I. Fighting against God, His words, and His servants is a perennial pastime of God's people; yet God sustains His servants.
Jer 1:19 They will fight against you; but they will not prevail against you; for I am with you," says Yahweh, "to deliver you."
II. Forsaking God and His blessings for unprofitable gods is ignorant and doubly evil.
Jer 2:7 I brought you into a plentiful land, to eat its fruit and its goodness; you defiled my land 8 The priests didn’t say, ‘Where is Yahweh?’ and those who handle the law didn’t know me. The rulers also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. 9 "Therefore I will yet contend with you," 11 Has a nation changed its gods, which really are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. 12 be horribly afraid. 13 "For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters, and dug their own cisterns, that can hold no water.
III. Free will decisions to repent, be sensitive to God, and seek to do what is right in God's sight are smart and avoid evil.
Jer 4:1 "if you will return to me, and if you will put away your abominations out of my sight; then you shall not be removed; 2 swear, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ in faithfulness, in justice, and in righteousness. The nations shall bless themselves in him, in him shall they glory." 3 For thus says Yahweh to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, and don’t sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings
IV. False teachers/prophets promote independence and ritual, deny consequences for sin and God's plan to regather and bless Israel.
Jer 6:10 word of Yahweh is offensive to them; they have no delight in it 13 from the prophet to the priest every one deals falsely. 14 They have also healed the hurt of My people accursedly, Saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace. 16 Thus says Yahweh: " Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' 17 Also, I set watchmen over you...'We will not listen.' 20 Why bring frankincense? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable
V. The Wise glory in understanding and knowing God and living loyally, righteously and justly to delight God.
Jer 9:23 Yahweh: ”Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am Yahweh, exercising hesed/loyal covenantal love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. for in these I delight," says Yahweh. 25 Behold, the days are coming, that I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Moab...and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart
VI. The Servants of God suffer abuse/pain, but delight in knowing, living (to a higher standard), and loving others with God's word.
Jer 15:15 O LORD, You know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke. 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. 17 I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, for did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, for You have filled me with indignation. 18 Why is my pain perpetual...Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, As waters that fail? 19 Therefore thus says Yahweh: " If you return, Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, But you must not return to them.
VII. Those Blessed by God faithfully trust in Him rather than temporal things for their security, significance and success.
Jer 17:5 Yahweh: Cursed is the man who trusts in man, makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from Yahweh. 6 desert...shall not see when good comes 7 Blessed is the man who trusts in Yahweh, and whose hope/confidence Yahweh is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, shall not fear...yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it? 10 I, Yahweh, search the mind, I try the heart, to give every man acc to his ways, acc to the fruit of his doings. 13 hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be disappointed Those who depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken Yahweh, the spring of living waters. 23 But they didn’t listen, neither turn their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, and might not receive instruction. 24 if you diligently listen to me...
VIII. Those who repent and amend their ways cause God to relent from cursing them; those who forsake Him forfeit blessings.
Jer 18:8 if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned...10 if it does evil in my sight by not hearing/obeying my voice me, then I will repent of the good by which I had intended to benefit them. 11 Therefore, speak to Judah/Jerusalem: I am preparing disaster/evil against you: repent now everyone from his evil way, amend your ways and your doings 12 But they say, it is in vain; we will continue to follow our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts
IX. Those who seek God wholeheartedly will find Him and experience the intimacy and blessing for which God designed them.
Jer 29:10 For thus says Yahweh: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares Yahweh, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. [New Covenant Jer 31:31-40]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
- Why would God send prophets to people whom He knew would fight against and reject His words? How do His servants survive?
- Why would people reject and forsake a relationship with the Creator Redeemer for gods that don't profit? How do people trust in flesh?
- If we have the tendency to be self-deceived, how can we know our heart? How can we circumcise our heart to be sensitive to God?
- How do you know if you're listening to a false prophet, teacher, or priest (particularly if you're a young believer)?
- Which two of the above passages would it be profitable to study and apply more? How will you do that? How do you seek God?