Today: [Jeremiah 25] The Intolerance of God. In this chapter Jeremiah is called to preach to a puppet king installed by the Pharaoh of Egypt. The time of God’s tolerance of the idolatries of the people and the nation are drawing to a close. The consequences of sin are about to be visited upon Jerusalem and all the nations of the fertile crescent. God’s spirit will not always strive with man and it is a sobering warning for our own lives to live in willing contrition before God in any area He puts His finger on.
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[Jer 25:1-38 KJV] 1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that [was] the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; 2 The which Jeremiah the prophet spake unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, 3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that [is] the three and twentieth year, the word of the LORD hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened. 4 And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending [them]; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined your ear to hear. 5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever: 6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. 7 Yet ye have not hearkened unto me, saith the LORD; that ye might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. 8 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Because ye have not heard my words, 9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, [and] an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
Chapter 25 of Jeremiah contains of prophetic word given over a king of Judah whose name is Jehoiakim. What do we know of this king? Jehoiakim ruled the southern kingdom approximately 600 years before the birth of Jesus. He was the son of king Josiah. Originally, after Josiah’s death – Jehoiakim’s younger brother Jehoahaz was placed on the throne. However, the king of Egypt did not approve of the choice and came from Egypt to depose Jehoahaz and place Jehoiakim on the throne. Jehoiakim was not this king’s first name. His given name was Eliakim but the king of Egypt changed his name to Jehoiakim. We can see the depths to which the line of the kings of David have devolved. From the glory of Solomon down to a puppet king installed by one of the greatest enemies of Israel, and named a name which means “Jehovah Raises Up”, which constitutes an insult because the Egyptian kings considered themselves living gods, therefore this was the Pharaoh’s way of saying that he was the god of the Jews.
What was the word of Jeremiah to this king? The Lord speaks and tells the king “I have spoken unto you but you have not hearkened…” Surely this was not news to the king, as he was a neophyte, a vassal king to the king of Egypt and would not have worshipped the God of his fathers. What would have been an astonishment was that the God of the Hebrews, from which he descended would now speak to him in such a denunciatory fashion. At this point in Jeremiah’s ministry he is under constant threat of assassination at the hands of the high priest, the king and the people in the streets, because of his unrelenting call for repentance. Jeremiah’s sin was to expose the “800 pound gorilla” in the room, that is the rampant idolatry of the nation. It was expected that the prophet would ignore the glaring contradiction between the habits of the people and the mandate of God’s word, but he does not. Hence his life is in great danger.
12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, [that] I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations. 13 And I will bring upon that land all my words which I have pronounced against it, [even] all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah hath prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of them also: and I will recompense them according to their deeds, and according to the works of their own hands. 15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. 16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. 17 Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: 18 [To wit], Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as [it is] this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; 20 And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, 21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, 22 And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which [are] beyond the sea, 23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all [that are] in the utmost corners, 24 And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, 25 And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, 26 And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which [are] upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.
Verse 11 and 12 are important to us because this is the first place where the length of the Babylonian captivity is predicted. The people will languish in captivity for 70 years. In another place in the scripture this 70 years is explained as the 70 sabbath-years that the people of God refused to allow the land to lie fallow on the 7th year. This is seemingly a mild infraction of agricultural law but nonetheless the basis on which the length of time the people will be held in Babylon’s captivity.
In verses 14-17 the prophet sees a cup of wine in a vision and it told to take it and pour it out upon the nations. Even though God used the Babylonians to bring the children of Judah to captivity, nonetheless this nation and for that matter all the nations are made to drink of the cup of God’s fury. Though many nations execute God’s justice against backslidden Israel, yet there will be punishment against them for their own idolatries. We can see this in our own modern history as nations rise and fall in the midst of a maelstrom of instability and upheaval, all surrounded by the state of Israel at the eye of this spiritual, geopolitical hurricane.
27 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. 28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. 29 For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. 30 Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread [the grapes], against all the inhabitants of the earth. 31 A noise shall come [even] to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them [that are] wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. 32 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. 33 And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from [one] end of the earth even unto the [other] end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. 34 Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves [in the ashes], ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. 35 And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. 36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, [shall be heard]: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture. 37 And the peaceable habitations are cut down because of the fierce anger of the LORD. 38 He hath forsaken his covert, as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.
In verse 27 the Father says through Jeremiah that many of these nations shall drink of the cup of His wrath, that they might fall and rise no more. This is true of every nation mentioned in Jeremiah. The prophecy came to pass as first the Persians, then Alexander, then the Romans overrun these territories over and again until there is nothing left of their former rulers except a few place names and ruined cities to mark their once powerful presence in the Middle East.
What of Jerusalem? In verse 29 the Father informs Jeremiah that the city that bears His name will not go unpunished. Because of generations of idolatry from Solomon to Zedekiah the Lord will roar from on high (we see in verse 30) bring a great whirlwind of upheaval that will cause the shepherds (the leaders of Israel) to howl and morn because after generations and generations of tolerance, pleading and calls for repentance the Father finally says “enough is enough”. This is very sobering for us as we realize this not only shows us something of the dealings of God with ancient Israel, but also among nations today and in our own lives. Are there matters in your life that God has long been dealing with you regarding? What a sobering thing when we realize that the urgent pleading of the Holy Spirit with a nation or an individual will not last forever. At some point if we refuse to repent, there will be consequences. To that end make it your goal and aim to repent quickly and keep short accounts with the God you are called to serve.
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