The Concern for Judah, cont’d. Jeremiah 2-45
Jeremiah 2-20 Undated Prophecies, cont’d.
Jeremiah 17:1-4-God says that the sins of Judah are unmistakable, they have been clearly identified. As a result, even the “mountain of Mine” (a symbolic reference to Jerusalem) will pay the price of judgment.
Jeremiah 17:5-8-God says that a man who trusts in human strength is like a "bush" in the desert…while a man who trust in God's strength is like a "tree" planted by a stream of water.
17:5-8 The background of these verses was Judah’s periodic attempts to seek the help of Egypt against Babylon. bush (v. 6) refers to the tamarisk, a dwarf juniper which has a stark appearance. On verses 7-8 cf. Psalm 1.
The Ryrie Study Bible, footnotes on Jeremiah 17:5-8, p. 1146
Jeremiah 17:9-11-God says that the “heart” (literally “kidneys”, which were once thought to be the center of mans emotions) is “deceitful” and “desperately sick” (“beyond cure”-NIV). But God knows the real content (:10, cf. 16:17) and He will eventually judge each man according to his works (:11).
Jeremiah 17:12-18-Jeremiah says that God is the only hope that they have (:12-13). He calls on God to “heal” and “save” him. Even when he was criticized for not having an answer from God to all of the questions he was asked he remained faithful (:14-16). He asks God to judge those who have persecuted him (:17-18).
Jeremiah 17:19-27-God tells Jeremiah to prophesy in the gates of Jerusalem. He is to tell them to return to practicing the Sabbath. The Sabbath was representative of the Laws of God. If they would practice them…then God would bless them.
Jeremiah 18:1-17-God sends Jeremiah to the potter's house. God tells him that even as the potter has control over the clay, He has control over Judah.
Jeremiah 18:18-23-The people devise plans against Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 19:1-15-God tells Jeremiah to buy a clay jar and use it as a demonstration before some of the leading priests. He is to prophesy God's judgment on Judah (:1-9), then he is to break the jar (:10-12) and say that even as he has broken the jar, God is going to break them...and they will not be able to be put back together, again.
19:1 earthenware jar. Once hardened, it could not be remade, but had to be broken if unacceptable. Judah had arrived at that stage.
19:2 …the potsherd gate. Leading into the valley where broken pottery was thrown.
The Ryrie Study Bible, footnotes on Jeremiah 19:1 and 19:2, p. 1150
This judgment is going to take place because of the terrible practices they have undertaken in their worship of false gods…even burning their own children in fires as sacrifices to Baal (:5). This judgment will be so intense that people’s ears will tingle, hardly believing what they are hearing (:3) and they will change the very name of the valley where they once sacrificed their children from “Topheth” (which means “fireplace”) to “Slaughter” to signify the extent of death that will take place among the people (:6). There will be such a prolonged siege on Jerusalem that the people inside the city walls will begin to eat their dead (:9).
Prayer: Father, these are critical days in our country. More and more, our nation is turning its back on You. Morals and ethics are rapidly decaying. We are guilty of wicked behaviors and have accepted debauched practices as commonplace. Surely, if You judged Judah, You will judge us. Please Lord, extend mercy, be patient. Hold back Your judgment. Lead us to repent and turn to You.