Jeremiah 29-30

Thursday Evening Bible Study

March 17, 2005

Jeremiah 29

:1-3 Jeremiah writes to Babylon captives

This is his 1st letter to the exiles.

(NKJV) :1 Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive; to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon.

:2 (This happened after Jeconiah the king, the queen mother, the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the smiths had departed from Jerusalem.)

:3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, saying,

In 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar took about 10,000 people captive off to Babylon (Jeremiah recorded over 3,000 males taken captive, Jer. 52:28). This is a letter that was written to those people. We know that Daniel knew of this letter – he uses this letter as part of his prayers (Dan. 9).

:4-9 Settle down in Babylon

:4 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon:

:5 Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit.

:6 Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters; that you may be increased there, and not diminished.

:7 And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace you will have peace.


Grow where you are

Sometimes we think we need to “move on” to be able to grow.
Some people try to improve life by changing jobs, changing spouse, or moving to another state.
I think there’s a time to learn to bloom where you are planted.
Seek the prosperity of the place you’re in.
(1 Tim 2:1-2 NKJV) Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, {2} for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

:8 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.

:9 For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the LORD.

These false prophets were causing the people to keep their bags packed when God wanted them to settle down.

:10-14 Seventy years then restoration

:10 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.

:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.


God’s plans

Keep in mind, this is being written to people who have lost everything, people who have been taken off to Babylon as slaves.
If anything, they must think that God’s plans are to destroy them.
But that is not God’s heart towards His children.
(Rom 8:28 NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
If we love God, then we can have confidence that a promise like Rom. 8:28 or Jer. 29:11 applies to us.
(Rom 12:1-2 NKJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
When we give ourselves completely to God, we will “prove” that God’s will for us is “good”, “acceptable”, and “perfect”.
You may be going through difficult times, but if you are God’s child, then you don’t need to be afraid. You don’t need to be afraid of what God is thinking. He’s thinking thoughts of peace. He’s got a future and a hope for you.
Have you ever heard of the unusual account of how the news of the battle of Waterloo reached England? The word was carried first by sailing ship to the southern coast. From there it was relayed by signal flags to London. When the report was received at Winchester, the flags on the cathedral began to spell it out: “Wellington defeated...” Before the message could be completed, however, a heavy fog moved in. Gloom filled the hearts of the people as the fragmentary news spread throughout the surrounding countryside. But when the mists began to lift, it became evident that the signals of Winchester Cathedral had really spelled out this triumphant message: “Wellington defeated the enemy!”
Too often we allow the future to be colored by what we understand at the moment. We have a tendency to become so absorbed with our current difficulties that we forget God’s faithfulness in the past.

:12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

This is just what Daniel did (Dan. 9:1-3). When he read and pondered on Jeremiah’s prophecy, he responded by praying for his people.

:13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

:14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

God’s restoration

:15-20 Jerusalem rotten, will be destroyed

:15 Because you have said, "The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon";

They had prophets in Babylon who were telling people that Jerusalem was going to be fine and that they’d soon all be going home.

:16 therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, concerning all the people who dwell in this city, and concerning your brethren who have not gone out with you into captivity;

:17 thus says the LORD of hosts: Behold, I will send on them the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, and will make them like rotten figs that cannot be eaten, they are so bad.

Jeremiah had had a vision (Jer. 24) about two baskets of figs – one basket of good figs, the other of rotten figs. The good figs were a picture of those who had been taken into exile, the rotten figs were the folks still left in Jerusalem. He’s talking here about those in Jerusalem, the “bad” figs.

:18 And I will pursue them with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence; and I will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth; to be a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them,

:19 because they have not heeded My words, says the LORD, which I sent to them by My servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; neither would you heed, says the LORD.

:20 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all you of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon.

Things weren’t going to get better in Jerusalem.

:21-23 Warning for false prophets

:21 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who prophesy a lie to you in My name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall slay them before your eyes.

False prophets

:22 And because of them a curse shall be taken up by all the captivity of Judah who are in Babylon, saying, "The LORD make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire";

They would be thrown into the fire. Nebuchadnezzar must have like doing this. Daniel 3 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were threatened with the fiery furnace.

:23 because they have done disgraceful things in Israel, have committed adultery with their neighbors' wives, and have spoken lying words in My name, which I have not commanded them. Indeed I know, and am a witness, says the LORD.


Ministry and Life

They not only spoke false prophecies, but they lived immoral lives as well.
There’s a connection between the truth of what a person says and the lifestyle they live.
(1 Tim 3:1-5 NKJV) This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. {2} A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; {3} not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; {4} one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence {5} (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?);

Your home life is a picture of what you’re really like.

I know one pastor who when he’s interviewing someone for a possible ministry position will take the wife aside and ask her what the man is really like.

:24-32 Shemaiah warned

This is now Jeremiah’s 2nd letter to the exiles.

After his first letter, a fellow named Shemaiah wrote back to Jerusalem telling the people to make Jeremiah shut up. This is a response to Shemaiah’s letter.

Shemaiah is trying to get the priest Zephaniah to put pressure on Jeremiah to stop his prophecies.

:24 You shall also speak to Shemaiah the Nehelamite, saying,

:25 Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are at Jerusalem, to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying,

:26 "The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, so that there should be officers in the house of the LORD over every man who is demented and considers himself a prophet, that you should put him in prison and in the stocks.

demented – he’s referring to Jeremiah.

:27 Now therefore, why have you not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth who makes himself a prophet to you?

:28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, 'This captivity is long; build houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit.'"

:29 Now Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet.

Instead of putting Jeremiah into prison, Zephaniah reads Jeremiah the letter from Shemaiah.

Apparently Zephaniah wasn’t going to let Shemaiah push him around. He apparently accepted Jeremiah as a prophet.

Zephaniah is called the “second priest” alongside the high priest Seraiah. Zephaniah would eventually be killed at the overthrow of Jerusalem (Jer. 52:24-27).

:30 Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying:

:31 Send to all those in captivity, saying, Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah the Nehelamite: Because Shemaiah has prophesied to you, and I have not sent him, and he has caused you to trust in a lie;

:32 therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I will punish Shemaiah the Nehelamite and his family: he shall not have anyone to dwell among this people, nor shall he see the good that I will do for My people, says the LORD, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD.

Harsh words for this fellow who wanted to control things. Neither he nor his family would see the time when the people would be restored back to the land.

Notes: This wasn’t Jeremiah’s angry response, it was God’s response.

Jeremiah 30

Jeremiah 30-33 are called Jeremiah’s “Book of Consolation”. Just before the nation of Judah goes into it’s final moments, God sends this word of future hope and restoration.

:1-3 Keep a record

(NKJV) :1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,

:2 "Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: 'Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.

:3 'For behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,' says the LORD. 'And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.'"

Jeremiah was to make a record of all his prophecies. The record was for the future.

If Jeremiah’s prophecies concerning the Babylonian captivity came true, what about his prophecies that are still yet future?

You can count on God’s Word.
The reliability of the prophecies in the past point to the reliability of God’s Word now.

:4-11 God will restore Israel

:4 Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah.

Some of the content of these prophecies apply to Jeremiah’s day, and the return of the people from Babylon. Some of it will go far to the future, when Jesus returns the second time to set up His kingdom on earth.

The fact that this is speaking of both the northern (Israel) and the southern (Judah) kingdoms speaks of the future. The northern kingdom is not around in Jeremiah’s day.

:5 "For thus says the LORD: 'We have heard a voice of trembling, Of fear, and not of peace.

:6 Ask now, and see, Whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins Like a woman in labor, And all faces turned pale?

:7 Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it.

Jacob’s trouble – this is a phrase that also refers to the coming Tribulation on the earth described in the book of Revelation

:8 'For it shall come to pass in that day,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'That I will break his yoke from your neck, And will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them.

in that day – referring to “the Day of the Lord”.

This is the time period that encompasses the Tribulation and the Return of Jesus Christ to judge and rule the earth.

Jeremiah had been wearing a wooden yoke to symbolize the enslavement of Judah by the nation of Babylon.

Earlier, one of the false prophets had tried to say that God had broken the yoke, but it wasn’t true. God said He would replace the wooden yoke with an iron one.

But there will be a day when the yoke will be broken.

It was partially broken when the Jews returned from Babylon, but not completely and eternally.
True freedom for the Jews won’t come until Jesus returns.
The freedom then will be from the yoke of the antichrist.


Suffering to freedom

Though this is talking about an event coming where the Jews will endure the suffering of the Tribulation period and in the end be freed from slavery to antichrist, it’s also a principle in Scripture.
(1 Pet 4:1-2 NKJV) Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, {2} that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
It’s not that we have to “beat the sin out” of our bodies.
We need to have the “same mind” as Jesus, willing to do what is necessary to conquer sin.
God will use our suffering to draw us closer to Him.
Jesus broke the bondage of sin for us on the cross, and somehow this becomes a practical example for us to follow. Don’t run from suffering.

:9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.

This is definitely in the future. There has not been a king sitting on a throne over Israel since the time of Zedekiah.

Who is this referring to?

It could be referring to Jesus, a descendant of David.

Some have suggested it refers to David himself, whom God will raise from the dead.

(Ezek 34:23-24 NKJV) "I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them; My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. {24} "And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.

:10 'Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the LORD, 'Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, And your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him afraid.

save you from afar – rescue you from distant lands.

(Mat 24:31 NKJV) "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

:11 For I am with you,' says the LORD, 'to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, Yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, And will not let you go altogether unpunished.'

Though God would wipe out these other nations, God would not wipe out Israel.

This is a promise for the Jews now just as it will be when Jesus comes back.

:12-17 Incurable wounds

:12 "For thus says the LORD: 'Your affliction is incurable, Your wound is severe.

:13 There is no one to plead your cause, That you may be bound up; You have no healing medicines.

:14 All your lovers have forgotten you; They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, With the chastisement of a cruel one, For the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased.

:15 Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, Because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you.

Israel’s afflictions had come because of their sins.

Sin causes “incurable” wounds.

There is no human remedy for sin. You can’t wash it away with soap. You can’t bleach it with chlorine bleach.

(Rom 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death…

:16 'Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; Those who plunder you shall become plunder, And all who prey upon you I will make a prey.

:17 For I will restore health to you And heal you of your wounds,' says the LORD, 'Because they called you an outcast saying: "This is Zion; No one seeks her."'


Healed at the cross

Though God had allowed Judah to be wounded, He would be the one that brings healing.
How would God bring healing?
(Isa 53:5 KJV) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
A man dies and goes to heaven. Of course, St. Peter meets him at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter says, “Here’s how it works. You need 100 points to make it into heaven. You tell me all the good things you’ve done, and I give you a certain number of points for each item, depending on how good it was. When you reach 100 points, you get in. “Okay,” the man says, “I was married to the same woman for 50 years and never cheated on her, even in my heart.” “That’s wonderful,” says St. Peter, “that’s worth three points!” “Three points?” he says. “Well, I attended church all my life and supported its ministry with my tithe and service.” “Terrific!” says St. Peter. “That’s certainly worth a point.” “One point!?!!” “I started a soup kitchen in my city and worked in a shelter for homeless veterans.” “Fantastic, that’s good for two more points,” he says. “Two points!?!!” Exasperated, the man cries. “At this rate the only way I’ll get into heaven is by the grace of God.” “Bingo, 100 points! Come on in!”
The healing came at the cross.
Jesus died for our sins.
He paid a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.

:18-22 Jerusalem will be restored and rebuilt

:18 "Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob's tents, And have mercy on his dwelling places; The city shall be built upon its own mound, And the palace shall remain according to its own plan.

moundtel – mound, heap, heap of ruins

Though there was a partial fulfillment of this after the Babylonian captivity, another fulfillment has happened as Jerusalem today has been rebuilt upon ruins.

:19 Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving And the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.

:20 Their children also shall be as before, And their congregation shall be established before Me; And I will punish all who oppress them.

I sure hope America continues to be “pro-Israel”.

:21 Their nobles shall be from among them, And their governor shall come from their midst; Then I will cause him to draw near, And he shall approach Me; For who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?' says the LORD.

:22 'You shall be My people, And I will be your God.'"

:23-24 God’s whirlwind

:23 Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD Goes forth with fury, A continuing whirlwind; It will fall violently on the head of the wicked.

whirlwind – the Tribulation is compared to a storm, a tempest, a whirlwind.

:24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, And until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.

The Tribulation is called a time of “wrath”.

(Rev 6:17 NKJV) "For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"

Yet we as the church will not be in the Tribulation because …

1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,