The Scriptorium

The Heart of God

He sorrows, but He will not relent. Jeremiah 4.19-31

Judgment: Jeremiah 4-6 (3)

Pray Psalm 81.13-16.
“Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever.
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.”

Sing Psalm 81.13-15 (8)

(St. Petersburg: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
Now let us all abandon our ways and listen to God, and offer Him praise!
Our foes He will so quickly subdue, extending His hand to save and renew.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Then even those despising the Lord would falsely obey and follow His Word;
in vain they seem to follow His way, yet judgment awaits on God’s chosen day.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!’

Read Jeremiah 4.1-31; meditate on verses 19-31.

Prepare.
1. How would you describe God’s attitude toward the coming judgment of Jerusalem and Judah?

2. How will God’s people respond when judgment falls?

Meditate.
It brought God no joy to pronounce judgment on His people. Jeremiah reflected the heart of God in this part of his message, as we see the Lord, through the prophet, “pained” in His heart over Judah’s rebellion (v. 19). Terrible destruction is coming because the people of God have been foolish (vv. 20-22). They have turned away from the knowledge of God and have chosen evil rather than good as their path in life (v. 22).

Jeremiah can see the judgment coming, and it will be terrible, like the earth before any of God’s good creation was called forth (vv. 23-26). Although desolation is coming, yet God promises not to “make a full end” (v. 27). A remnant will return, and soon God will speak to them.

For now, Judah’s folly will leave them desolate, and nothing they might do to appeal to their destroyers will spare them the anguish of destruction and captivity (vv. 28-31).

But there is still hope. The fact that Jeremiah cast this great suffering and destruction in the image of a woman giving birth suggests that something new is coming, that new life will again come to the people (v. 31, cf. v. 27). Indeed, God is preparing a new covenant for His people, and Jeremiah will declare the details of that arrangement in due course.

Reflect.
1. Why is the heart of God “pained” to see His people languishing in sin? Should our hearts feel this way about sin?

2. God’s judgment against His people is always to cleanse and return them to Himself. How can you see that in these verses?

3. What can we do as believers to keep from becoming “silly children” who “have no understanding” and are “wise to do evil??

But you are a people hard-hearted and without understanding, both blind and lame, children without faith, as he himself says, honoring him only with your lips, far from him in your hearts, teaching doctrines that are your own and not his. Justin Martyr (100-165), Dialogue with Trypho 27

Keep me in the way of wisdom, O God, so that I will…

Pray Psalm 81.1-8.

Pray for the people of God, the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Pray that God might lead us to repentance, and send revival.

Sing Psalm 81.8.
Psalm 81.1-8 (St. Petersburg: My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)
O sing for joy to Jesus our strength; to Jacob’s great God shout joyfully at length!
And strike the drum, and offer a song; all instruments, your glad music prolong.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Let every kind of instrument play to celebrate God’s deliverance today.
It is His statute and His command to worship and praise all over the land.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

Declare His mercy, tell of His grace; our enemies flee the look of His face.
In mighty deeds strong witness He gave, and powerf’ly did His chosen ones save.
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

God set us free from bondage to sin and graciously brought us near Him again;
He rescued us whenever we cried and often our falt’ring confidence tried:
“O Israel, hear, admonished now be; My people, repent, return to Me!”

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.
Books by T. M. Moore