In‭ ‬Jer.‭ ‬14.,‭ ‬as in many parts of the prophets,‭ ‬a calamitous state of things is depicted as prevailing in the land of Israel.‭ ‬It is a picture of dearth‭ -‬no rain,‭ ‬the ground chapt,‭ ‬the gates languishing,‭ ‬a black aspect on everything,‭ ‬Jerusalem and the country round full of mourning-the children of the nobles themselves on the outlook everywhere for water.‭

If we enquire the meaning of it,‭ ‬we are led straight into the heart of instruction.‭ ‬We do not require to go far to get the meaning.‭ ‬It is asked and supplied in the chapter.‭ ‬The question is put why God should thus neglect his people-why he should be as a stranger in the land-why he should let it seem as if he had no power to save.‭ ‬The answer is straight and strong,‭ ‬and it is an answer from God.

"‬Thus saith the Lord unto this people.‭" ‬What saith He‭? ‬Why that they have loved to wander from Him:‭ ‬that they have forsaken Him:‭ ‬that they have forgotten Him.‭ ‬What then‭?

‭"‬Therefore the Lord‭ ‬doth not accept them:‭ ‬he will now‭ ‬remember their iniquity and visit their sins.‭"

This then is the explanation of the evil things that befel Israel in their land.‭ ‬It was as Moses told them when they came out of Egypt.‭

‭"‬Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God in not keeping His commandments and His judgments and His statutes,‭ ‬which I command thee this day.‭ ‬.‭ ‬If thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God‭ ‬.‭ ‬.‭ ‬.‭ ‬the Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust.‭ ‬.‭ ‬Thou shalt not prosper in thy ways.‭ (‬Deut‭)‬.‭"

It may be said,‭ ‬this is all ancient history,‭ ‬what has it to do with us‭? ‬A moment's enlightened reflection will bring the answer.‭ ‬It is ancient history written for us.‭ ‬It is among the‭ "‬whatsoever things‭ '‬that‭' ‬were written‭ ‬for our learning,‭ " ‬of which Paul speaks in Romans.

‭ ‬Paul says the same thing even about the incidents that happened to Israel on their way from Egypt to Caanan,‭ ‬Referring to such unlikely things as their murmurings and God's manifested displeasure,‭ ‬he says,

‭ "‬all these things happened unto them for example:‭ ‬and they are‭ ‬written for our admonition‭" (‬1‭ ‬Cor.‭ ‬10:11‭)‬.

‭ ‬If this is true of the events of the Exodus,‭ ‬how much more of the messages of the prophets.‭ ‬They are intended to convey instruction.‭ ‬It is not difficult to see that they do so.‭ ‬If God was displeased with Israel for wandering from Him,‭ ‬will it be any different with us‭?

‭ ‬It is the great crime of the present age that God is ignored and forgotten.‭ ‬It is a crime we were once guilty of.‭ ‬It is a crime into which it is very easy to relapse.‭ ‬Hence the wisdom of reading and studying the prophets,‭ ‬as well as other parts of the Scriptures,‭ ‬that we may come quite into harmony with God's views of human action,‭ ‬and be preserved from those wrong views which only bring misery and destruction at last.‭

In the case of Israel,‭ ‬it was the law of God by Moses they neglected:‭ ‬in our case,‭ ‬it is the same voice speaking from heaven by Christ,‭ ‬and recorded in the apostolic writings and nowhere else.‭ ‬It is this that the whole world neglects and leaves out of account as entirely as if it had never been delivered.‭ ‬It is this that we may be drawn into forgetfulness of,‭ ‬by the influence of other things,‭ ‬and the supreme power of universal example.

Sunday Morning 182. TC 09/1887

1 The word of Yahweh that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.

The dearth is emblematic of a spiritual famine which gripped the land in its apostacy, probably in the days of Jehoiakim, resulting from a withdrawing of the heavenly blessings -

"And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron" -.

Deut 28: 23 , Amos 4: 7, Zech 14: 17.

The harvests were dependent on the autumn and spring rains - Joel 2: 23,24.

When these failed and then the ground became baked and hard and could not be ploughed or the seed sown or germinate, or the spring growth at Passover, the harvests of Pentecost (wheat harvest) and Tabernacles (summer fruits) failed, the land becoming desolate, wells and fountains drying up, so the people thirsted - Psa 42: 1,2, and hungered - Matt 5: 6.

This is what characterises the last days of Judah's commonwealth, as also the last days of the Gentiles ecclesially. Apostacy, war, famine, pestilence, the triple scourge - Matt 27: 7.*

2 Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

The famine was widespread affecting Judah and Jerusalem. Gates speak of the inhabitants and rulers who meet at the open space, for judgement and concourse - Gen 22:17, Ezk 46: 2,3.

"Yahweh loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob" - Psa 87: 2.

But here they were defiled and polluted, and the people mourned and were black because of the famine - 2kings 25:3,

"Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field - Lam 4: 8-9

Symbolic of their spiritual apostate state. No light - Isa 9: 2, Jhn 1: 5, 3: 19,20; Lk 1: 79; Isa 60: 1,2.

4 Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.

The condition of the ground is described. Hard and unyielding, unreceptive to the plough or the seed - Matt 13: 4-7. There was no good ground v23, as it was baked hard by the lack of fructifying water. This sinful state of the heart naturally, hardened by sin, the word of God can make no impression upon it.*

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 ass contrasted with the domestic ass, symbol of Israel - jdg 5: 10, Matt 21: 5. The wild ass was untameable, a law unto itself, distaining human society for the wild barren hills. Yet they could find no pasture, panting for air, and hungered like jackals, sharp eyes failing in the heat exhaustion, aptly describing Israel in its apostacy, vitality expended -

"For this cause many are weak and sickly among you" - 1 Cor 11: 30, Isa 6: 9,10.

"The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?" -  Jer 5: 31

*Bro Richard Lister - The Apocalyptic Messenger, Sept 2020

7 O Yahweh, 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 recognises the apostate state of Judah and identifies himself with it in the intercessionary role he enacts here in his compassion for the sufferings of the people in their distress, whilst admitting the principle that their works do testify against them, that they corrupted themselves (Deut 31: 20,29) and thus brought Yahweh' judgements upon themselves.

..Yahweh shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns: they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit... And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land - Jer 12: 15-17.*

Bro Richard Lister - The Apocalyptic Messenger, Sept 2020

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 [The triple scourge].‭ "‬Pray not for this people for their good.‭ ‬When they fast,‭ ‬I will not hear their cry.‭ ‬When they offer burnt offering and an oblation,‭ ‬I will not accept them.‭"

The reason of his severe attitude,‭ ‬we have already seen.‭ ‬Israel had forgotten God and discarded His law.‭ ‬Consider in this light the community among whom we live.‭ ‬Jesus said,‭

‭"‬I pray not for the world.‭"

‭ ‬It is a parallel case.‭ ‬Prayer is only acceptable on behalf of those who fear and love and obey God.‭ ‬The world does none of these things.‭ ‬It is in the position of Belshazzar to whom Daniel said,

‭ "‬The God in whose hands thy breath is and whose are all thy ways hast thou not glorified.‭"

It is therefore in a position of great wickedness,‭ ‬with all its education and refinements‭; ‬and it has not ceased to be true that‭ "‬the friendship of the world is enmity with God.‭" ‬We have stood aside from the world:‭ ‬are we acceptable with God‭? ‬Yes,‭ ‬if we fear and love him,‭ ‬and listen to him in the daily reading of His word,‭ ‬and serve him in the observance of the‭

‭"‬all things whatsoever he has commanded us by Christ.‭"

If we do not these things,‭ ‬but merely mind earthly things like all the world around us,‭ ‬in what are we better than they‭? ‬In that case,‭ ‬we are worse than they,‭ ‬because we know better and have promised differently.‭ ‬To be‭ "‬condemned with the world‭"—‬to have part in the‭ "‬judgment that will devour the adversary‭" ‬is the destiny divinely written beforehand,‭ ‬of all who are in this relation to these things.‭ ‬Here the matter comes home to us.‭

We have been separated like Israel,‭ ‬to be a people,‭ ‬but God's pleasure in us depends upon our faithfulness to him.‭ ‬If we hold our position in the gospel,‭ ‬merely as a man holds a policy of insurance or a deed of conveyance—that is,‭ ‬as an instrument of personal advantage in a futurity for which we find it our interest to provide,‭ ‬God will have no pleasure in us,‭ ‬and we shall find the gospel of no advantage.‭ ‬

Christ will refuse to pray for us,‭ ‬and we shall go to his judgment seat at last to find our sins unforgiven,‭ ‬and our path closed by condemnation.‭

Looking at Israel as exhibited to us in the Scriptures of truth,‭ ‬we learn what is pleasing to God and what is not.

‭Seasons 2: 52 / Sunday Morning 252

14 Then Yahweh 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.

Here was a direct issue between one man and many,‭ ‬as to whether good or evil was in store for the God-neglecting inhabitants of Jerusalem.‭ ‬The people who heard the one contradicting the many,‭ ‬had to wait to see which was right,‭ ‬so far as actual realization was concerned.‭ ‬We are not in that position.‭

We look back and see that the truth was with Jeremiah and not with the community who were opposed to him.‭ ‬In terrible reality,‭ ‬sword and famine came and desolated the country,‭ ‬almost destroying the whole population for the time being.‭ ‬The application to ourselves is plain.‭

The Word of God by the prophets has been proved true over and over again.‭ ‬Therefore what they have written concerning our future will come to pass.‭ ‬On this we stand,‭ ‬however much appearances may be against us.‭ ‬It is written

‭ "‬Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily,‭ ‬therefore the heart of the sons of men is set in them to do evil.‭"

This is our experience.‭ ‬Because the declared purpose of God seems to tarry,‭ ‬the bulk of men hang back or turn away from the testimony,‭ ‬and give themselves entirely over to

‭ "‬the desires of the flesh and of the mind.‭"

Here is the trial of faith and patience.‭

‭"‬Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:‭ ‬for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.‭"

The purpose of God will surely be accomplished,‭ ‬and happy will they all be who hold fast their confidence to the end.‭ ‬We know what God says,

‭ "‬If any man draw back,‭ ‬my soul shall have no pleasure in him.‭"

‭The Christadelphian, Sept 1887

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.

...the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach and with a very grievous blow.‭ ‬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.‭"

There are two features about this deserving of notice.‭ ‬One is obvious,‭ ‬and will be allowed by all who receive the Scriptures,‭ ‬and that is that

it is according to the mind of God that we have such sympathy with all things pertaining to Jerusalem as to mourn for her in the day of her desolation.‭ ‬A sorrow on this account is not on the list of the world's virtues by any means.‭ ‬It belongs notwithstanding to those mental states which are unto God as a sweet smelling savour.‭

Probed to its root,‭ ‬it is a sympathy with all things that are truly divine and wise and true and good‭; ‬for Jerusalem represents the work and purposes of God in the earth as distinguished from the mere likes and schemes of man which are all destined to perish.

‭ ‬The other point which might not perhaps catch attention so easily is the light incidentally thrown by this prophecy on the subject of inspiration as affecting some portions of the Scripture that would not seem by their form to be inspired.‭ ‬Jeremiah is commanded to use words that would appear to be a mere personal lament of his own:

‭ "‬Let mine eyes run down with tears.‭"

The words so written were the words of God,‭ ‬though apparently the words of Jeremiah.‭ ‬God made use of the expression of Jeremiah's feelings as the form in which His own mind concerning Israel was to be expressed.‭

Study shews this to be the case in hundreds of cases where it is not expressly stated to be the case.‭ ‬For example,‭ ‬the Psalms of David are all in this form,‭ ‬so much so,‭ ‬that some have a difficulty in realising that they can be the words of the Spirit.‭ ‬Yet the Psalms of David are repeatedly quoted in the New Testament as the expression of the Spirit.

‭ ‬The case of Jeremiah before us may show us how this can be‭; ‬for of David,‭ ‬as of Jeremiah,‭ ‬it is true that the Spirit of God was the moving power of his utterance,‭ ‬though those utterances took a personal form.‭ ‬As David declares:

‭"‬The Spirit of God spake by me,‭ ‬and His word was on my tongue.‭"

A recognition of the all-prevailing presence of the Spirit of God in the Scriptures is essential to a right estimate and a right use of these inestimable writings.‭ ‬By this,‭ ‬we are enabled to read them with the result that Paul tells us they were given by inspiration for,‭ ‬viz.:‭ ‬that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works and so be prepared for‭ "‬entering abundantly‭" ‬the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.‭"


The Christadelphian, Sept 1887