1 – Jeremiah 1:4-6 (ESV) 4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” Jeremiah 1:8 (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
RAF: One would imagine that if he were a prophet of God, chosen and sent, then the path would be safe and surely people would receive him. But it is not so. Many a Christian is shocked that sent as God’s ambassadors with the Good News, the Gospel, men would not receive them kindly. But here, Jeremiah’s very call is attended by instruction to not be afraid, and that God will deliver him. He knows this then, he will meet with fearful circumstances in the course of discharging his duties, and such that, at times, he will to be delivered by divine means. So ought we to anticipate the same. And all this – as he is sent not to the world – but to God’s own people.
2 – Jeremiah 1:9-10 (ESV) 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.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
RAF: Many are the ministries who want only one half of our commission in declaring God’s Word. Some, imagine the declaration of divine truth is primarily or solely in plucking up, breaking down, destroying and overthrowing. That it is judgment and judgment only. Their own sinfulness is drawn to this necessary aspect, and then they go on to imagine it is wrapped up in the condemnation of all sorts of people and things. Others, imagine the dissemination of God’s Word to be located in building and planting alone. They so love consoling and bring men joy, they run from any of the hard and negative work which must often be done. They only want to heal, but never to righteously wound. Balanced Biblical ministry requires both. Challenging sin and wrong belief systems with a deliberate eye toward their destruction, and the preaching of peace in Christ to the saving of souls. We, like Jeremiah here, are not given the privilege to choose which will do – we are commissioned to do both. Those laboring in God’s fields need to know how to break up hard ground, violently plow it, and attack and pluck up weeds and other dangerous enemies absent remorse, as well as to plant, water, nurture, prune and bring to fruitfulness.
3 – Jeremiah 3:15-18 (ESV) 15 “ ‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
RAF: While we anticipate God’s great restoration of His earthly covenant people in the future – we do not know what exactly that will look like. Paul in Romans makes in some way to be coterminous with the resurrection and Christ’s return. This passage then gives us some hint that such a restoration will not be to the Judaical system as it then stood. Most startingly, will be the absolute transformation of worship under and entirely new economy. Here, that transformation is maked by the absence of its very core – the Ark of the Covenant. This was the center of all Jewish worship. Above it or between the wings of the cherubim is where God manifested His presence. It is the mercy seat. It is the place of atonement. This, will be utterly gone. A new day will dawn where such types and shadows will be replaced by their fulfillment in Christ. This is why the present day trend to blend jewsh worship back into Christian worship is so wrong headed. God is moving toward the abandonment of these things in Christ’s fulfillment of them, and today, many want to go back to them.
4 – Jeremiah 6:13 (ESV) 13“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
RAF: When gain in this life and as the world measures it governs our motives, God’s judgment is always at the door. Modern movements which have brought this mentality into the Church are doomed to suffer the crushing hand of our God upon them. Our hope is in Heaven. Our treasure is the same Christ who makes us His treasure. To soil that reality with pleas to seek and desire earthly gain and mere financial wealth as a by-product of Christ’s death at Calvary is the very definition of obscenity.
5 – Jeremiah 7:9-11 (ESV) 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord.
RAF: Christians who believe we can trifle with sin because of grace, have no idea what grace is. Grace is not freedom TO sin, but grace brings the freedom NOT to sin. The grace filled heart and mind is always seeking how to break sin’s bonds. A Christian may indeed struggle with a besetting sin for years. But they struggle with it – that’s the point. It breaks their heart, and it results in deep anguish and shame. They may expereince seasons of greater or lesser success in their victory over it – but they are characterized by taking it seriously, and struggling against it. Those who have mistaken grace for license, will be judged as those who had no pretended relationship to Christ and His saving work at all. “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
6 – Jeremiah 7:17-19 (ESV) 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 19 Is it I whom they provoke? declares the Lord. Is it not themselves, to their own shame?
RAF: How are you involving your children in your sin? Or your spouse? Or your neighborhood, city, state or nation? It is a good question to ask ourselves.
7 – Jeremiah 9:1-3 (ESV) Oh that my head were waters,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!
2 Oh that I had in the desert
a travelers’ lodging place,
that I might leave my people
and go away from them!
For they are all adulterers,
a company of treacherous men.
3 They bend their tongue like a bow;
falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land;
for they proceed from evil to evil,
and they do not know me, declares the Lord.
RAF: What is stunning about these verses is that they are a declaration of the Lord (vs. 3) and not simply Jeremiah’s words. Imagine this then, the God of Israel says “you know what? I can’t weep enough for you! I am so grieved, I could wish there was a way I could go somewhere so that I did not see your condition.” What an amazing revelation of the passion in the bosom of our God! How He allows Himself to enter into such things when in His nature He is eternally happy and filled with joy. You can hear this echoed again in Jesus’ words in Matt. 23:37. Yet this is how He reacts to sin. How much then ought we? How is it we are so indifferent, when the very heart of God is so moved at what it does to His people? Astounding.