1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, when king Zedekiah sent to him Pashur, the son of Melchiah, and Zephaniah, the son of Maaseiah the priest, saying, 2 Please inquire of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon makes war against us; perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go away from us. 3 Then Jeremiah said to them, This is what you are to say to Zedekiah: 4 The LORD God of Israel says this; Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans that besiege you outside the walls, and I will assemble them into the midst of this city. 5 And I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and with a strong arm, in anger, and in fury, and in great wrath.
- Judges 5:8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
The Lord’s fury is great because of the pain and ruin caused by idolatry
6 And I will strike the inhabitants of this city, both man and beast: they will die of a great pestilence. 7 And afterward, said the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah, king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and those left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he will strike them with the edge of the sword; he will not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.
- God’s people were supposed to be leading the world to eternal life and they led them to eternal death.
- Just like disease destroys the body, so evil destroys the nations.
- Jeremiah 16:11 … Because your fathers have forsaken me, says the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law.
- Isaiah 43:10 You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither will there be after me…therefore you are my witnesses, says the LORD, that I am God.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
8 And to this people you will say, The LORD says this; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death. 9 He that stays in this city will die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the plague: but he that goes out, and surrenders to the Chaldeans that besiege you, he will live, and his life will be to him for a prize. 10 For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, says the LORD: it will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it with fire.
- Just like the two trees in the Garden of Eden. One brought life, the other death.
- Burning the city with fire was a cleansing away of evil.
- John 3:36 He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that does not believe the Son will not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.
God punishes according to the fruit of our doings
11 And regarding the house of the king of Judah, say, Hear the word of the LORD; 12 O house of David, this is what the LORD says; Execute judgment in the morning, and deliver him that is plundered out of the hand of the oppressor, lest my fury go out like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. 13 Behold, I am against you, O inhabitress of the valley, and rock of the plain, says the LORD; who ask, Who will come down against us? Or who will enter into our homes? 14 But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, says the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in its forest, and it will devour all things round about it.
- Verse 12 reveals that their god was money for they were extorting people’s livings from them.
- Today this is done legally by high prices, high interest rates, and excessive taxation.
- The US Constitution allowed no taxation except 3% tax during time of war.
- Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap.
- Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
The Lord tells kings how to rule rightly
1 This is what the Lord says; Go down to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there this word, 2 And say, Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, who sits on the throne of David, you, and your servants, and your people that enter in by these gates: 3 The Lord says this; Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor: do no wrong, do no violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow; shed no innocent blood in this place. 4 If you do this thing, then kings will enter in by the gates of this house sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, he, and his servants, and his people. 5 But if you will not hear these words, I swear by myself, says the LORD, that this house will become a desolation. 6 For the Lord says this to the king of Judah’s house; You are Gilead to me, and the head of Lebanon: yet surely I will make you a wilderness, and cities which are not inhabited. 7 And I will prepare destroyers against you, every one with his weapons: and they will cut down your choice cedars, and cast them into the fire. 8 And many nations will pass by this city, and they will say every man to his neighbor, Why has the LORD done this to this great city? 9 Then they will answer, Because they have forsaken the covenant of the LORD their God, and worshipped other gods, and served them.
- God spoke this to the king and his dynasty. He promised blessing for obedience and desolation for disobedience.
- Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away: but my words will not pass away.
10 Do not weep for the dead or moan for him: but weep greatly for him that goes away: for he will not ever return or see his native country again. 11 The Lord says this concerning Shallum the son of Josiah king of Judah, who reigned in the place of Josiah his father, who went out of this place; He will not return here: 12 But he will die in the place where they have led him captive, and will see this land no more. 13 Cries of grief to him that builds his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that uses his neighbor’s service without wages, and gives him nothing for his work; 14 That says, I will build me a wide house with large rooms and cut out windows; and roof it with cedar, and paint it with vermilion (bright red).
- This king, like Ahab, was more concerned with material things that with the welfare of God’s people.
- Ahab pouted over a herb garden in 1 Kings 21.
- God pronounces woes on those who exploit their neighbors.
15 Do you reign because you lust to excel in cedar? Did not your father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice, and it was well with him? 16 He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this knowing me? says the LORD. 17 But your eyes and your heart are toward nothing but your covetousness, and to shed innocent blood, and for oppression, and to do violence.
- Knowing the Lord is right, it produces just actions, it is life eternal.
- John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
- Colossians 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
18 Therefore the Lord says this concerning Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah; They will not lament for him, saying, Ah my brother! Or, Ah sister! They will not sorrow for him, saying, Ah lord! Or, Ah his glory! 19 He will be buried with the burial of an ass, dragged and cast out beyond the gates of Jerusalem. 20 Go up to Lebanon, and cry; and lift up your voice in Bashan, and cry from the region beyond: for all your lovers are destroyed. 21 I spoke to you in your prosperities; but you said, I will not hear. This has been your wau from your youth, that you do not obey my voice. 22 The wind will eat up all your pastors, and your lovers will go into captivity: surely then you will be ashamed and confounded for all your wickedness. 23 O inhabitress of Lebanon who makes your nest in the cedars, how gracious you will be when pangs come upon you, the pain like a woman in labor!
God pleads with earth to hear His word
24 As I live, says the LORD, if Coniah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet on my right hand, I would pluck you off; 25 And I will give you into the hand of them that seek your life, and into the hand of them whose face you fear, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans. 26 And I will cast you out, and your mother that bare you, into another country, where you were not born; and there you will die. 27 But to the land where they desire to return, they will not return. 28 Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land that they do not know? 29 O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. 30 This is what the Lord says, Write this man childless, a man that will not prosper in his days: and no man of his seed will prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah.
- Joseph, husband of Mary, was a descendant of this king (Matthew 1).
- Luke 3 records the genealogy that leads to Mary.
- God fathered Jesus and that cut off Coniah as the rightful royal line forever.
- But Jesus will be blessed forever.
- Luke 1:32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David: 33 And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end…The Holy Ghost will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you: therefore also that holy thing which will be born of you will be called the Son of God.
1 Cries of grief to the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the LORD. 2 Therefore the LORD God of Israel says this against the pastors that feed my people; You have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit on you the evil of your doings, says the LORD. 3 And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they will be fruitful and increase. 4 And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them: and they will fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither will they be lacking, says the LORD. 5 Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King will reign and prosper, and will execute judgment and justice in the earth.
- God is going to give us the best shepherd FOREVER.
- Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government will be upon his shoulder: and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The Lord Himself is our Righteousness
6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely: and this is his name by which he will be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 7 Therefore, behold, the days come, says the LORD, that they will no more say, The LORD lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; 8 But, The LORD lives, who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries where I had driven them; and they will dwell in their own land. 9 My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness. 10 For the land is full of adulterers. Because of a curse the land mourns; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, their way is evil, and their power/strength is not right. 11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in my house I have found their wickedness, says the LORD.
- His words of holiness break our heart.
- Ezekiel 8 is a whole chapter about the idols in God’s temple.
12 Therefore their way will be unto them slippery ways in the darkness: they will be driven on, and fall: for I will bring evil on them, the year of their visitation, says the LORD. 13 And I have seen smearing of slime in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err. 14 I have also seen in the prophets of Jerusalem a horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that none turns away from his wickedness: they are all of them to me like Sodom, and its inhabitants as Gomorrah. 15 Therefore the LORD of hosts says concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land. 16 The Lord of hosts says this, Do not listen to the words of the prophets that prophesy to you: they make you empty/vain: they speak a vision from their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. 17 They still say to those that despise me, The LORD has said, You will have peace; and they say to every one that walks after the imagination of his own heart, No evil will come upon you. 18 For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, and has perceived and heard his word? Who has marked his word, and heard it?
The Lord sends a storm in His anger
19 Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD has gone out in fury, a grievous whirlwind: it will fall grievously on the head of the wicked. 20 The anger of the LORD will not return, until he has executed, until he has performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days you will consider it perfectly. 21 I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. 22 But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.
- His words and counsel turn us from the evil of our doings; He tells us to listen only to Him.
God is near; He fills heaven and earth
23 Am I a God at hand, says the LORD, and not a God afar off? 24 Can any hide himself in secret places where I will not see him? Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the LORD. 25 I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. 26 How long will this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; 27 Who cause my people to forget my name by their dreams that every man tells to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. 28 The prophet that has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that has my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat, asks the LORD?
- Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
His word is a fire, a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces
29 Is not my word like as a fire. asks the LORD? And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? 30 Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbor. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He says. 32 Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, says the LORD, and tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their frivolity; I did not send them or command them: therefore they will not profit this people at all, says the LORD. 33 And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, ask you, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? Then say to them, What burden? I will forsake you, says the LORD.
- The rock is often our hard heart. God forsakes and punishes the lying prophets.
- Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
- 1Peter 2:24 Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.
34 And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that say, The burden of the LORD, I will punish that man and his house. 35 You say this every one to his neighbor, and every one to his brother, What has the LORD answered? And, What has the LORD spoken? 36 You are not to mention the burden of the LORD any more: for every man’s word will be his burden; for you have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God. 37 Say this to the prophet, What has the LORD answered you? And, What has the LORD spoken? 38 But since you say, The burden of the LORD; therefore the LORD says this; Because you say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent to you, saying, You are not to say, The burden of the LORD; 39 Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence: 40 And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, that will not be forgotten.
- They were calling God a burden but He’s the one that carries us. We are the burden.
- Isaiah 46:3 Listen to me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb.
- Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we esteemed him stricken, struck down of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed: 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
- Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD, and he will sustain you: he will never allow the righteous to be moved.
SUMMARY: Jeremiah 21-23
- The Lord’s fury is great because of the ruin caused by idolatry
- God punishes according to the fruit of our doings
- The Lord tells kings how to rule rightly
- God pleads with earth to hear His word
- The Lord Himself is our Righteousness
- The Lord sends a storm in His anger
- God is near; He fills heaven and earth
- His word is a fire, a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces