Jeremiah 14-15

Thursday Evening Bible Study

February 3, 2005

Jeremiah 14

:1-6 The drought

:1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.

dearthbatstsoreth – dearth, drought, destitution

:2 Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

black – probably dressed in black for mourning

:3 And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.

little ones – some translations have “servants”.

All the wells were dry.

:4 Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.

chapt – parched

:5 Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.

The deer in the wild gives birth and abandons its baby.

:6 And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.

:7-9 Where is God?

:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

:8 O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?

God wasn’t responding to the people’s cries for help.  He acted like a stranger.

:9 Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.

astonied – astonished

:10-12 God won’t hear their prayers

:10 Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.

:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.

This is the third time God has told Jeremiah not to pray for the people (7:16; 11:14).

:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

fast – fasting is about learning to deny your flesh and draw near to God.

Prayer and fasting can be very beneficial.

But it can become a ritual.  Some people feel that if they fast, that God owes them something.  Not so.

God would not respond to the people’s cry for rain because they had not truly turned to Him.

:13-16 False prophets

:13 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.

This was the message that the prophets were giving.  These most likely aren’t prophets of some other god like Baal.  These are the guys at church.  These are the guys at the Temple of Yahweh.

:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.


False prophets

Prophesy is a wonderful gift from God.
But it better not be from your own imagination
It isn’t wishful thinking

(Je 14:14 NIV) {14} “The prophets are prophesying …the delusions of their own minds.

Some folks will say things and put “thus saith the Lord” on it in order to get you to do what they want you to do.

:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

God says that the things the false prophets promise won’t happen to Judah will happen to them.

:16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

The people will still be judged.

:17-22 Confession of sin

:17 Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.

:18 If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.

Very tough times.  Death from war and famine.

:19 Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul loathed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!

:20 We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.

Jeremiah is praying in the place of the people, confessing the sin of the people, even though God told him not to pray for them.  He’s saying the words, but the people don’t mean it.

:21 Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.

:22 Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.

vanitieshebel – vapour, breath; the “gods” of the Gentiles.  The Gentile gods were empty, worthless things (“vanities”), a bunch of “hot air”.

give showers – remember, there’s a drought going on.  Only Yahweh can control the storms.

Elijah demonstrated this on Mt. Carmel when he challenged the prophets of Baal.

How does God respond to the prophet Jeremiah praying for his people, saying the things that should sway God’s heart?

Jeremiah 15

:1-9 Prayer won’t keep judgment from coming

:1 Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.

God is saying that Jeremiah isn’t going to change His mind.

Moses and Samuel both prayed for God to turn away His wrath from the people (Ex. 32:9-14; 1 Sam. 7:5-11)

The people are still going to “go forth”, being taken to Babylon and judgment …

:2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.

To the nation of Judah:

You have four choices ahead of you.

Death, war, famine, or captivity.

This is very much the same message that God would speak through Ezekiel to the captives in Babylon, but in a little different way:

(Ezek 5:1-4 KJV)  And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber's razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair. {2} Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them. {3} Thou shalt also take thereof a few in number, and bind them in thy skirts. {4} Then take of them again, and cast them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire; for thereof shall a fire come forth into all the house of Israel.

What did this mean?

(Ezek 5:12-13 KJV)  A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. {13} Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them.
The people would die with famine, by war, and others would be scattered.

What about the small number hidden in the robes?

(Ezek 6:8-10 KJV)  Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. {9} And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations. {10} And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.
There would be a small remnant, those who would cling to the Lord.

:3 And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.

:4 And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.

Manasseh was one bad dude.

(2 Ki 21:1-16 KJV)  Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hephzibah.

It is a Jewish tradition that Hephzibah was the daughter of Isaiah.  They say that the reason Isaiah isn’t mentioned was because “so wicked a king was unworthy of such a grandfather”.

{2} And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. {3} For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. {4} And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. {5} And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. {6} And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. {7} And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: {8} Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them. {9} But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel. {10} And the LORD spake by his servants the prophets …

Jewish tradition has it that one of those that God spoke through to Manasseh was the prophet Isaiah

… saying, {11} Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: {12} Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. {13} And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. {14} And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; {15} Because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day. {16} Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD.

When it speaks of Manasseh shedding innocent blood, one of those Manasseh killed was the prophet Isaiah, his own grandfather.
Justin Martyr records that Isaiah was “sawn asunder” by orders of Manasseh.
The Jewish version goes like this:

``Manasseh sought to kill Isaiah, and he fled from him, and fled to a cedar, and the cedar swallowed him up, all but the fringe of his garment; they came and told him (Manasseh), he said unto them, go and saw the cedar,  "and they sawed the cedar", and blood was seen to come out.''

When the writer of Hebrews speaks of how some of the men of faith were “sawn asunder” (Heb. 11:37), it is speaking of Isaiah.

(Heb 11:37 KJV)  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

:5 For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?

:6 Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.

(Jer 15:6 NLT)  You have forsaken me and turned your back on me," says the LORD. "Therefore, I will raise my clenched fists to destroy you. I am tired of always giving you another chance.

:7 And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways.

fan – the picture is of grain being “winnowed”.  After wheat is picked, it’s taken to a threshing floor where it is beaten or crushed to separate the grain from the chaff.  Then the whole thing is tossed up in the air and the wind blows away the chaff as the grain falls to the ground.

This is a picture of how the worthless stuff is separated from the important stuff.

:8 Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.

There are more widows than we know what to do with.

:9 She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while it was yet day: she hath been ashamed and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.

Even a mother with a lot of kids will lose them all.

:10-14 Jeremiah’s problems

:10 Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.

Jeremiah is feeling sorry for himself because nobody likes him.  He hasn’t been a lender or a borrower, and people still hate him.



When we get to the point where we make a decision that we’re not just going to sit on the sidelines, but we’re going to get out into the action and serve the Lord we can sometimes be surprised when we face opposition.
Sometimes the opposition is right in your own family.
What surprises us the most is that sometimes the opposition comes from inside the church, from people that you expected would support you.
Don’t be surprised at opposition.
Some of it comes from hell itself.  Satan doesn’t want you to serve the Lord.
Some of it might be from people who are actually looking out for you – sometimes we need a little opposition to straighten up some of the crooked things in our lives.

:11 The LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.

God replies that it’s going to be okay.  These people that hate him now will be asking him for help later.


Stay true to the Lord

Some of the people around you may not appreciate that you follow after Jesus.  They may joke about you or call you “preacher boy”.
But when they’re in trouble, they’ll come to you for help.

:12 Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?

(Jer 15:12 NLT)  Can a man break a bar of iron from the north, or a bar of bronze?

The iron from the north, Babylon, won’t be stopped.  Judgment is still coming.

:13 Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders.

:14 And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you.

Judgment is coming

:15-18 Jeremiah:  Help me God

:15 O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.

:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

(Jer 15:16 NLT)  Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.



Comfort in the word

They say that certain foods are “comfort” foods – mash potatoes, hot soup, hot fudge sundaes.
Jeremiah’s comfort food was God’s Word.

:17 I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.

(Jer 15:17 NLT)  I never joined the people in their merry feasts. I sat alone because your hand was on me. I burst with indignation at their sins.

(Psa 1:1-3 KJV)  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {2} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. {3} And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

:18 Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?

(Je 15:18 NLT) {18} Why then does my suffering continue? Why is my wound so incurable? Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook. It is like a spring that has gone dry.”

God, are you going to let me down?

The pain doesn’t go away.

:19-21 Jeremiah’s restoration

:19 Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.

(Jer 15:19 NLT)  The LORD replied, "If you return to me, I will restore you so you can continue to serve me. If you speak words that are worthy, you will be my spokesman. You are to influence them; do not let them influence you!

:20 And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

God promises to help Jeremiah with all the difficult people.

:21 And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.


Jeremiah’s deliverance

Jeremiah is asked to do three things (vs. 19)
1.  Return to God
It sounds kind of funny that God is telling Jeremiah the prophet to “return” to Him.
Yet when we get in these “funks”, we have walked away from the Lord.

Whenever God seems far away, guess who moved?

When my heart is filled with complaining – could it be that I’ve wandered away from the Lord?

When Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years, they had one attitude that was consistent through the whole time – complaining.

(Heb 3:17-19 NLT)  And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn't it the people who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? {18} And to whom was God speaking when he vowed that they would never enter his place of rest? He was speaking to those who disobeyed him. {19} So we see that they were not allowed to enter his rest because of their unbelief.

2.  Take the precious from the vile
(NAS) And if you extract the precious from the worthless,
(NIV)  …if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman
It doesn’t take a lot of words to influence people, just the right words.
preciousyaqar – valuable, prized, weighty, precious, rare, splendid
vile – zalal – to be worthless, be vile, be insignificant, be light
I think sometimes I focus on too much of the negative, complaining kinds of things that get into my heart.  I would imagine that falls into the category of the “vile”.

When Rehoboam became king after Solomon’s death, he was faced with a problem.  The people had gotten tired of Solomon’s harsh labor laws and wanted a break.  Rehoboam wasn’t sure what to do, so he asked advice from two different groups of people:

(1 Ki 12:7-11 NLT)  The older counselors replied, "If you are willing to serve the people today and give them a favorable answer, they will always be your loyal subjects." {8} But Rehoboam rejected the advice of the elders and instead asked the opinion of the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. {9} "What is your advice?" he asked them. "How should I answer these people who want me to lighten the burdens imposed by my father?" {10} The young men replied, "This is what you should tell those complainers: 'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist--if you think he was hard on you, just wait and see what I'll be like! {11} Yes, my father was harsh on you, but I'll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I'll use scorpions!'"

Rehoboam listened to the young men.  It sounded pretty macho.  It appealed to his ego.  And it was the wrong decision.  It resulted in a civil war and the kingdom of Israel was divided into two nations.

3.  Influence, don’t be influenced
One of the reasons we allow others to influence us is because we want to be liked by them.  We’re looking for love in all the wrong places.

But if you get that love you’re looking for from the Lord, then you don’t “need” those other people to like you and instead of them influencing you, you can influence them.

Be a trend setter.