the results. Leviticus 26: 16-19;
I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall so your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you: and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass:
The heavens will be shut up and as a result the earth will become hardened. Now, interesting, he said, “The heaven is iron and earth as brass, your strength will be spent in vain, your land will not yield her increase and the trees will not yield her fruit. Now turn to Deuteronomy 28 and God said much the same thing in verses 23 and 24 only this time He said, “The heaven that is over thy head shall be brass and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. And the LORD shall make the rain of the land powder and dust from heaven it shall come down upon thee until you are destroyed.”
A part of the punishment and the results of God taking His hand of blessing away from the nation would be a drought. Now all of these things were designed by God to turn their hearts back to the LORD. To wake them up to the fact that we are the wrong path. We are on a path that is leading to destruction and the whole purpose of God is to turn them away from that path, back to the path of righteousness, back into the path of blessing. But if you are stubborn and you refuse to listen to God then even a further and a further. It is interesting that the final thing God said would happen is that you would be overcome by your enemies, you would be scattered throughout the world. That is exactly what happened to the nation of Israel. You can follow in the history those things that God declared would happen to them if they turned from God did happen to them after they turned from God and it was that God had laid the whole thing, warned them, but they refused to hearken unto the LORD and they refuse to heed His warnings.
Here, the nation is in its final plunge towards death and at this present time they are experiencing an extremely severe drought where the ground has become as hard as brass or iron. The rain is not moisture but it is dust. It rains down upon them now as the wind carries dust but no moisture. There is no crops, the trees are perishing because of the lack of water. The wells and the cisterns have gone dry. So he begins to describe some of this condition here.
Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground;
That is black with a famine.
and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up. And their nobles have sent their little ones (the word little ones in the Hebrew would suggest not children but servants, the noble have sent their servants to the waters) and they came to the pits, (cisterns)
There in Israel the land is rather arid. It is much like Southern California. They get only limited amounts of rain. Up in the north in the area of Mt. Hermon they have a lot of snow in the winter. It is like our High Sierras and the melt or the run off from the snow comes down through the Jordan River and waters the land. But for the most part around Jerusalem it is rather arid and they get like we do here, 16 inches of rain a year. But that is pretty much the average rain fall. That is not that much.
So what they did was carve these huge cisterns and over there in the Holy Land you can so many of these big cisterns that they have carved out of the rock. They were water storage cisterns. And they would direct the rainfall, the runoff into these cisterns and there it would be like a reservoir and they would operate sort of like a well. They would drop their buckets down in it and they would pull up the water. The cisterns now were all dry. They came to the cisterns and they found no water.
they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads. Because the ground is chapped, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.
So it speaks of this drought. The book of Habakkuk was written just about the same time of Jeremiah. And Habakkuk makes mention of the conditions that were existing at that time. He spoke about, “Though there be no grain in the fields or no herds in the stalls, no fruit on the tree, no figs and vines are empty, the olive trees are failing. The flocks are cut off from the fold.” He speaks of this terrible time of drought. There is no grazing for the cattle or for the sheep. The ground is dry and parched and thus the sheep have died and the cattle have died. There is no fruit on the trees. It was a time of tremendous kind of national disaster, this prolonged drought.
Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.
Now it was proverbial among them, the way that the mother dear took care of the little fawn. And how the fawn would follow the mother and so forth and the care that she had for them. But even the drought is so bad that the hind would forsake the little fawn that was born.
And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons;
Their nostrils becoming enlarged like dragons as they were snuffing the wind trying to smell and catch a smell of water somewhere.
their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.
It was effecting not only all human kind but the wild animals as well. It is so severe that Jeremiah prays to the LORD. In his prayer he acknowledges their iniquities.
O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake:
The “do thou it” is sort of, “send rain LORD.” Not for our sakes, our iniquities testify against us, but LORD for Your name’s sake, send some rain.
for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.
So in the prayer of Jeremiah the opening acknowledgment of our sin and our guilt and thus we do deserve this but LORD, for Your name sake. Some reprieve.
O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?
LORD, these are Your people, this is Your land, why should You be like a stranger here?
Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by they name; leave us not.
So Jeremiah is interceding, not on the basis of their deserving, not on the basis of their righteousness but he is actually pleading for the mercy of God at this point for the people. And the LORD responded to the prayer of Jeremiah.
Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins. Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.
Now here is Jeremiah seeing the suffering and the hardships that are caused by this prolonged drought, his heart is moved for the people, he prays that God might intervene, and that God might send the rains and break the drought and bring grass to the fields again and he is asking God for this reprieve, but God answers him and says that He just does not accept these people anymore, He has turned His back and He is going to visit them for their sins, just Jeremiah, don’t pray for this people for their good.
When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them : but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
There comes a time when the grace of God and mercy of God has been spurned to such a degree that God will no longer will deal with an individual or with a nation. They had gone beyond the limit. Throughout their history God had been so merciful. Throughout their history God had responded to their cries. Their history was one of constant turning away from God until calamity came and then turning back to God. And they God would deliver them from their calamity and they would become prosperous as they would serve the LORD again and then they would in their prosperity turn away from God. As they turned away from God, God would turn away from them. They would cry out unto the LORD and the LORD would forgive them and begin to bless them again as they sought the LORD.
But it was continual through their history. You can follow it from the book of Judges, right after the time of Joshua, all through the book of Judges. Israel sinned against the LORD and they went into oppression, the Midianites oppressed them and they oppressed them for so many years. And the people cried unto the LORD and the LORD raised up Gideon. And all the way through it was the pattern of their history.
Now it is too much. They have done it too often. They have gone too deep into the sin. They are beyond the point of God’s grace or mercy. It is a terrible place to be. In the time of Noah God said, “My Spirit will not always strive with man.” There can come a time in a person’s life, in a nation’s life where God no longer strives, He says, “Okay, that is it.” And God gives them over to their sin and to their reprobate minds.
Such was the case now of Israel. They had gone too far. So God said, “When they fast and cry, I am no going to listen. When they offer their burnt offering and their oblations, I will not accept them. But I am going to consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.” They were presently being consumed by the famine and the pestilence that was in the land. Jeremiah is in a dialogue with God here.
Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.
So Jeremiah is trying to argue the fact that these people are being deceived by these false prophets who are promising peace and prosperity.
then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
Prophesying in the name of the LORD but deceit out of their own hearts.
Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and amine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.
They all will be slain together. Their bodies will be there and no one to bury them.
Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them;
Here is a place where dividing the Scriptures, in the original Hebrew Scriptures, there were of course no chapters or verses. In fact, there were not even spaces between the words. You had to know Hebrew to know when the word was complete. They did not leave even a space between the words. It was just straight letters all the way across the line. So when they translated, they translated the words as they were but then they divided them into chapters and verses. I believe that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God. I do believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, that this God’s word and God is true and thus every word is true and He is God and thus He is without error. I do not believe in the inerrancy of the division of the chapters and verses. I think that some mistakes were made because man did it but he did it for a good purpose.
It would be awfully hard to find some of your favorite Scriptures if you did not know the chapter and verse. Well, I know that it is in John. Well, to read all the way through John to find a particular passage would be difficult. So it is a great advantage to us to have the Bible divided by these chapter and verses because it makes easy reference for a passage of Scripture that you are wanting to look up and study.
But, if you notice here, the LORD has been speaking here to Jeremiah concerning these false prophets and the consequences that will befall them and the LORD said, “Therefore thou shall say this word unto them.” And that really should be the end of verse 16 and verse 17 should start with Jeremiah’s response to this word of the LORD concerning the false prophets. Jeremiah then in response to the LORD said,
Let mine eyes run down with tears night and say, and let them not cease:
Now, again Jeremiah is known to all of the children in Sunday School as the weeping prophet. And we have sought to point out to you in the book of Jeremiah where he refers to his tears. So often when a man has a message from God that is severe as was the message of God to the people at this time and when a person is pronouncing upon a nation the judgments of God that are going to come, we often think in our minds of them as thundering judgment. It is unfortunate that so many times God is misrepresented by men, by preachers so that the way they preach gives you the feeling that God is mad at you. Because they seem to just sort of yelling and condemning and coming down and red faced and just really coming down on you. “Man, God is really angry at us again today. Here God’s representative up there yelling at me and telling me all the things I am doing wrong.” And we get that impression sometimes from those that are representing God.
At one time Moses severely misrepresented God before the people. He was angry with the people. The people had made some mean cutting accusations against Moses and Moses was upset. And Moses went into the LORD and said, “LORD, these people, they are ready to kill me and they are wanting water.” And God said, “Go out and speak to the rock that they might have water.” And God was compassionate, He knew their need for water and God was not upset with the people because they were needing water. He probably was upset with the way they were accusing His servant.
But Moses went out and said, “You stiff-necked people, how long do I have to put up with you?” Now, he had just come from God. They knew that. He had just gone in and talked to God about the fact that they are needing water. And so when he comes out with this barrage against them they probably thought, “Oh God is really angry with us.” But God was not. “Must I smite this rock and give you water again.” And he smote the rock in his anger.
God said, “Moses, bad show. Did I tell you to smite the rock.” No. “What did I tell you?” Speak to the rock. “Moses, you did not represent Me before the people and because you did not represent Me before the people I can’t let you lead them into the Promised Land.” Now Moses said, “Come on Lord, that is not fair. I have put up with this people for forty years and I have live for the day that I can lead them into the land.” And the LORD said, “Don’t talk to Me about it anymore, it is a settled issue. You can’t do it because you failed to represent Me properly before the waters of strife, Mirabah.”
I think that so many times God is misrepresented and we get a false idea of God and sometimes the servants of God. And when you read the words that Jeremiah had to say, they were tough words, but remember, He is weeping. He is not relishing this, he is weeping.
Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease:
And all the way through the prophecies Jeremiah is speaking about his weeping continually over the condition of the people, over the judgments of God that were coming upon them and those judgments that were yet to come. And it just broke Jeremiah up. And thus they are not thunderous proclamations but they are proclamations that are made through sobs and tears.
I think of Jesus as He was looking over the city of Jerusalem and realized the destruction that was going to come because they failed to receive their Messiah and He was weeping as He said, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if you only knew the things that belong to you this thy day, the peace that you could have.”
for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow. If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea,
Those who were outside of the city were to be killed by the invading army. Those that had sought refuge within the city are dying of famine and starvation. It is just a miserable plight.
yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.
That is, they are being carried away captive.
Hast thou utterly rejected Judah?
Actually, he is sort of getting back to his prayer. He is still dealing with God over these issues, intercession for them.
hath thy soul loathed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble! We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.
They are not trying to justify themselves but just casting themselves upon the mercies of God. And his prayer:
Do not abhor us, for they name’s sake,
Again, appealing to the name of God. God in times past had said, “I am not doing this because you deserve this but for My name’s sake I am doing this.” God had said that several times in history. When God was doing something good for them He said, “Not because you really deserve it, I am doing this for My name’s sake. It is because of My mercy and for My name’s sake.” But now he is appealing to God on the basis of that but it is too far. They had gone too far. He is again, though, appealing for Thy name’s sake.
do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us. Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.
LORD, only You can bring rain. None of the rain dances of the Indians can produce rain. None of the gods of the heathen can control weather. LORD, that is in Your hands. Again, just appealing to God for the need of the people.
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.
Two men who are noted as men of intercessory prayer for the nation. You remember at the time of Israel’s murmuring in the wilderness, God said to Moses, “Stand back Moses, I am going to wipe them all out and I will raise up another nation for you to lead.” And Moses said, “LORD, have mercy on them. If not LORD, then blot my name out of Your book of remembrance.” He interceded and God said, “Well, they will have to go through this…” Moses interceded and God used that intercession as an excuse to have mercy on the people.
Again during the time of Samuel it was a time of national failure. The people were rejecting God as ruling over them. They were wanting an earthly ruler. They had come to Samuel and said, “Give us a king to rule over us like the other nations.” And Samuel went in before the LORD, heart broken. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Go ahead and appoint a king over them. They have not rejected you they have rejected Me from ruling over them.” So Samuel got up before the people and he told them that they were God’s people, God had been reigning and they had this evil desire to have a king over them to rule over them. The people when Samuel was through said, “We have sinned against the LORD but cease not to pray for us.” In other words, continue praying. Samuel responded, “God forbid that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you.” They asked for prayer and he said, “God help me that I don’t sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray.”
So they were known as men of prayer, intercessors for the nation. But now the LORD is saying, “Even if Moses and Samuel were here, those great men of prayer, My heart still can’t be turned towards them. They have gone too far. They have gone over the line. They have stepped over that line.”
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.
These are the things that are appointed to the nation at this time: death, the sword, famine, captivity. Those survive the sword and the famine will go into captivity, it is the end.
And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD; the sword to slay, and dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and 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.
The great blasphemies of this man. Now, an interesting thing to know, Manasseh was the king whose wickedness put the nation into that death dive. They were plunging through his reign into this abyss. There was no pulling out. He sort of set the course that insured the destruction. Because of the horrible abominations and all of Manasseh God said, “The sword to destroy and the dogs and fowls of the heaven and the wild beasts to devour their bodies.” Because of the horrible things that Manasseh did. Going back into the history, if you read of Manasseh and all of the horrible things that he did, yet in his latter years Manasseh repented and God forgave him. So he was forgiven.
That is a glorious thing about God. The door for forgiveness is always open. You may have set the course and you are going to have to reap the consequences of what you have done, you cannot escape that. But even in that time of peril God will forgive you on an individual basis. Here was Manasseh who led the nation into this irreversible position of facing the judgment of God and still God was merciful to Manasseh and forgave. I would not have forgiven him but God did. God is merciful, far more than I am.
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.
The word is repenting but it is : I am just weary of withholding that judgment that you deserve. He had done it over and over again. He had listened to the prayers, He had responded to the intercession. But now He just says, I am just weary of it. I have had it, that is all. They had gone over the line.
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.
The appointed of God is set and He tells how;
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:
It is a phrase for death, the departing of a person’s spirit from their body, is one of the definitions of death in the Bible. I it even today, a person’s consciousness leaves the body, the brain is no longer functioning. They are brain dead, a clinical definition of death. It is talking about Jerusalem in a figurative sense.
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.
God’s pronouncement of the judgment. Verse 10 Jeremiah responds to this statement of God’s severe judgment that is coming.
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 had become cursed by the people because of his declaring of what God was going to do. He was saying, “If you do not turn God is going to bring judgment and famine upon this place.” And now as they are experienced this famine, they start cursing Jeremiah. Woe is me that my mother bore me. I have only done what God told me to do, I have not really done evil yet everyone is cursing me.
So the LORD responded to this woeful cry of the prophet and He said:
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.
So he is saying, “Woe is me, horrible things are going to happen and I am an innocent man.” And the LORD said, “Hey, it will be okay with you Jeremiah.”
Turn to Jeremiah 40. Here we get a little bit of history.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, after that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had let him go from Ramah, when he had taken him being bound in chains among all that were carried away captive of Jerusalem and Judah, which were carried away captive unto Babylon.
When they conquered Jerusalem they were carrying the prisoners away. Ramah is just north of Jerusalem. And when they had gotten just out of the city, he was with all of those who were in chains being led to Babylon. But the captain of the guard over these prisoners, he took Jeremiah in verse 2;
And the captain of the guard took Jeremiah, and said unto him, The LORD thy God hath pronounced this evil upon this place. Now the LORD hath brought it, and done according as he hath said: because ye have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed his voice, therefore this thing is come upon you.
So, there was a recognition by this Babylonian captain of the guard that this was the punishment of God because of the national sin.
And now, behold, I loose thee this day from the chains which were upon thine hand. If it seem good unto thee to come with me into Babylon, come; and I will took well unto thee: but if it seem ill unto thee to come with me into Babylon, forbear: behold, all the land is before thee: whither it seemeth good and convenient for thee to go, thither go.
Jeremiah was freed from the captivity. The guard said that he could do whatever you want. If you want to come to Babylon we will take care of you and it will be well for you there. If you want stay here, here is the land, choose wherever you want. And so, the LORD had promised Jeremiah that it will be well with you. And so we read where God kept His promise. There was a time when it seemed, “Well, You said it would be well with me, here I am in chains going to Babylon.” And they only got out of the city ten miles to Ramah when they unchained and the fellow said, “Hey, these people are being punished for their sin but if you want to come to Babylon fine, if you want to stay here, fine. You can do what you want.” So God kept His word to the prophet.
Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?
In other words, they are coming in the strength of iron and steel. You will not be able to stand against them.
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 pas with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you.
So God, again, pronouncing the judgment that is going to come against the nation because they have forsaken the LORD. And Jeremiah responds to that and says;
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.
When Jeremiah was prophesying to the people they were rebuking him, mocking him, they were persecuting him. He said that it was for Your sake that he bore this persecution.
Jesus said, “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.”
So here is Jeremiah saying, “It is because of You, it is for Your sake that I have borne this rebuke and this reproach and all that is befallen me as I have prophesied what You told me to say. Lord, they have heaped all of this abuse upon me.”
When you come as a servant of God with the Word of God to the worldly crowd, often they will turn upon you. You are not take that as a personal offense. They do not even know you. But they do not like what you are saying. Because you are telling them that they are sinners, that what they are doing is wrong. And that if they continue in it, it is going to destroy them, they will perish. They do not want to hear that and so they will turn upon the servant that is speaking the Word of God. And thus they did with Jeremiah, thus they will do with you if you go forth to rebuke the evil of the world in the name of Jesus.
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.
You have called me. I have been called by Your name and thus Your word was comfort, it was strength, it was the joy and the rejoicing of my heart as I devoured Your word. And the word of God will always have that effect if you will just really devour the word of God you will find that it will become the joy and rejoicing of your heart.
David said, “I consider thy word more than my necessary bread.” More important to my life is the feeding on the word of God than feeding at my table. It is interesting how we are constantly feeding the physical man. If we have to go without a meal on a day we complain. We learn that early. Sometimes in a busy schedule of a pastor’s life you can’t have your meals regularly. And sometimes you get so busy you just sort of skip a meal.
My little grandson, he does not buy that. If we happen to go through lunch and maybe it is four o’clock and I say, “Let’s go get dinner.” He says, “We can’t get dinner, we have not had lunch yet.” We may eat a big meal, but it is lunch and he will want one more meal before he goes to bed because he has to have three meals or it does not count. So we feel that it is quite important to get the three meals a day. You have to keep this old physical body going.
Yet, how many times a person is so careless with his spiritual diet. You have not been in the Word all day. Well, tomorrow maybe I can get to it. You can go two or three days and you are not saying, “Oh boy, I am so starved I have to make up for it now.” It is tragic that we feed the physical man but so often neglect the spiritual man’s food.
So David said that he considered the word of God more than his necessary bread. It is more important to me that I feed the spirit than I feed the body. Oh, that we all had that attitude, that we would just really devour the Word of God until we have assimilated it and it became a very part of our life. And when you do it becomes the joy and the rejoicing of your heart. What a joy and what a blessing it is to really get into the Word and really devour the Word.
I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand:
Because of God’s hand on Jeremiah he was ostracized even from his family. His own family turned against him.
for thou hast filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?
LORD, why do I have to go through all of this misery when I am only seeking to serve You, I am only seeking to do what You have told me to do. And yet the pain that I experience, the wounds incurable.
wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?
God had promised Jeremiah that He would be with him, that He would protect him. Back when he was called in Chapter 1 when the LORD called him to this ministry, verse 18 He said, “Behold I have made you a defenced city, an iron pillar, brass walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes, against the priest, and against the people of the land and they shall fight against you but they shall not prevail against you for I am with you,” saith the LORD, “to deliver you.”
Now he said, “LORD, were You lying to me. I am going through all these things.” He was put in the dungeon. He was given just bread and water, just survival in the dungeon. So it appeared that God maybe was not keeping His word.
Therefore thus saith the LORD (God’s response to the distraught prophet) 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:
The final victory, Jeremiah, will be yours. They will fight against you. There will be times when it seems like they are prevailing, but the final victory is yours.
for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
So the LORD sort of repeated His promise to Jeremiah at the beginning of His prophecy.
And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
And so, God’s promises to Jeremiah in this message that Jeremiah was to give at the time of the drought. Next week as we get into Chapter 16 and 17 we will have the sign Jeremiah remaining unmarried. God told him not to marry because of the calamities and his singleness and his not having children was to be used as an illustrated message to the people. Much like the rotten sash that he wore, it was to be an illustrated message to the people of the judgments of God that are going to come upon the land and that you would be better off not to have a wife or children because of the hardships that you are going to be facing. So, the next two chapters, devour them this week and we will study them next Sunday night, the prophetic type of a sign of the prophet remaining unmarried. You will find a lot of interest as you really dig in and read these chapters.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7286