Jeremiah 15:18 Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
But How Does God Strengthen Us?
Have you ever been discouraged? Have you ever thought that you could no longer continue because this world is so evil and you are surrounded by people who have rejected God’s lifestyle and adopted the lifestyle of the world? You know God’s Word is the only Truth, but it seems like nobody believes the Truth anymore? In this kind of situation, Satan will use everything at his disposal to defeat you, and it seems like all hope is lost. You have sought God – Does God still answer prayer?
This kind of situation may be illustrated by a person existing in a long, dark tunnel, and as far as he can see there is only darkness. We know there must be light at the end of this tunnel, but how do we find it? Many times the problem is that we are looking only to the ‘here and now’ and what is needed is further vision.
Well it looks like Jeremiah found himself looking though this metaphorical tunnel seeing only darkness. You might remember that Jeremiah sought God over basically the same thing before, and seemingly did not get the answer. He got an answer from God, but the question seemingly did not get answered. His question was similar to that of Abraham: “ Will the judge of the world do right?” Jeremiah might even have wondered if he was giving God’s Word, maybe the false prophets were correct. Let’s look at that seemingly unanswered prayer by Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 12:1 ¶ Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
Jeremiah 12:2 Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
Jeremiah 12:3 But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter.
Jeremiah 12:4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.
Now Jeremiah was placed in a situation by the people of his hometown, Anathoth, something like the situation between God and the people of the nation of Judah.
After the death of the good king, Josiah, the people of Anathoth rejected Jeremiah’s words from God and were determined to kill Jeremiah. This caused Jeremiah to seek out the Lord over this situation. Let’s look at the answer God Gave Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 12:5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?
Jeremiah 12:6 For even thy brethren, and the house of thy father, even they have dealt treacherously with thee; yea, they have called a multitude after thee: believe them not, though they speak fair words unto thee.
God answered by basically saying it is going to get much worse and you aint seen nothing yet! Jeremiah got an answer for the moment, but we will see later on in this lesson that Jeremiah was not asking the right question. God will lead him, however, in a situation so that he does ask the correct question.
Can we see that Jeremiah was only relating to the problem he faced immediately. He, like many of us today was only relating to the “here and now”. Jeremiah needed to see the whole picture and God is going to lead Jeremiah there. God began in this same answer with the following statement:
Jeremiah 12:7 ¶ I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies.
Jeremiah 12:8 Mine heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest; it crieth out against me: therefore have I hated it.
Jeremiah 12:9 Mine heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her; come ye, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour.
Jeremiah 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
Jeremiah 12:11 They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate, because no man layeth it to heart.
Yes God had placed Jeremiah in a similar situation as God was in to make Jeremiah seek out the Lord. The people of Anathoth had rejected Jeremiah’s words given to him by God and sought to kill Jeremiah. It was so bad that Jeremiah had to move his ministry away from Anathoth. Can we see that the entire nation had rejected God’s Words and sought to kill all knowledge of God during the reign of the evil kings after Josiah died. Judah had rejected God’s Word, and substituted their own conventional wisdom in place of God’s Word. Judah’s conventional wisdom came from three main voices as it is today:
1.) Voice of the False Prophets: Ezekiel 13:3, 10; Jeremiah 27:15
False Prophets deny God’s Word with their message: Jerusalem will not be destroyed
This we would call today a “positive message” But God’s Word stated that Jerusalem would be destroyed, unless the people “returned” to God. (Repentance or agreeing with God’s Word.)
2.) Voice of Contemporary Psychology: Jeremiah 29:29-30; Ezekiel 18:10
Excuses - “Fathers have eaten sour grapes and their children’s teeth are set on edge” – In other words, “Our fathers were idolaters, and that is the reason we practice idolatry.” Today, it is also a denial of individual responsibility. (Example: Blame it on parents, culture, Christians, etc.)
3.) Voice of the Danger of Idolatry – Attribute God’s Power and Majesty to idols.
In Judah’s time they tried to appease the moon god, etc., thinking they would have peace. Today, it is appeasing the “living and breathing mother earth.” Evolution is the demonstration of attributing God’s power in Creation to the elements of earth. Somehow it created itself, and eventually evolved into living things. There is no real scientific proof that any Biblical “kind” ever changed into another “kind”; so they just allow millions of years for the impossible to occur. The result, is the denying of God’s Word.
Now, God is placing the entire nation, because of their rejection of His word and the resulting idolatry in a very bad drought. This causes Jeremiah to seek the Lord further.
I. Word Concerning The Drought
Jeremiah 14:1 ¶ The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.
Jeremiah 14:2 Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.
The entire nation felt the affects of the drought. Black is the symbol of mourning in the Bible, and was seen in Jeremiah 8:21. The Hebrew word is Kawdar which means “black of dark” and metaphorically means “mourning”.
Jeremiah 14:3 And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.
Even the higher class people had sent their servants to get water, and their vessels returned empty because there was no water.
Jeremiah 14:4 Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.
The entire nation felt the affect of the drought. The covering of the head was also a sign of mourning.”.
Jeremiah 14:5 Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.
The hind, a kind of deer, was known to take very good care of their young, but now they could not.
Jeremiah 14:6 And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.
The wild donkeys are standing on the hills taking in as much air as they can hoping to take in some moisture. A very severe drought was experienced in Judah. It was caused not by ‘climate change’ or any ‘carbon footprint’, but by the moral actions of the people because they rejected God’s Word.
II. Jeremiah’s First Intercession – Think of Your Reputation
Jeremiah 14:7 O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name’s sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.
Jeremiah 14:8 O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?
Jeremiah 14:9 Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O LORD, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.
III. God’s First Answer
Jeremiah 14:10 ¶ Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.
Jeremiah 14:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.
Jeremiah 14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
IV. Jeremiah’s Second Intercession – Excuse Their Conventional Wisdom
Jeremiah 14:13 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.
V. God’s Second Answer – I Did Not Send The False Prophets
Jeremiah 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
Jeremiah 14:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.
Jeremiah 14:16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.
VI. Jeremiah’s Word To The People – God’s Emotion
Jeremiah 14:17 ¶ Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.
Jeremiah 14:18 If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.
VII. Jeremiah’s Third Intercession – Are They Rejected?
Jeremiah 14:19 Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!
Jeremiah 14:20 We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.
Jeremiah 14:21 Do not abhor us, for thy name’s sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.
Jeremiah 14:22 Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.
VIII. God’s Third Answer
Jeremiah 15:1 ¶ Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.
Jeremiah 15:2 And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the LORD; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.
Jeremiah 15:3 And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.
Jeremiah 15:4 And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 15:5 For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest?
Jeremiah 15:6 Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.
Jeremiah 15:7 And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways.
God will remove the people out of the land, even outside the gates of the city. The fan or in Hebrew, mizreh, is also seen in Matthew 3:12 with the Greek word, ptoon, meaning a winnowing shovel or pitchfork. The meaning comes from the practice of a man standing on a threshing floor with a pitchfork full of wheat in the wind. He is separating the wheat from the chaff and sending the chaff far away from the threshing floor.
Jeremiah 15:8 Their widows are increased to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noonday: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly, and terrors upon the city.
Jeremiah 15:9 She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while it was yet day: she hath been ashamed and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.
So many young men, soldiers will die that their mothers will mourn and despair. The people left will face the enemy that desires to destry them.
IX. Jeremiah Seeks The Lord For Encouragement
Jeremiah 15:10 ¶ Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me.
Now Jeremiah is in despair. He is blaming his mother for giving him birth! He wishes he were dead because everyone is against him. I heard one preacher illustrate this with a quote from an old TV commercial for Listerine. It went something like this: “I gargle with Listerine and still nobody likes me.”
X. God’s Answer – Your I Will Cause Your Enemy To Treat You Well
Jeremiah 15:11 The LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.
Jeremiah 15:12 Shall iron break the northern iron and the steel?
Jeremiah 15:13 Thy substance and thy treasures will I give to the spoil without price, and that for all thy sins, even in all thy borders.
Jeremiah 15:14 And I will make thee to pass with thine enemies into a land which thou knowest not: for a fire is kindled in mine anger, which shall burn upon you.
XI. The Effect Of God’s Word On Jeremiah – Joy & Rejoicing For The Moment
Jeremiah 15:15 ¶ O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke.
Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
XII. But Jeremiah Still Lacked Something
Jeremiah 15:17 I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.
Jeremiah 15:18 Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?
XIII. God Continues Encouragement for the “Here & Now”
Jeremiah 15:19 Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.
Jeremiah 15:20 And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 15:21 And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.
God assures Jeremiah that as long as he returns and continues to give God’s Word as God gives them to him, God will protect Jeremiah no matter how bad it gets – And it will get real bad!
XI. Jeremiah Not To Marry – It’s Going To Get Worse
Jeremiah 16:1 ¶ The word of the LORD came also unto me, saying,
Jeremiah 16:2 Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.
Jeremiah 16:3 For thus saith the LORD concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land;
Jeremiah 16:4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
Jeremiah 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.
Jeremiah 16:6 Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:
Jeremiah 16:7 Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.
Jeremiah 16:8 Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.
Jeremiah 16:9 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.
Jeremiah 16:10 ¶ And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?
Jeremiah 16:11 Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the LORD, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;
Jeremiah 16:12 And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:
Jeremiah 16:13 Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
XII. Jeremiah’s Vision Widened By The Lord
Jeremiah 16:14 ¶ Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
Jeremiah 16:15 But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
This was just what Jeremiah needed. Jeremiah can continue now for a bit. Times will get much worse for him, but God is preparing Jeremiah for greater things. Jeremiah needed to ask the right question, and God lead him to the situation that would cause Jeremiah to seek God for an answer. You see, all Israel will be in this land in the latter days. God has not forgotten them or cast them out.
God will do the same for us if we keep in His Word and continue to seek Him. God promises.
XIII. Jeremiah Is Now Ready For More Knowledge
Jeremiah 16:16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
Jeremiah 16:17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.
Jeremiah 16:18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
XIV. Let’s See Jeremiah’s Response To God’s Word Now
Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
Jeremiah 16:20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
XV. The Reason For It All
Jeremiah 16:21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.
XVI. God Continues
Jeremiah 17:1 ¶ The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
Jeremiah 17:2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
Jeremiah 17:3 O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.
Jeremiah 17:4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
XVII. The Righteous Judge
Jeremiah 17:5 ¶ Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
Jeremiah 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:10 I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
Jeremiah 17:11 As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.
XVIII. Again Jeremiah’s Response
Jeremiah 17:12 ¶ A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.
Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
Jeremiah 17:14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.