The Scriptorium

Hearts of Stone

We see the true hearts of these rebellious people. Jeremiah 44.15-30

Judgment in Egypt: Jeremiah 43-45 (4)

Pray Psalm 56.3, 4.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?

Sing Psalm 56.3, 4.
(Morecambe: Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart)
When I’m afraid I’ll put my trust in You,
You, Lord, Whose everlasting Word I praise;
I will not fear what foes to me might do,
but will in faith to You my crying raise.

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 44.15-30.

Prepare.
1. How did the people respond to Jeremiah’s preaching about being in Egypt?

2. What was Jeremiah’s message to them after that?

Meditate.
If we had any doubts about the hearts of these people, this passage should dispel them once and for all.

The people blew up at Jeremiah. We can hear the rage, the fury, and the murderous tone of their voices, as they declare that they will not listen to Jeremiah, and that they will continue to worship false gods (vv. 15-19).

Yes, sin makes you stupid. These people saw what happened to Jerusalem and all of Judah, as Jeremiah and many other prophets had been warning. And they understood the reason for it – idolatry, immorality, worship of false gods, despite for God’s Law. But they were too prideful or too stupid (“dazed and unable to think clearly,” OED) to abandon those ungodly practices, repent, and return to the Lord.

What would you do in response to such an outburst? Jeremiah redoubled the stakes and pressed on (vv. 20-30). He rebuked the people for not paying attention to God’s judgment (vv. 21.-23). He reviewed what they had said to him, and their determination to continue worshiping false gods (vv. 24, 25). And then he told them that God was done with them, once and for all: “My name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt” (v. 26). And worse was coming: Though some would escape the sword that God was bringing on Egypt, most would perish along with Pharaoh Hophra and his armies when Nebuchadnezzar returned to finish the work of God (vv. 27-30).

It takes God-given courage – like Jesus consistently displayed – to stand up to an angry crowd and say, “This is what the Lord says.” But in the strength of God, Jeremiah was able, as Jesus was able in His day, and as we can be enabled to in our day. Jeremiah’s bold stance for the truth foreshadowed that of our Lord Jesus. And Jesus’ stand means that we must also stand with Him, offering the grace of God and calling people to repent and believe the Good News. They may revile and threaten us. But some of them will escape the wrath to come when they hear the Lord Jesus bearing witness through us.

Reflect.
1. How was Jeremiah’s ministry a foreshadowing of the ministry of Jesus?

2. What can we learn from Jeremiah to help us in working our Personal Mission Field?

3. Why is it important that we, like Jeremiah and Jesus, call people to repent and to believe the Gospel?

Whence, he says, has this dreadful calamity proceeded, which has destroyed all your race? Even from the wrath of God, for it has not happened to you by chance, for God had by his servants predicted what afterwards has been really fulfilled. It then follows, that your city has been destroyed through the righteous judgment of God. And what has been the cause of so great and so grievous a vengeance? Even your incense. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 44.20

Give me grace, O Lord, to be courageous for You today as I…

Pray Psalm 56.1, 2, 5-13.

For whom are you praying to be able to share the Gospel? What opportunities for speaking the truth of God will you have today? Commit them to the Lord.

Sing Psalm 56.1, 2, 5-13.
Psalm 56.1, 2, 5-13 (Morecambe: Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart)
Savior, be gracious, gracious unto me!
Weary, I seek the shelter of Your wings.
Till trouble passes, till my sighings flee.
I seek the Lord Who for me does all things.

Wickedly how my foes distort my words;
constant attacks and snares await my way.
Pour out Your wrath, consume them, mighty Lord!
Bring evil to its end, O Lord, I pray!

Lord, see my wand’rings, see my anxious tears!
Help me to trust and praise Your holy Word.
Gladly I know that when I call You hear;
I will not fear but trust in You, O Lord.

I will not fear what foes might do to me.
I give You thanks, my vows will I renew.
You have redeemed me, set my spirit free,
and ever in Your light I’ll walk with You.

T. M. Moore

You can also now listen to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study. Click here for Jeremiah 39-42. You can also download for free all the weekly studies in this series on the book of Jeremiah by clicking here.

Check out the special offer on our book The Church Captive. Are churches today captive like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day? Order your copy of The Church Captive and decide for yourself (click here).

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