Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on this chapter, places these two quotes at the beginning:
‘’Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist.’’ Ralph Waldo Emerson;
‘’We need the faith to go a path untrod, The power to be alone and vote with God.’’ Edwin Markham.
Jeremiah, as God’s spokesman in dismal times, trod a lonely path. People, in the main, do not like to hear a call to repentance, or be warned of the judgment that will fall if they do not turn to God. They don’t like ‘Hell fire preaching.’ But although people may live as if sin has no consequences, those consequences will drop by one day, whether they like it or not. Yesterday we saw how this section of the book is full of images of the coming judgment; the devastation Jeremiah saw approaching on the horizon. He heard the galloping hooves of doom in the near distance. Wednesday’s notes looked at three of these pictures. Here are a further three:
- Banished (19): ‘’And Judah dragged off to exile, the whole country dragged to oblivion.’’ The Message. As the Jerusalem temple was the place where God manifested His presence; the site where the people went to meet with Him, this exile is often seen as being thrust from God’s presence. That is the essence of Hell. If we refuse God’s company and friendship in this life we will not have it in the next. It’s that simple. Someone pointed out that Adam and Eve first chose to hide from God before He removed them from the Garden of Eden. Ultimately, what God will do in judgment is to rubber stamp the choices we have already made. We make our decisions then they turn around and make us, as someone said.
- Blown (24; see Psalm 1:4): ‘’I’ll blow these people away – like wind-blown leaves.’’ The Message. Here is a warning: we will become like the objects of our worship. If what we worship is ‘’chaff’’ (and every idol falls into the category) then we too will become ‘’like chaff’’ – insubstantial people living for insubstantial things, leading empty lives When the wind of judgment blows through the land we’ll be carried away on the breeze. In ourselves we will always be people of worth as those made in God’s image; but we will live rubbish lives if we reject God for other gods, and our end will be the rubbish pile, whither we are wafted. (Chaff is the useless by-product of the harvesting process. The workers throw the grain into the air, and the chaff is blown away on the desert wind.)
- Blushing (22, 25-27; see Micah 3:7): ‘’…you forgot me and embraced the Big Lie, that so-called god Baal. I’m the one who will rip off your clothes, expose and shame you before the watching world. Your obsessions with gods, gods, and more gods, your goddess affairs, your god-adulteries. Gods on the hills, gods in the fields – every time I look you’re off with another god.’’ The Message. According to the law of Moses, prostitution was not permitted in the land (Lev.19:29; 21:7, 14), and public exposure sometimes disgraced prostitutes. The picture here is drawn from that. A day is coming when all our hidden sin will be exposed and we will be ashamed. But for those who trust in Jesus and His finished work on the cross, there is a totally different prospect. Why would anyone reject Christ?
Prayer: Although people may like the ‘medicine’ in the message, may I never fail to pour it onto the gospel ‘spoon’ and offer it to all who will drink.