Series: Thru the Bible
Message – What it means to know Me
What it means to know Me
“(1) This is what the LORD says: “Go, buy a potter’s clay jug. Take some of the elders of the people and some of the elders of the priests (2) and go out to the Valley of Hinnom near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. Proclaim there the words I speak to you.
(3) Say: Hear the word of the LORD, kings of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: I am going to bring such disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will shudder (4) because they have abandoned Me and made this a foreign place. They have burned incense in it to other gods that they, their fathers, and the kings of Judah have never known. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. (5) They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, something I have never commanded or mentioned; I never entertained the thought. (6)
“Therefore, take note! The days are coming”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“when this place will no longer be called Topheth and the Valley of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. (7) I will spoil the plans of Judah and Jerusalem in this place. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, by the hand of those who want to take their life.
I will provide their corpses as food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land. (8) I will make this city desolate, an object of scorn. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and scoff because of all its wounds.
(9) I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and they will eat each other’s flesh in the siege and distress that their enemies, those who want to take their life, inflict on them.
(10) “Then you are to shatter the jug in the presence of the people traveling with you, (11) and you are to proclaim to them: This is what the LORD of Hosts says: I will shatter these people and this city, like one shatters a potter’s jar that can never again be mended. They will bury in Topheth until there is no place left to bury. (12) I will do so to this place”–this is the declaration of the LORD–“and to its residents, making this city like Topheth. (13) The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become impure like that place Topheth–all the houses on whose rooftops they have burned incense to the whole heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods.”
When the Lord compared the destruction that was coming to Topheth it was a very visual example. It would be similar to saying that one was going to take someone’s house and make it like the Twin Towers.
You remember Josiah, one of Israel’s best kings – He began his administration by destroying everything that was pagan and related to idol worship among the people. One of those places was Topheth in Ben Hinnom. This is where the Israelites offered their own children as burnt offerings to Molech.
2Kings 23:10, “He defiled Topheth, which is in the Valley of Hinnom, so that no one could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech.”
God tells them in verse 6, “Therefore, take note! The days are coming”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“when this place will no longer be called Topheth and the Valley of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.” We’ve talked about this several times already but I will say this again by way of reminder. This is the same valley the New Testament calls Gehenna which is a compound word coming from the phrase valley of Hinnom.
The worship of Molech, required people to offer a child over a pit of fire in the valley of Hinnom. By the time Jerusalem was part of Roman territory, this valley later served as the city dump and, because there was continual burning of refuse there, it became a graphic symbol of the place of punishment for the wicked.
It was named the “Valley of Hinnom,” which translated into Greek became Gehenna.
This is where all manner of trash, refuse and even the bodies of dead animals and criminals who were denied proper burial were consumed in flames. As such it was incorporated into the language of the Jews as the place where the worthless souls of those who reject God and His commands were placed. This word has traditionally been translated as Hell.
It is for this reason why it is at least possible that the language describing hell and the lake of fire present a continual burning. It may in fact be symbolic and not literal for destruction which continues to destroy. Like a continual eating away or wearing away of heart, of hope, of connection with life.
Now this valley and its administrations before the false god Molech, were often presided over by priests – who were among those present at Jeremiah’s prediction. It is likely why it received such a strong response out of one of the priests which we are about to read about.
“(14) Jeremiah came back from Topheth, where the LORD had sent him to prophesy, stood in the courtyard of the LORD’s temple, and proclaimed to all the people, (15) “This is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring on this city–and on all its dependent villages–all the disaster that I spoke against it, for they have become obstinate, not obeying My words.'”
“(1) Pashhur the priest, the son of Immer and chief officer in the house of the LORD, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things. (2) So Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put him in the stocks at the Upper Benjamin Gate in the LORD’s temple.
(3) The next day, when Pashhur released Jeremiah from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, “The LORD does not call you Pashhur, but Magor-missabib,
The name Pashhur is essentially a curse pronounced by Jeremiah invoking the LORD’s authority. The same phrase occurs in Jeremiah chapters 6; 46 & 49 which are all in the context of war. In ancient Israelite culture the change in name denoted a change in status or destiny.
The name Pashhur means freedom, but the name God was now giving him ment – Terror is Everywhere.
“(4) for this is what the LORD says, ‘I am about to make you a terror to both yourself and those you love. They will fall by the sword of their enemies before your very eyes. I will hand Judah over to the king of Babylon, and he will deport them to Babylon and put them to the sword. (5) I will give away all the wealth of this city, all its products and valuables. Indeed, I will hand all the treasures of the kings of Judah over to their enemies. They will plunder them, seize them, and carry them off to Babylon. (6) As for you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house, you will go into captivity. You will go to Babylon. There you will die, and there you will be buried, you and all your friends that you prophesied falsely to.'”
“(7) You deceived me, LORD, and I was deceived. You seized me and prevailed. I am a laughingstock all the time; everyone ridicules me. (8) For whenever I speak, I cry out–I proclaim: Violence and destruction! because the word of the LORD has become for me constant disgrace and derision.
(9) If I say: I won’t mention Him or speak any longer in His name, His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail.
(10) For I have heard the gossip of the multitudes, “Terror is on every side! Report him; let’s report him!”
Everyone I trusted watches for my fall. “Perhaps he will be deceived so that we might prevail against him and take our vengeance on him.”
(11) But the LORD is with me like a violent warrior. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly shamed, an everlasting humiliation that will never be forgotten.
(12) LORD of Hosts, testing the righteous and seeing the heart and mind, let me see Your vengeance on them, for I have presented my case to You.
(13) Sing to the LORD! Praise the LORD, for He rescues the life of the needy from the hand of evil people.
(14) Cursed be the day on which I was born. The day my mother bore me–let it never be blessed. (15) Cursed be the man who brought the news to my father, saying, “A male child is born to you,” bringing him great joy.
(16) Let that man be like the cities the LORD overthrew without compassion. Let him hear an outcry in the morning and a war cry at noontime (17) because he didn’t kill me in the womb so that my mother might have been my grave, her womb eternally pregnant.
(18) Why did I come out of the womb to see only struggle and sorrow, to end my life in shame?”
“(1) This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur son of Malchijah [Mal-ki-yah] and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah [Mass – ey- ah] to Jeremiah, asking,
(2) “Ask the LORD on our behalf, since Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the LORD will perform for us something like all His past wonderful works so that Nebuchadnezzar will withdraw from us.”
(3) But Jeremiah answered, “This is what you are to say to Zedekiah: (4) ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I will repel the weapons of war in your hands, those you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Chaldeans who are besieging you outside the wall, and I will bring them into the center of this city. (5) I will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm, with anger, rage, and great wrath. (6) I will strike the residents of this city, both man and beast. They will die in a great plague. (7) Afterwards'”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“‘King Zedekiah of Judah, his officers, and the people–those in this city who survive the plague, the sword, and the famine–I will hand over to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, to their enemies, yes, to those who want to take their lives. He will put them to the sword; he won’t spare them or show pity or compassion.’
Now you may not remember who King Zedekiah is, but he is the uncle of King Jehoiachin who was renamed Zedekiah by Nebuchadnezzar, but his birth name was Mattaniah.
“(8) “But you must say to this people, ‘This is what the LORD says:
Look, I am presenting to you the way of life and the way of death. (9) Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine, and plague, but whoever goes out and surrenders to the Chaldeans who are besieging you will live and will retain his life like the spoils of war. (10) For I have turned against this city to bring disaster and not good“”–this is the LORD’s declaration. “
‘It will be handed over to the king of Babylon, who will burn it down.’
(11) “And to the house of the king of Judah say this:
‘Hear the word of the LORD! (12) House of David, this is what the LORD says: Administer justice every morning, and rescue the victim of robbery from the hand of his oppressor, or My anger will flare up like fire and burn unquenchably because of their evil deeds.
(13) Beware! I am against you, you who sit above the valley, you atop the rocky plateau–this is the LORD’s declaration–you who say: Who can come down against us? Who can enter our hiding places? (14) I will punish you according to what you have done–this is the LORD’s declaration. I will kindle a fire in its forest that will consume everything around it.'”
“(1) This is what the LORD says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and announce this word there. (2) You are to say:
Hear the word of the LORD, king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David–you, your officers, and your people who enter these gates.
(3) This is what the LORD says:
Administer justice and righteousness. Rescue the victim of robbery from the hand of his oppressor. Don’t exploit or brutalize the alien, the fatherless, or the widow.
Don’t shed innocent blood in this place.
(4) For if you conscientiously carry out this word, then kings sitting on David’s throne will enter through the gates of this palace riding on chariots and horses–they, their officers, and their people. (5) But if you do not obey these words, then I swear by Myself“–this is the LORD’s declaration–“that this house will become a ruin.”
God has of course one this before with Abraham as it is recorded in Hebrews 6:13,
“(13) For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,”
“(6) For this is what the LORD says concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are like Gilead to Me, or the summit of Lebanon, but I will certainly turn you into a wilderness, uninhabited cities.
(7) I will appoint destroyers against you, each with his weapons. They will cut down the choicest of your cedars and throw them into the fire.
(8) “Many nations will pass by this city and ask one another: Why did the LORD do such a thing to this great city?
(9) They will answer: Because they abandoned the covenant of the LORD their God and worshiped and served other gods.”
(10) Do not weep for the dead; do not mourn for him. Weep bitterly for the one who has gone away, for he will never return again and see his native land. (11) For this is what the LORD says concerning Shallum son of Josiah, king of Judah, who succeeded Josiah his father as king:
“He has left this place–he will never return here again, (12) but he will die in the place where they deported him, never seeing this land again.”
(13) Woe for the one who builds his palace through unrighteousness, his upper rooms through injustice, who makes his fellow man serve without pay and will not give him his wages, (14) who says: I will build myself a massive palace, with spacious upper rooms. He will cut windows in it, and it will be paneled with cedar and painted with vermilion.
(15) Are you a king because you excel in cedar? Your own father, did he not eat and drink? He administered justice and righteousness, then it went well with him.
(16) He took up the case of the poor and needy, then it went well.
Is this not what it means to know Me?
This is the LORD’s declaration.”
These are the same things God said are the attributes, attitudes & actions of those who walk with God and truly worship Him…
- Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?”
- James 1:27, “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
“(17) But you have eyes and heart for nothing except your own unjust gain, shedding innocent blood and committing extortion and oppression.
(18) Therefore, this is what the LORD says concerning Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah: They will not mourn for him, saying, Woe, my brother! or Woe, my sister! They will not mourn for him, saying, Woe, lord! Woe, his majesty!
Now Jehoiakim was in reality Eliakim son of Josiah, but Pharoah Neco had removed Josiah’s other son Jehoahaz placed Eliakim in his place and renamed him Jehoiakim.
We will read more of this in chapter 25:1-7. It says,
“(1) This is the word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon). (2) The prophet Jeremiah spoke concerning all the people of Judah and all the residents of Jerusalem as follows: (3) “From the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until this very day–23 years–the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you time and time again, but you have not obeyed. (4) The LORD sent all His servants the prophets to you time and time again, but you have not obeyed or even paid attention. (5) He announced, ‘Turn, each of you, from your evil way of life and from your evil deeds. Live in the land the LORD gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. (6) Do not follow other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger by the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm. (7) “‘But you would not obey Me’–this is the LORD’s declaration–‘in order that you might provoke Me to anger by the work of your hands and bring disaster on yourselves.’
Continuing on in Jeremiah 22
“(19) He will be buried like a donkey, dragged off and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem.
(20) Go up to Lebanon and cry out; raise your voice in Bashan; cry out from Abarim, for all your lovers have been crushed.
(21) I spoke to you when you were secure.
You said: I will not listen. This has been your way since youth; indeed, you have never listened to Me.
(22) The wind will take charge of all your shepherds, and your lovers will go into captivity. Then you will be ashamed and humiliated because of all your evil.
(23) You residents of Lebanon, nestled among the cedars, how you will groan when labor pains come on you, agony like a woman in labor.
(24) “As I live,” says the LORD, “though you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, were a signet ring on My right hand, I would tear you from it.
(25) In fact, I will hand you over to those you dread, who want to take your life, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Chaldeans.
(26) I will hurl you and the mother who gave birth to you into another land, where neither of you were born, and there you will both die.
(27) They will never return to the land they long to return to.”
(28) Is this man Coniah a despised, shattered pot, a jar no one wants? Why are he and his descendants hurled out and cast into a land they have not known? (29) Earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD!
(30) This is what the LORD says: Record this man as childless, a man who will not be successful in his lifetime. None of his descendants will succeed in sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.”
“(1) Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” This is the LORD’s declaration.
(2) “Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who shepherd My people: You have scattered My flock, banished them, and have not attended to them.
I will attend to you because of your evil acts”–the LORD’s declaration.
(3) “I will gather the remnant of My flock from all the lands where I have banished them, and I will return them to their grazing land. They will become fruitful and numerous. (4) I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them. They will no longer be afraid or dismayed, nor will any be missing.” This is the LORD’s declaration.
(5) “The days are coming”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“when I will raise up a righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land.
(6) In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named: The LORD Is Our Righteousness. [This is another way of saying Jehovah Tsidkenu.]
(7) The days are coming”–the LORD’s declaration–“when it will no longer be said: As the LORD lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt, (8) but: As the LORD lives, Who brought and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other countries where I had banished them. They will dwell once more in their own land.”
(9) Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me, and all my bones tremble. I have become like a drunkard, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD, because of His holy words. (10) For the land is full of adulterers; the land mourns because of the curse, and the grazing lands in the wilderness have dried up. Their way of life has become evil, and their power is not rightly used (11) because both prophet and priest are ungodly, even in My house I have found their evil. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(12) Therefore, their way will be to them like slippery paths in the gloom. They will be driven away and fall down there, for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment. This is the LORD’s declaration.
(13) Among the prophets of Samaria I saw something disgusting: They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray.
(14) Among the prophets of Jerusalem also I saw a horrible thing: They commit adultery and walk in lies. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, and none turns his back on evil. They are all like Sodom to Me; Jerusalem’s residents are like Gomorrah.
(15) Therefore, this is what the LORD of Hosts says concerning the prophets: I am about to feed them wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.
(16) This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They are making you worthless. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the LORD’s mouth.
(17) They keep on saying to those who despise Me: The LORD has said: You will have peace. To everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his heart they have said, No harm will come to you.”
(18) For who has stood in the council of the LORD to see and hear His word? Who has paid attention to His word and obeyed?
(19) Look, a storm from the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling storm. It will whirl about the head of the wicked. (20) The LORD’s anger will not turn back until He has completely fulfilled the purposes of His heart.
In time to come you will understand it clearly.
(21) I did not send these prophets, yet they ran with a message.
I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.”
What does a real prophet do?
“(22) If they had really stood in My council, they would have enabled My people to hear My words and would have turned them back from their evil ways and their evil deeds.
(23) “Am I a God Who is only near”–this is the LORD’s declaration–“and not a God Who is far away? (24) Can a man hide himself in secret places where I cannot see him?”–the LORD’s declaration.
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?”–the LORD’s declaration.
(25) “I have heard what the prophets who prophesy a lie in My name have said: I had a dream! I had a dream! (26) How long will this continue in the minds of the prophets prophesying lies, prophets of the deceit of their own minds?
(27) Through their dreams that they tell one another, they make plans to cause My people to forget My name as their fathers forgot My name through Baal worship.
(28) The prophet who has only a dream should recount the dream, but the one who has My word should speak My word truthfully, for what is straw compared to grain?”–the LORD’s declaration.
(29) “Is not My word like fire”–the LORD’s declaration–“and like a sledgehammer that pulverizes rock? (30) Therefore, take note! I am against the prophets”–the LORD’s declaration–“who steal My words from each other. (31) I am against the prophets”–the LORD’s declaration–“who use their own tongues to deliver an oracle. (32) I am against those who prophesy false dreams”–the LORD’s declaration–“telling them and leading My people astray with their falsehoods and their boasting. It was not I who sent or commanded them, and they are of no benefit at all to these people”–this is the LORD’s declaration.
(33) “Now when these people or a prophet or a priest asks you: What is the burden of the LORD? you will respond to them: What is the burden? I will throw you away”–this is the LORD’s declaration.
(34) “As for the prophet, priest, or people who say: The burden of the LORD, I will punish that man and his household.
(35) This is what each man is to say to his friend and to his brother: What has the LORD answered? or What has the LORD spoken?
(36) But no longer refer to the burden of the LORD, for each man’s word becomes his burden and you pervert the words of the living God, the LORD of Hosts, our God.
(37) You must say to the prophet: What has the LORD answered you? and What has the LORD spoken? (38) But if you say: The burden of the LORD, then this is what the LORD says: Because you have said, The burden of the LORD, and I specifically told you not to say, The burden of the LORD, (39) I will surely forget you and throw away from My presence both you and the city that I gave you and your fathers. (40) I will bring on you everlasting shame and humiliation that will never be forgotten.”
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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