Learning from Jeremiah 19-25
19:1-20:6 - ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stubborn and would not listen to My Word’ (15). God is warning the people. He is calling them back from the way of sin and disobedience. He is calling them to return to Him. He is looking for people who will take Him seriously. He calls us to live in obedience to His Word. He calls us to worship Him with the dedication of our lives and not only the words of our lips. Sometimes, we wonder, ‘Will God’s blessing be lost forever? Is there a way of rediscovering His blessing in our lives?’. ‘There’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin. There’s a door that is open and you may go in. At Calvary’s Cross is where you begin, when you come as a sinner to Jesus’ (Mission Praise. 682).
20:7-18 - Jeremiah is deeply depressed - ‘Cursed be the day I was born!... Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?’ (14-18). He has been preaching God’s Word. He’s getting nothing but abuse in return: ‘The Word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long’ (8). Does he stop preaching ? No! He keeps on going. He feels like giving up: ‘If I say, “I will not mention Him or speak any more in His Name”’. There is, however, a greater Power which drives him on - ‘His Word is in my heart like a fire’. No matter how much Jeremiah tries to keep silent, he ‘cannot’ do it (9). He moves forward in triumphant faith: ‘The Lord is with me like a mighty warrior’ (11). He calls on the people to worship the Lord: ‘Sing to the Lord! Give praise to the Lord!’ (13).
21:1-14 - ‘Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders for us as in times past...’ (2). That was then. What about now? We must not assume that God will always bless us. Yesterday’s blessing belongs to the past. We must not live in the past. We must not say, ‘He has blessed us in the past. He will keep on blessing us’. Do you want to keep on enjoying God’s blessing? Keep on seeking His blessing. If we do not seek the Lord, there will be no promise of blessing. We will hear a very different Word from the Lord: ‘I have determined to do this city harm and not good... I will punish as your deeds deserve’ (10,14). Don’t take God’s blessing for granted. You could be ‘in for a rude awakening’ - if you do not start seeking the Lord. Start seeking Him today: ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart’ (29:13).
22:1-30 - Jeremiah was speaking to people who had given up on worshipping the Lord (9). His message was clear: ‘O land, land, land, hear the Word of the Lord?’ (29). God is speaking His Word. Are we listening? God is looking for people who will listen to Him. He wants us to pay attention to His Word. God’s Word is like ‘the sound of a trumpet’. It demands our attention. Many people say, ‘We will not listen’. God’s Word shows us ‘the good way’ and calls us to ‘walk in it’. Many people say, ‘We will not walk in it’. What about you? What do you say? What is your response to the Word of the Lord? God is warning us: ‘I am bringing disaster on this people... because they have not listened to My Word’. Don’t bring this judgment on yourself. Listen to God’s Word. Walk in His way (6:16-19).
23:1-20 - ‘Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!’ (1). We are not to be like the false ‘prophets’: ‘They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord’. What were the false ‘prophets’ saying? - ‘They keep saying to those who despise Me, “The Lord says: You will have peace”. To all those who follow the stubbornness of their hearts, they say, “No harm will come to you”’ (16-17). God is calling us to be faithful. It will not be easy. Often, we will be tempted to ‘take the easy way out’. We will feel the pull of the world: ‘Just be the same as everybody else’. This may seem to be the ‘easy’ option. There is something else we must remember: It is also ‘the broad road that leads to destruction’. Let us follow Christ on ‘the narrow road which leads to life’ (Matthew 7:13-14).
23:21-40 - ‘I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied’ (21). Before we can speak for God, we must take time to listen to Him. We dare not attempt to speak for God if we are not prepared to spend time listening to Him. Everything could have been so different - if ‘these prophets’ had taken time to listen to God: ‘If they had stood in My council, they would have proclaimed My words to My people and would have turned them from their evil ways’ (22). ‘If’ - God doesn’t force us to listen to His Word. He invites us to listen. The choice is ours. You can allow other things to become more important than spending time with God. Don’t be ‘too busy’ for the ‘one thing’ that is more important than anything else - listening to God’s Word (Luke 10:41-42).
24:1-25:14 - Can our lives be changed? Yes! They can be changed by God: ‘I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord’. This is no superficial change. This is real change, change which makes a difference. This is a change of heart: ‘they shall return to Me with their whole heart’ (7). How are we changed? We are changed by God: ‘I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live’ (Ezekiel 37:14). We become new people - ‘alive to God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 6:11). This is the great change, the change that makes all the difference. It’s not just a little change here and there. It’s everywhere. No part of our life remains the same. Every part of life is changed. When there’s a real change of heart, everything changes - ‘all things have become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). ‘Change my heart, O God...’ (Mission Praise, 69).
25:15-38 - ‘I am beginning to bring disaster on the city that bears My Name’ (29). With the privilege of being the Lord’s people comes the responsibilty of living as the Lord’s people. We are not to be His people in name only. We are to live the life of the people of God. We must not imagine that we can enjoy the privilege of being God’s people if we are not prepared to bear the responsibility of living as His people. Privilege and resonsibility belong together: ‘You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins’ (Amos 3:2). We cannot say, ‘I belong to the Lord’ and then live whatever way we like. To those who have been ‘raised with Christ’, receiving new life through faith in Him, God says, ‘Set your hearts and minds on things above, not on earthly things’ (Colossians 3:1-2).