The Scriptorium

Trouble Looming

Jeremiah's third messages to Judah is the most troubling yet. Jeremiah 4.5-18

Judgment: Jeremiah 4-6 (2)

Pray Psalm 83.16-18.

Fill their faces with shame,
That they may seek Your name, O LORD.
Let them be confounded and dismayed forever;
Yes, let them be put to shame and perish,
That they may know that You, whose name alone is the LORD,
Are the Most High over all the earth.

Sing Psalm 83.16-18.
(St. Chrysostom: We Have not Known Thee as We Ought)
Fill with dishonor every face that they may seek Your Name, O Lord.
Bring them to shame, dismay, and disgrace, and let them perish under Your Word,
That they may learn Your infinite worth, O God Most High of all the earth!

Read Jeremiah 4.1-18; meditate on verses 5-18

Prepare.
1. What does God threaten in these verses?

2. How did Jeremiah respond to that message?

Meditate.
Jeremiah is given a third message for the people of Jerusalem and Judah. This Word is more explicit: Trouble and destruction are looming in the form of judgment out of the north.

This Word from the Lord seems to have caught Jeremiah off guard, as we see in his objection in verse 10. God had indeed promised peace for His people (cf. Jer. 3.15-18), but that was for the longer term. In the short term, a powerful nation from the north was coming to bring judgment and destruction against the people of Judah and Jerusalem (vv. 5-9). The Babylonians would come like a devouring lion to lay waste to all the land (v. 7). Not even the king would be able to stand against the power of God expressed through Nebuchadnezzar’s army (v. 9).

Babylon will come like the wind, their chariots like a tornado (vv. 11-13), to execute the judgment of the Lord. This will be no cooling breeze, but a destructive force of judgment (v. 12).

This third sermon includes a call to repentance as well (v. 14), but without any expectation that the people will hear and return to the Lord (vv. 15-18). The entire nation is targeted for judgment – all the cities and fields of Judah. The reason is clear: The people of God hold bitterness in their hearts against Him (v. 18).

The heart is the heart of the matter in our relationship with God. He commands us to love Him with all our heart; anything less than that is idolatry. God will not sit by and take second place to any idols, whether Moloch and Baal or wealth, ease, work, and things. If we will not circumcise our hearts with faith in Jesus and the cleansing Presence of His Spirit, we can expect God to move against us, that we may be restored to the path of righteousness (Heb. 12.3-11).

Reflect.
1. How can you tell when there is bitterness in your heart toward God? What should you do then?

2. What kinds of things try to distract us from loving God with all our heart? How can we know when we have begun to love such things more than God?

3. Why did God send this judgment against Judah and Jerusalem? Why does He discipline His people yet today?

Here then God, in his office as a judge, declares that a wind was nigh, by which he would dissipate and overthrow the whole of Judea, and would no more cleanse it. And thus he shews, that the Chaldeans would not of themselves come, but would be sent to execute his orders; as though he had said, ― that he would be the author of those calamities which were impending over the Jews: come, then, shall wind unto me; that is, it will be ready to obey my orders. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 4.11-13

Cleanse my heart, Lord, that I may love You truly and serve You faithfully as I…

Pray Psalm 83.1-15.

Pray for Christians around the world who are being persecuted for their faith. Pray for the Church in our country, that we might repent and return wholeheartedly to the Lord.

Sing Psalm 83.1-15
Psalm 83.1-15 (St. Chrysostom: We Have not Known Thee as We Ought)
O God, do not be quiet now; do not be silent, nor be still!
See how Your foes erupt in a row and those who hate You chafe at Your will.
Shrewdly they plan, conspiring as one, against Your daughters and Your sons.

“Come, let us wipe them out,” they say. “Let Israel’s name no more be heard!”
Bold they conspire to do us away, and covenant against You, O Lord.
Peoples and nations cast in their lot for this ambitious, wicked plot.

Deal with them, Lord, and bring them down, as You against old foes prevailed,
when You Midian cast to the ground and all her kings and princes assailed –
All who Your pastures sought to possess You brought to ruin and deep distress.

Make them like whirling dust, O God!  Scatter them like the windblown chaff!
Rage like a fire consuming a wood, like flames that burn a mountain pass!
Blow like a tempest, bring them to harm, and terrify them with Your storm!

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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