Series: Thru the Bible
Message – God’s Judgments, Justice & Mercy
God’s Judgments, Justice & Mercy
“(1) The LORD’s message came to me,
(2) “Do not get married and do not have children here in this land. (3) For I, the LORD, tell you what will happen to the children who are born here in this land and to the men and women who are their mothers and fathers. (4) They will die of deadly diseases. No one will mourn for them. They will not be buried. Their dead bodies will lie like manure spread on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation. Their corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals. (5)
“Moreover I, the LORD, tell you: ‘Do not go into a house where they are having a funeral meal. Do not go there to mourn and express your sorrow for them. For I have stopped showing them my good favor, my love, and my compassion. I, the LORD, so affirm it!
(6) Rich and poor alike will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned. People will not cut their bodies or shave off their hair to show their grief for them. (7) No one will take any food to those who mourn for the dead to comfort them. No one will give them any wine to drink to console them for the loss of their father or mother.
(8) “‘Do not go to a house where people are feasting and sit down to eat and drink with them either. (9) For I, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, tell you what will happen.
I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, to the glad celebration of brides and grooms in this land. You and the rest of the people will live to see this happen.’”
(10) “When you tell these people about all this, they will undoubtedly ask you, ‘Why has the LORD threatened us with such great disaster? What wrong have we done? What sin have we done to offend the LORD our God?’
(11) Then tell them that the LORD says,
‘It is because your ancestors rejected me and paid allegiance to other gods. They have served them and worshiped them. But they have rejected me and not obeyed my law. (12) And you have acted even more wickedly than your ancestors! Each one of you has followed the stubborn inclinations of your own wicked heart and not obeyed me.
(13) So I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. There you must worship other gods day and night, for I will show you no mercy.’”
(14) Yet I, the LORD, say: “A new time will certainly come. People now affirm their oaths with ‘I swear as surely as the LORD lives Who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.’ (15) But in that time they will affirm them with ‘I swear as surely as the LORD lives Who delivered the people of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’
At that time I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors.” (16) But for now I, the LORD, say: “I will send many enemies who will catch these people like fishermen.
After that I will send others who will hunt them out like hunters from all the mountains, all the hills, and the crevices in the rocks.
(17) For I see everything they do. Their wicked ways are not hidden from Me. Their sin is not hidden away where I cannot see it.
(18) Before I restore them I will punish them in full for their sins and the wrongs they have done. For they have polluted My land with the lifeless statues of their disgusting idols.
They have filled the land I have claimed as My Own with their detestable idols.”
“(19) Then I said, “LORD, you give me strength and protect me. You are the One I can run to for safety when I am in trouble. Nations from all over the earth will come to You and say, ‘Our ancestors had nothing but false gods – worthless idols that could not help them at all. (20) Can people make their own gods? No, what they make are not gods at all.”
“(21) The LORD said, “So I will now let this wicked people know – I will let them know my mighty power in judgment. Then they will know that my name is the LORD.”
“(1) The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron chisel on their stone-hard hearts. It is inscribed with a diamond point on the horns of their altars. (2) Their children are always thinking about their altars and their sacred poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, set up beside the green trees on the high hills (3) and on the mountains and in the fields.
I will give your wealth and all your treasures away as plunder. I will give it away as the price for the sins you have committed throughout your land. (4) You will lose your hold on the land which I gave to you as a permanent possession. I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you know nothing about. For you have made my anger burn like a fire that will never be put out.”
(5) The LORD says, “I will put a curse on people who trust in mere human beings, who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength, and whose hearts have turned away from the LORD. (6) They will be like a shrub in the arid rift valley. They will not experience good things even when they happen. It will be as though they were growing in the stony wastes in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one can live.
(7) My blessing is on those people who trust in Me, who put their confidence in Me. (8) They will be like a tree planted near a stream whose roots spread out toward the water. It has nothing to fear when the heat comes. Its leaves are always green. It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought. It does not stop bearing fruit.
(9) The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it?
(10) I, the LORD, probe into people’s minds. I examine people’s hearts. I deal with each person according to how he has behaved. I give them what they deserve based on what they have done.
(11) The person who gathers wealth by unjust means is like the partridge that broods over eggs but does not hatch them. Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains. At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.”
“(12) Then I said, “LORD, from the very beginning You have been seated on Your glorious throne on high. You are the place where we can find refuge. (13) You are the One in Whom Israel may find hope.
All who leave You will suffer shame. Those who turn away from You will be consigned to the netherworld. [or as if their names had been written in the dust] For they have rejected You, the LORD, the fountain of life.
(14) LORD, grant me relief from my suffering so that I may have some relief; rescue me from those who persecute me so that I may be rescued, for You give me reason to praise!
(15) Look at what they are saying to me,
“Where are the events in the LORD’s message? Let’s see them happen, please!”
(16) But I have not pestered You to bring disaster. I have not desired the time of irreparable devastation. You know that. You are fully aware of every word that I have spoken.
(17) Do not cause me dismay! You are my source of safety in times of trouble.
(18) May those who persecute me be disgraced. Do not let me be disgraced. May they be dismayed. Do not let me be dismayed.
Bring days of disaster on them. Bring on them the destruction they deserve.”
The Lord Responds to Jeremiah
“(19) The LORD told me, “Go and stand in the People’s Gate through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city. Then go and stand in all the other gates of the city of Jerusalem. (20) And then announce to them,
‘Listen to the LORD’s message, you kings of Judah, and everyone from Judah, and all you citizens of Jerusalem, those who pass through these gates. (21) The LORD says,
‘Be very careful if you value your lives! Do not carry any loads in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. (22) Do not carry any loads out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath day. But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the LORD, as I commanded your ancestors.
(23) Your ancestors, however, did not listen to Me or pay any attention to Me. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or to respond to any discipline.’
(24) The LORD says, ‘You must make sure to obey Me. You must not bring any loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day. You must set the Sabbath day apart to Me. You must not do any work on that day.
(25) If you do this, then the kings and princes who follow in David’s succession and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to enter through these gates, as well as their officials and the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. This city will always be filled with people. (26) Then people will come here from the towns in Judah, from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin, from the foothills, from the southern hill country, and from the southern part of Judah.
They will come bringing offerings to the temple of the LORD: burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, and incense along with their thank offerings.
(27) But you must obey Me and set the Sabbath day apart to Me.
You just not carry any loads in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. If you disobey, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. It will burn down all the fortified dwellings in Jerusalem and no one will be able to put it out.’”
“(1) The LORD said to Jeremiah: (2) “Go down at once to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.”
(3) So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working at his wheel. (4) Now and then there would be something wrong with the pot he was molding from the clay with his hands. So he would rework the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit.
(5) Then the LORD’s message came to me,
(6) “I, the LORD, say: ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In My hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’
(7) There are times, Jeremiah, when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. (8) But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, I will cancel the destruction I intended to do to it.
(9) And there are times when I promise to build up and establish a nation or kingdom. (10) But if that nation does what displeases Me and does not obey Me, then I will cancel the good I promised to do to it.
Other related verses:
Paul, looking at the Israel of his day which were the results of all the former decisions of that nation, including the ones we are reading about in Jeremiah had this to say…
Rom. 9:1-33, “(1) I am telling the truth in Christ (I am not lying!), for my conscience assures me in the Holy Spirit – (2) I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. (3) For I could wish that I myself were accursed – cut off from Christ – for the sake of my people, my fellow countrymen, (4) who are Israelites.
To them belong the adoption as sons, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple worship, and the promises.
(5) To them belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, Who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen.
(6) It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel, (7) nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” (8) This means it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants.
(9) For this is what the promise declared: “About a year from now I will return and Sarah will have a son.” (10) Not only that, but when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our ancestor Isaac – (11) even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election would stand, not by works but by His calling) – (12) it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,” (13) just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
(14) What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not!
(15) For He says to Moses: “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
(16) So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God Who shows mercy.
(17) For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate My power in you, and that My Name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”
(18) So then, God has mercy on whom He chooses to have mercy, and He hardens whom He chooses to harden.
(19) You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who has ever resisted His will?”
(20) But who indeed are you – a mere human being – to talk back to God?
Does what is molded say to the molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (21) Has the potter no right to make from the same lump of clay one vessel for special use and another for ordinary use?
(22) But what if God, willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath prepared for destruction? (23) And what if He is willing to make known the wealth of his glory on the objects of mercy that He has prepared beforehand for glory – (24) even us, whom He has called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
(25) As He also says in Hosea: “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ and I will call her who was unloved, ‘My beloved.’” (26) “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’”
(27) And Isaiah cries out on behalf of Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel are as the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved, (28) for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth completely and quickly.”
(29) Just as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, and we would have resembled Gomorrah.”
(30) What shall we say then? – that the Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness obtained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith, (31) but Israel even though pursuing a law of righteousness did not attain it.
(32) Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, (33) just as it is written, “Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will cause people to stumble and a rock that will make them fall, yet the one who believes in Him will not be put to shame.”
Isaiah 29:13-16, “(13) The Lord says, “These people say they are loyal to Me; they say wonderful things about Me, but they are not really loyal to Me. Their worship consists of nothing but man-made ritual. (14) Therefore I will again do an amazing thing for these people – an absolutely extraordinary deed. Wise men will have nothing to say, the sages will have no explanations.”
(15) Those who try to hide their plans from the LORD are as good as dead, who do their work in secret and boast, “Who sees us? Who knows what we’re doing?”
(16) Your thinking is perverse! Should the potter be regarded as clay? Should the thing made say about its Maker, “He didn’t make me”? Or should the pottery say about the Potter, “He doesn’t understand”?
The examples offered – that of Jacob and Esau, of pharaoh, the Jews & Gentiles were just like the example God set before Jeremiah. If you remember, in watching the potter, he began his work with each lump of clay to produce something he determined he wanted. However, if something in the clay resisted his attempts at moulding, he would set aside his former intentions for that clay and craft something else. So it was with Jacob and Esau…one responded to God and the other did not. So it was with Pharaoh, he was given multiple opportunities to yield to God His potter, but instead resisten His hand and so God crafted him into an example of judgment for rebellion, and just like the Jews who had received all the Promises and had as their natural heritage all of the faithful patriarchs, but would not serve God in trust, but only in pretense…while the Gentiles responded in faith to the message preached.
God’s initial intention with all the above was good, but His final decision was in keeping with their compliance or resistance to His will.
We know according to Jesus and James that mercy is shown to the merciful and faithful.
- James 5:11 “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
- Matt. 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
- Luke 1:50 “…from generation to generation he is merciful to those who fear Him.”
- James 2:13 “For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
As we have known for some time here in our church, God does not act upon whim as man would understand it. He IS just, kind and merciful even in our unfaithfulness, but He will not endure mocking forever.
“(11) So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem this: The LORD says,
‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’
(12) But they just keep saying, ‘We do not care what You say! We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!’”
(13) Therefore, the LORD says,
“Ask the people of other nations whether they have heard of anything like this. Israel should have been like a virgin. But she has done something utterly revolting!
(14) Does the snow ever completely vanish from the rocky slopes of Lebanon? Do the cool waters from those distant mountains ever cease to flow?
(15) Yet My people have forgotten Me and offered sacrifices to worthless idols!
This makes them stumble along in the way they live and leave the old reliable path of their fathers. They have left them to walk in bypaths, in roads that are not smooth and level.
(16) So their land will become an object of horror. People will forever hiss out their scorn over it. All who pass that way will be filled with horror and will shake their heads in derision.
(17) I will scatter them before their enemies like dust blowing in front of a burning east wind. I will turn my back on them and not look favorably on them when disaster strikes them.”
“(18) Then some people said, “Come on! Let us consider how to deal with Jeremiah! There will still be priests to instruct us, wise men to give us advice, and prophets to declare God’s word.
Come on! Let’s bring charges against him and get rid of him! Then we will not need to pay attention to anything he says.”
Jeremiah cries out to the Lord
“(19) Then I said, “LORD, pay attention to me. Listen to what my enemies are saying. (20) Should good be paid back with evil? Yet they are virtually digging a pit to kill me.
Just remember how I stood before You pleading on their behalf to keep You from venting Your anger on them.
(21) So let their children die of starvation. Let them be cut down by the sword. Let their wives lose their husbands and children. Let the older men die of disease and the younger men die by the sword in battle.
(22) Let cries of terror be heard in their houses when You send bands of raiders unexpectedly to plunder them.
For they have virtually dug a pit to capture me and have hidden traps for me to step into.
(23) But you, LORD, know all their plots to kill me. Do not pardon their crimes! Do not ignore their sins as though you had erased them!
Let them be brought down in defeat before You! Deal with them while You are still angry!”
One thing prophets seemed to know due to their spiritual “eyes to see”, was that God was NOT quick to anger and He was not likely to hold on to it too long either.
Jonah had similar intuitions of God, which is why he did not want to go and warn Nineveh. He was convinced that if they showed even the slightest sign of responding to God, He would show them mercy they did not deserve.
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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