Proclamation: However much we may think we know our Bibles, we need to be reminded of what’s in them. The content of God’s Word is not to be treated as theory; it is for life. God has never left His people in any era, in any doubt as to what He requires of them. ‘’The terms are clear. I made them plain to your ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt…’’ The Message. If we choose to ignore ‘the Maker’s instructions’, we are responsible for the consequences. The preacher’s task is to ‘’Listen’’ to God’s Word, and then ‘’tell’’ (2). It is to say, ‘’Amen, LORD’’ (5b) to whatever He tells you to say. Jeremiah was to remind the people of Judah and of Jerusalem of ‘’the terms of this covenant’’ (2). This refers to the covenant God made with the Israelites at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:1-8). Moses had commanded that the words of the law should be read periodically to the Israelites (Deut.31:9-13). That is what Jeremiah does here. Rewards were promised for those who kept the terms of God’s covenant (Leviticus 26:3-13), but curses were promised for those who didn’t (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 27:26; 28:15-68). Furthermore, if they did obey, God had promised them a land ‘’flowing with milk and honey’’ (5; see Exodus 3:8). He had sworn to give this land to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 15:18). That was the land where the people of Judah were living at the time. But the Divine ‘Landlord’ could (and would) evict the ‘tenants’ if they did not observe the terms of their ‘tenancy agreement’.
Warren Wiersbe: makes this helpful comment regarding today’s passage: ‘’Their ownership of the land depended on God’s promise to Abraham, but their possession and enjoyment of the land depended on their obedience to God’s law.’’ ‘The Wiersbe Bible Commentary (OT), p.1220.
Power: ‘’…I brought them out of Egypt, out of the iron-smelting furnace…I brought your forefathers up from Egypt…’’ (4, 7). In the Old Testament we are taken back again and again to the exodus as a supreme example of God’s delivering power on behalf of His people. From a New Testament perspective, we know that the mighty happenings at the Red Sea are a foreshadowing of the greater deliverance we have experienced in and through Jesus. It’s a greater escape; an even more wonderful liberation. What power it took to bring us ‘’out of darkness into his wonderful light.’’ (1 Peter 2:9). But having been rescued we have a responsibility to remember God’s Word and obey it. We don’t do this to get saved but because we are saved.
Patience: ‘’I warned them again and again…’’ (7). It is clear that God did not want to bring the curses on His people. Even though He had clearly warned then before, He repeated His warnings over and over. He was ‘long suffering’ with them. He gave them ample opportunity to repent. ‘’He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’’ (2 Peter 3:9).
One final thought: God’s Word is not to be kept within the walls of the church. It is for ‘’the streets’’ (6). Let’s take this outside!
Prayer: Lord God, give us a faithfulness to you like Jeremiah’s.