Today: [Jeremiah 9] Jeremiah’s Melt Down: Have you ever come to the place where you just can’t take it anymore? Have you had a meltdown recently? Did you lose all composure and simply let loose and vented your frustration, grief or anger? Then this chapter is for you. Jeremiah was a prophet to the last of the line of kings in Judah before captivity. He prophesied with all his heart in hopes that the people would turn and be delivered but there was no repentance. At his personal limit, Jeremiah let loose and in his words, cries a river of tears. We have all been there and in this chapter we can empathize and connect with this pathetic figure in his heart wrenching condition.
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[Jer 9:1-26 KJV] 1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they [be] all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 3 And they bend their tongues [like] their bow [for] lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. 4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. 5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, [and] weary themselves to commit iniquity. 6 Thine habitation [is] in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. 7 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? 8 Their tongue [is as] an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: [one] speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. 9 Shall I not visit them for these [things]? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through [them]; neither can [men] hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.
In verse one we see the event that earned Jeremiah the name “the weeping prophet”. Jeremiah was called at a young age and has prophesied his heart out to a tone deaf and resistant people. The king is ignoring him, the people are indifferent and the priests and pastors pan the words of Jeremiah as the rantings of an uninspired zealot. In all of this Jeremiah comes to the point of panic seeking to wake the people and the leaders of Jerusalem that they might hear his words but all is in vain. Now looking through the lens of prophetic gifting he sees that the people will be overrun and the city and nation destroyed. The bodies will be left in heaps an Himnon for there will be no room left to bury the very people Jeremiah is crying out to for repentance.
It is interesting that this plaintive lament begins with the personal sentiments of Jeremiah in verse 1 but ends with a “thus saith the Lord” in verse 3. This shows us how close the Lord is to us in our sorrows when they come. Augustinian theology proposes God as an austere monarch sitting on a distant throne observing with serene detachment the struggles of mere mortals upon the earth. This passage puts the lie to that stereotype. As Jeremiah laments and his tears scorch his throat and burn his eyes the Father rushes to his side and demonstrates what the writer of Hebrews declared centuries later about our Lord and Savior:
[Heb 4:15 KJV] 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin.
Why would God lament over the people and the nation when He is so capable of doing something about it? It is a fact that God could have averted the disaster that is about to decimate the nation of Judah. Or could He? This is a question for the ages that has been asked by philosophers and thinkers in many ways and in many situations. In verse 7 we see an inkling of the sense of God’s perspective and wisdom in such matters. In this verse the Father speaks and says “behold, I will melt them, and try them…” What an unusual statement. The people are in idolatry. Their worship of Jehovah is meticulous, yet completely hypocritical as they practice syncretic religion, mixing pagan practices an iconography with the pure worship of God on alters in the holy place that are now utterly polluted. Looking upon this, God in taking the measure of His own influence on the people observes that His ineffable and sovereign nature in its substance will only bring about misfortune for the people because they have utterly rejected Him and His presence.
When God says He will melt the people He is speaking from the perspective of the influence of His person upon a disobedient nation. You see at the same time Jeremiah is crying rivers of tears, Ezekiel, a contemporary with Jeremiah is writing these words:
[Eze 1:27 KJV] 27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
This is what Moses declared in Deu. 4:24 “our God is a consuming fire…”
Our God is indeed a consuming fire and if we pursue after Him or intermeddle our lives in His presence with things contrary to His character then all of that which is combustible in our lives will be burned with the unquenchable fire that He is. That is why He sent Jesus that we might be transformed into His image that we could stand in His presence and not be burned!
11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, [and] a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant. 12 Who [is] the wise man, that may understand this? and [who is he] to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth [and] is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through? 13 And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; 14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: 15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, [even] this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them. 17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning [women], that they may come: 18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters. 19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast [us] out. 20 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation. 21 For death is come up into our windows, [and] is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, [and] the young men from the streets. 22 Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather [them]. 23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise [man] glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty [man] glory in his might, let not the rich [man] glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I [am] the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these [things] I delight, saith the LORD. 25 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all [them which are] circumcised with the uncircumcised; 26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all [that are] in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all [these] nations [are] uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel [are] uncircumcised in the heart.
When God says He will make Jerusalem heaps – it isn’t like that was His highest hearts desire. It is God’s nature however not only to be “savior” but also to be “sovereign”. In other words in the language of today “its HIS way or the HIGHWAY”. God in His person can do none other than hold absolute sway over all the earth and every man, woman and child. Yet, in His love for us, He exercises immense restraint as men corrupt themselves and pollute the earth with innocent blood that He might hold forth the opportunity for salvation not willing that any man should perish but that all should come to redemption through Christ Jesus. You see the tolerance of God is not that He ignores sin, because He will not. Every offense, every sin, and every sinner whose enmity against God is not reconciled to Him through the blood of Jesus will be brought to the seat of divine justice and utterly punished. This is the sovereignty of God. He doesn’t leave any loose ends. He will not forbear judgment. He forestalls it that He might extend salvation and opportunity for repentance but as the scripture says regarding the flood in Gen. 6:3 “My Spirit will not always strive with man…” but for man’s sake and the sake of His own sense of justice, He will make an end.
Thus Jeremiah, though it hasn’t happened yet, he sees by the spirit the end of the nation and the wasting of the people. Why? Why oh, why? Because as we see in the closing verses of the chapter – the people of God, convenanted with Him in circumcision, have by their idolatries become uncircumcised in heart and because they have rejected the overture of heaven and repented, must now endure the consequences of those choices.
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