Jeremiah 17 (NLT)
Judah’s Sin and Punishment
“The sin of Judah
is inscribed with an iron chisel—
engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts
and on the corners of their altars.
Because of their idolatry, which had caused sin to be deeply engraved in their hearts, there will be tragic consequences:
2 Even their children go to worship
at their pagan altars and Asherah poles,
beneath every green tree
and on every high hill.
3 So I will hand over my holy mountain—
along with all your wealth and treasures
and your pagan shrines—
as plunder to your enemies,
for sin runs rampant in your land.
Jerusalem will fall . . .
4 The wonderful possession I have reserved for you
will slip from your hands.
I will tell your enemies to take you
as captives to a foreign land.
. . . and the people of Judah will be sent into exile.
For my anger blazes like a fire
that will burn forever.”
“The human heart is an idol factory. Every one of us from our mother’s womb is an expert in inventing idols.”
–attributed to John Calvin
Wisdom from the Lord
5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
who rely on human strength
and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
6 They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
with no hope for the future.
“The Bedouin call this tree the ‘Cursed Lemon’ or ‘Sodom Apple’ because it grows in the desert salt lands that surround the Dead Sea where Sodom and Gomorrah once were. According to their legends, when God destroyed Sodom, he cursed the fruit of this tree also…. When opened, the fruit makes a ‘pssst’ sound, and is hollow and filled with webs and dust and a dry pit.”
They will live in the barren wilderness,
in an uninhabited salty land.
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?
Unregenerate human nature is in a grave condition without divine grace, “desperately wicked.” Other translations have it as “exceedingly corrupt” (ASV), “desperately sick” (ESV), “too sick to be healed” (GNT). It may seem a harsh description but I have noticed, in my life and in others’, that we do not drift towards righteousness. Left to our own devices, we prove the truth of this verse.
Psalm 19:14 (ESV)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
according to what their actions deserve.”
Because God perfectly knows the heart and mind of man, His judgment is true. God knows to what extent the heart either justifies or condemns the thoughts/words/deeds of a man or woman.
Jeremiah’s Trust in the Lord
11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid,
so are those who get their wealth by unjust means.
At midlife they will lose their riches;
in the end, they will become poor old fools.
12 But we worship at your throne—
eternal, high, and glorious!
Revelation 4:1-6 (NIV)
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
13 O Lord, the hope of Israel,
all who turn away from you will be disgraced.
They will be buried in the dust of the earth,
for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.
14 O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
if you save me, I will be truly saved.
My praises are for you alone!
15 People scoff at me and say,
“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?
Why don’t your predictions come true?”
With this taunt Jeremiah is accused of being a false prophet.
16 Lord, I have not abandoned my job
as a shepherd for your people.
I have not urged you to send disaster.
You have heard everything I’ve said.
17 Lord, don’t terrorize me!
You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.
18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,
but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.
Bring a day of terror on them.
Yes, bring double destruction upon them!
Observing the Sabbath
19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates. 20 Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. 21 This is what the Lord says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline.
24 “‘But if you obey me, says the Lord, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 25 then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. 26 And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord’s Temple.
27 “‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”
“Similar principles apply to the Lord’s Day for Christians. It too is for spiritual and physical refreshment, remembrance of the Redeemer and our redemption, worship of the Lord, and commemorating our Lord’s first-day-of-the-week Resurrection victory.”
I love verse 14:
O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
if you save me, I will be truly saved.
My praises are for you alone!
A song of praise for our glorious Lord! “O Worship the King” was written by Sir Robert Grant. Born in 1779 in India, he went to college in England, became a lawyer, won a seat in Parliament, and returned to India as a director with the East India Company. In 1834 he was asked to be the governor of Bombay. He died four years later, and is best remembered for penning this hymn, his rendition of Psalm 104. HERE it is performed in St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.