‘’A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out.’’ (7a).
In this section and the next one, which we will read tomorrow, the invader ‘’from the north’’ (6) is depicted in two word pictures: as a roaring lion and a rushing wind. Both will bring devastation. The remainder of chapter 4 portrays judgment on Judah. The speaker throughout is Jeremiah, but he is pronouncing God’s Word, and the speech is sometimes directly God’s (e.g. v 6b).
God’s Word is so sure; so certain, that Jeremiah can speak of the coming judgment as if it has already taken place (7, 8; for a positive version of this see Romans 8:30. The Roman Christians were not yet ‘’glorified’’, but as far as Paul was concerned it was as good as done!) We can have complete confidence in what God’s Word says, whether it comes in promising or threatening form, or a combination of both.
The political and spiritual leaders led the way in rejecting Jeremiah and his message (9), but their tune would change when the Babylonian ‘’lion’’ came near their homes, and their towns and cities; when they heard his terrifying roar and saw his teeth and claws. (Note, though, that the beast is not yet identified as Babylon.) The people who mock Noah cease their jeering when the rain starts, but then it is too late. (The exposure of the leaders in this verse does not diminish the responsibility of everyone who resisted God’s Word.)
In (10) Jeremiah is referring to the words of false prophets who contradicted him and falsely promised peace to an unrepentant people. God is ‘’Sovereign’’ and obviously permitted their preaching. But that does not mean that He was responsible for it. It doesn’t mean that he sent these so-called prophets. God’s only response, as we shall see, is to confirm that judgment is certain. People today who preach that you can live rejecting Christ and the gospel and still expect no negative consequences in the next life are similarly perverting the truth. They are dishing out false hope. Although the Lord allows this, we must never think that He approves it. The false prophets in Jeremiah’s day helped to bring about physical damage and destruction, but something far worse is at stake in false preaching today.
Prayer: Lord please forgive us if we have distorted your gospel in any way, preaching only love and grace, and missing out warning and repentance. Help us stay true to truth.