1 the words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: 2 To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
- God spoke to the world through Jeremiah during the last 40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC for their unfaithfulness to God.
God knows us before He forms us in the womb
4 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you prophet to the nations. 6 Then I said, Ah, Lord GOD! Look, I cannot speak: for I am a child.7 But the LORD said to me, Do not say, I am a child: for you will go to all that I send you, and whatever I command you, that you will speak. 8 Do not be afraid of their faces: for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put out his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
- Today we have 1,189 chapters we have of His word in writing.
- Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
He is the Lord over all the nations
10 See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. 11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. 12 Then said the LORD to me, You have seen well: for I will hurry my word to perform it. 13 And the word of the LORD came to me the second time, saying, What do you see? And I said, I see a seething pot; from the face of the north. 14 Then the LORD said to me, Out of the north an evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land.
- What Jeremiah said from God was more powerful than plans and policies of rulers because it came from the Creator and Sovereign of the universe.
- There is a personal application to our lives. The Lord roots out and destroys all righteousness that comes from self or the world.
- “He builds and plants all righteousness inside us that is from Christ.” Martin Luther
15 For, behold, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, says the LORD; and they will come, and every one will set his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about, and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And I will pronounce my judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, those who have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.
- Psalm 106:37-39 tells us that they sacrificed their sons and daughters to devils.
- Psalm 94:23 says that God cut them off in their own wickedness.
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived God is not mocked for whatever a man sows that he will also reap.
The Lord is with His prophets to deliver them
17 Therefore prepare yourself, rise up, and speak to them all that I command you: do not be dismayed at their faces, lest I confound you before them. 18 For, behold, I have made you this day a defended city, and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against its princes, and against the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you but they will not overcome you for I am with you to deliver you.
- God is the only one we are to fear.
- He is in control of all things. That’s the meaning of His title Lord.
- Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare: but whoever puts his trust in the LORD will be safe.
- Zechariah 2:5 I will be a wall of fire round about and glory in the midst
God remembers us and sends evil on those who devour us
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, This is what the LORD says; I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothals, when you followed me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. 3 Israel was holy to the LORD, and the first fruits of his increase: all that devour him will offend; evil will come on them, says the LORD. 4 Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: 5 This is what the LORD says, What iniquity has your fathers found in me, that they have gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become empty? 6 Neither do they say, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?
God brought them to a plentiful country full of goodness
7 And I brought you into a plentiful country/land of Carmel, to eat its fruit and its goodness; but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, Where is the LORD? And those that handle the law did not know me: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
God pleads with us
9 I will still plead with you, says the LORD, and I will plead with your children's children. 10 Pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send to Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there is such a thing.11 Has a nation changed their gods, which are not gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. 12 Be appalled at this, O heavens and be horribly afraid, be very desolate, says the LORD. 13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and carved themselves out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
- John 4:14 But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst; but the water that I give him will be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
14 Is Israel a servant? Is he a home born slave? Why is he plundered? 15 The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. 16 Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes feed on the crown of your head. 17 Have you not brought this on yourself by forsaking the LORD your God, when he led you by the way? 18 And now what have you to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or what have you to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
- ‘Feed on the crown of your head’ is the lion of verse 14 sinking teeth into a man’s skull and dragging him away to devour as prey.
God lets our own wickedness correct us
19 Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will reprove you: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that you have forsaken the LORD your God, and that my fear is not in you, says the Lord GOD of hosts/armies. 20 For from ancient times I have broken your yoke, and burst your bands; and you said, I will not transgress; when on every high hill and under every green tree you wander, playing the harlot. 21 Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a wholly right seed: how then have you turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine to me? 22 For though you wash yourself with lye, and use you much soap, yet the stain of your iniquity is still before me, says the Lord GOD. 23 How can you say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? See your way in the valley, know what you have done: you are a young she-camel in heat desperate for a male; 24 A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffs up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? All those that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they will find her.
- God’s nation was like a camel in heat, going from one thing to the next trying to find satisfaction.
- Nothing satisfies but God.
- We often do the same thing, going from one pleasure to another.
- Today we have rampant pornography. The porn channel
is the 3 rd largest on cable TV.
- People are worshipping sex rather than the God who made sex.
- God intends that we live noble lives before Him, abundant in all things and blessed.
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
25 Keep your foot from being unshod, and your throat from thirst: I will go. 26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, 27 Saying to a stock, You are my father; and to a stone, You have brought me forth: for they have turned their back to me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. 28 But where are your gods that you have made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble: for according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah. 29 Will you sue me? You have all transgressed against me, says the LORD. 30 In vain I have struck your children; they received no correction: your own sword has devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
- In faithfulness God used this suffering to try to wake them up to their destructive errors.
31 O generation, look to the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? A land of darkness? Why do my people say, We rule; we will no longer come to you?
- Hebrews 11:6. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
- Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing the word of God.
God misses us when we are away from Him in our hearts
32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number. 33 How well you prepare your way to seek love? You have also taught the wicked ones your ways. 34 In your skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.
- It was obvious to all.
35 Yet you say, I am innocent. Surely his anger will turn from me. Behold, I will plead with you/take you into court, because you say, I have not sinned. 36 Why do you go about so much to change your way? You will be ashamed of Egypt, as you were ashamed of Assyria. 37 Yes, you will go out from him with your hands on your head: for the LORD has rejected the things you trust, and you will not prosper in them.
- They were making lots of effort on things that wouldn’t solve the problem.
- This is like neighborhood bussing in America. We try to move the children around and mingle them together thinking it will bring racial harmony when the real problem lies in the heart.
- God rejects all the bandaids we place over our own wounds and societies gaping wounds.
- Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and by his wounds we are healed.
Return to me, says the Lord
1 They say, If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him, and becomes another man's, will he return to her again? Will not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; but return again to me, says the LORD. 2 Lift up your eyes to the high places and look. Where you have not been lain with? In the ways have you sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your whoring and with your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain; and you had a whore's forehead, you refused to be ashamed.
- This is an odd statement about a whore’s forehead.
- But God always explains Himself clearly.
- He says what He means—‘you refused to be ashamed.’
- He’s speaking of spiritual idolatry—worshipping and adoring things more than our Maker who is the source of all things.
- Imagine a prostitute being confronted about her wrongs who lifts her chin high and says inside herself, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m providing a needed service.
- We trust many false things. Anything we trust more than God is an idol that brings nothing but trouble.
4 From this time you will not cry to me, My father, you are the guide of my youth? 5 Will he reserve his anger forever? Will he keep it to the end? Behold, you have spoken and done as much evil as you could. 6 The LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has played the harlot. 7 And I thought after she had done all these things, she will return to me. But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
- The people put idols of their false gods on every high hill and under every green tree.
- In this they were unfaithful to their Maker.
- Orgies were often part of the worship of these false gods.
- How convenient for the flesh.
- When Moses was on the mountain with God, Aaron made the people a golden calf.
- Exodus 32:6 And they rose up early the next day, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.
God divorced Israel
8 And I saw, when all the causes by which backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the wantonness of her fornication, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks (trunks of trees). 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to me with her whole heart, but pretending, says the LORD. 11 And the LORD said to me, Backsliding Israel has justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
- The words ‘put away’ means divorce. God knows when we pretend.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, backsliding Israel, says the LORD; and I will not cause my anger to fall on you: for I am merciful, says the LORD, and I will not keep anger forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice, says the LORD.
- I John 1:9 If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God is married to us
14 Turn, O backsliding children, says the LORD; for I am married to you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 And I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.16 And it will come to pass, when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the LORD, they will no longer say, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither will it come to mind: nor will they remember it; or visit it; it will not be magnified.
- The ark of the covenant was a training tool to teach the people about the person of God in Jesus.
- They worshipped the ark rather than the Lord.
- God’s commitment to us is total, without reservation.
- He created us; He died for us.
- Through the cross He entered a covenant with us greater than marriage because it is eternal.
- He provides for us, protects us, shelters us, comforts us, and loves us forever with all His infinite heart.
- Jeremiah 31:3 I have loved you with an everlasting love.
God’s future throne will be at Jerusalem
17 At that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations will be gathered to it, to the person of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither will they walk any more in the hostility of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have caused your fathers to possess for an inheritance. 19 But I said, How will I put you among the children, and give you a desirable land, a glorious heritage of the hosts of nations? And I said, You will call me, My father; and will not turn away from me.
- Ezekiel 1:26-28 describes this throne of glory as a sapphire throne on which sits the form of a man of fiery amber gemstone flashing forth all the colors of the rainbow.
- Revelation 1:16 says the Lord’s face shines as the sun. What a change it will be for the nations to follow God rather than their own evil hearts.
- Matthew 25:31-32 When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory: 32 And before him will be gathered all nations: and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:
- Zechariah 6:13 he will build the temple of the LORD; and he will bear the glory, and will sit and rule on his throne; and he will be a priest on his throne: and the counsel of peace will be between them both.
God heals our backslidings
20 Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, says the LORD. 21 A voice was heard on the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come to you; for you are the LORD our God. 23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 For shame has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covers us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth until this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.
SUMMARY: Jeremiah 1-3
- God knows us before He forms us in the womb
- He is the Lord over all the nations
- The Lord is with His prophets to deliver them
- God remembers us and sends evil on those who devour us
- God brought them to a plentiful country full of goodness
- God pleads with us
- God lets our own wickedness correct us
- God misses us when we are away from Him in our hearts
- Return to me, says the Lord
- God divorced Israel
- God is married to us
- God’s future throne will be at Jerusalem
- God heals our backslidings