SCRIPTURE: JEREMIAH CHAPTERS 11-13 (you will need your bible!)
JEREMIAH’S CIRCUMSTANCES has gone from his own shelter to the town square; from the square to the SANCTUARY; from the sanctuary to the streets to proclaim God’s message to Israel.
Jeremiah lived in a day where there was no LOVE for God, no LOYALTY to God and, therefore, no light from God. God had become a by-product in their conversation, a burden on their conduct and a curse in their community. It was a day of SENSUALITY, SENSATIONALISM and SIN.
Listen to God speaking through the prophet’s lips, Jeremiah 7:24:
 They would not listen to and obey Me or bend their ear, but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their backs and went in reverse instead of forward.
It was to this people Jeremiah was sent to be God’s prophetic voice, pleading God to a prodigal people.
Luke 15 tells a story we are all familiar with, of The Prodigal Son–a son who disowned his father and lived life on his own terms. The word “prodigal” means, extravagantly wasteful because of “loose living” i.e. a debauched, profligate lifestyle [Strong Concordance, Ref. #811. (asotos) ].
MY STUDY in Jeremiah 11-13 is not a picture of a single son gone amok, but of a great number of prodigal people.
Chapter 11:1-17 – Broken Commitments
People are prodigal because of their broken commitment…or better stated perhaps, no commitment at all!
When reading through the verses here, pay close attention to the word “COVENANT” ( vss. 2, 3, 6, 8, and 10). Covenant is a word that means AGREEMENT, or pact or alliance. This isn’t a new covenant but the same one made with the forefathers of yesterday (Exodus 19:3; 24:3).
God’s COVENANT is both relational and conditional.
God had never failed to keep His end of the bargain, but the people had.
That brings us to our own commitment. Look at the words in Scripture “Hear”, “Listen to”, “Tell”, “Proclaim”, and “Follow”. It means to HONOR it!
F.B. Havergal wrote, “Faithfulness to principle is only proved by faithfulness in detail.”
A professor in class one day stated, “You can either take this class seriously, or, you can take it over.”
Many in Jeremiah’s day, like many people today, never want to take COMMITMENT seriously.
And, a lack of COMMITMENT manifests itself in several ways:
- THE PRAYER CLOSET [King James Version] – MATTHEW 6:6 (AMP): “But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and close the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.”
A “PRAYER CLOSET”, “private room” might be a daily commute, a bench in the backyard, a walk in the neighborhood, or the kitchen table. The point is, that the “closet” is free from interruption, and listening ears.
“One concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks our wisdom, but trembles when we PRAY” ~ Samuel Chadwick.
- THE BIBLE – Jesus tells us to “Search the scriptures…” (John 5:39)
What would you say of a doctor that never read a medical book, a lawyer who never read a law-book? Then what about a Christian who never reads the Bible?
Charles Spurgeon said, “There is dust enough on some if your Bibles to write “damnation” with your fingers.”
THE CHURCH-HOUSE – The Scriptures say “Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
Something is drastically wrong on Sunday mornings when we have to beg our crowd to come to church to hear about the Good-News.
I’ve noticed over the years, when they do come in the Fall/Winter months, the local teams jersey’s are faithfully worn and the smart phones apps have live feeds of the big game for a quick check of the score. It got to be such a Football Celebration rather than a Christ Celebration on Sunday mornings, a local pastor has now placed signs in the lobby reading “SPORTS FREE ZONE.”
THE OFFERING BASKET – “The basic question is not how much of our money we should give to God, but how much of God’s money we should keep ourselves.” J. Oswald Sanders
JEREMIAH 11:9-14 – Severe Correction.
As to COMMITMENT, when we aren’t reminded constantly and don’t take it seriously, we will be severely corrected. I think my folks said the same when growing up at home.
VERSE 11: “I will bring on them a disaster they cannot escape. Although they cry out to me, I will not listen,” (NIV)
See the word “DISASTER”. For the LOST that means Hell and for the BELIEVER it means that you lose your influence.
The Great Commission doesn’t say “teach” but “teach them to observe” (Matthew 28:20).
JEREMIAH 11:18-23 – A Bloodthirsty Crowd on the Scene.
Tell people about misplaced trust, misguided theology and misleading teachers, people get hot under the collar (See Proverbs 9:7).
Often, they resent criticism, will leave the assembly, or…react in revenge!
I noted 3 things in this passage of Scripture:
Their Place (11:21, 23; 12:6): Family & friends of Jeremiah.
PREACHING, TEACHING the TRUTH doesn’t always make you popular with your audience.
Their Plot (11:18-19): Jeremiah was a bit naive.
He quickly found out how cold, ruthless and inhuman some people can be.
Their Punishment (11:22-23): It is obvious that Jeremiah is human.
He didn’t deny his anger or desire for justice, neither did he take matters in his own hands. Jeremiah cast himself on God’s MERCY,
We need to understand the contrast between Jeremiah and Jesus. How do we handle a PLOT? We do what Jeremiah did and carry it to God.
JEREMIAH 13:1-7 – Defiant Contempt.
In studying this chapter note:
The Parable (13:1-7): It’s self-explainable after reading it several times. The BELT became ruined, rotted and contaminated. It was fully useless.
It is a picture of the condition of God’s people. How did they get that way?
Their Pride (13:8-11): They had lifted up themselves and left out the Savior.
PRIDE is what got Satan expelled from Heaven and the people exiled from the land.
PRIDE lead to their idolatry, immorality and irreverence.
PRIDE has been called the vice of fools and the ruin of nations. Hello, America!
Their Pain (13:14, 21-22, 26-27) – [READ]
BLINDED & CONFUSED (Chapter 12):
The Anguish (12_1-4): JEREMIAH was coming close to concluding that God’s not fair. He seems to think that maybe God has been hoodwinked by these people. They talked of God alright, but were never influenced in their decisions.
Jeremiah 12:2 b. : “You are near in their mouths but far from their hearts.”
The Answer (12:5): I thought it was interesting that God didn’t console or answer Jeremiah. His answer was “You think it’s bad now, what will you do when it really gets serious? ” Cheer up Jeremiah, “the worst is yet to come!”
That’s what you have tom put up with when it come to “prodigal people”.
JESUS IS CALLING…
Calling the prodigal.
Come without delay.
Hear, O hear Him calling,
Calling now today.
Photos: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.
Bible Dictionary: VINE’S Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words – W.E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White Jr.
Commentary: Halley’s Bible Handbook New Revised Edition.