Jeremiah: Prophet Of Judgment Followed By Blessing

Part XXV: God's Indictment Of Jeremiah's Generation For Conspiring To Disobey His Word

(Jeremiah 11:1-17)


I.                 Introduction

A.    Each generation of believers is responsible to heed God's Word so that we cannot trust the Lord's blessings of our forefathers to extend to us, for God deals with us based on our own personal responses to His Word.

B.     This truth is presented in Jeremiah 11:1-17, and we view this passage for our insight and edification:

II.              God's Indictment Of Jeremiah's Generation For Conspiring To Disobey His Word, Jer. 11:1-17 ESV.

A.    The historical setting for Jeremiah 11:1-17 is important to note in view of its message (as follows):

1.      Several markers in the passage lead scholars to date its message at 621 B. C., the "year the temple was being repaired as part of King Josiah's reforms, and a copy of the Law was discovered in the renovation (cf. 2 Chron. 34:14-33)," Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1143.

2.      Josiah had responded to the reading of that Law that he had never yet heard by tearing his clothes, for he realized Judah was guilty of judgment since her forefathers had not obeyed the Law, 2 Kings 22:11-13!

3.      Josiah had followed up this personal repentance by enacting great national reforms, destroying idols in the temple and throughout the land and hosting a great Passover celebration, 2 Kings 22:14-23:24.

4.      2 Kings 23:25 thus claims that there was no king before nor after Josiah who had turned to the Lord with all of his might and with all of his soul to heed the Law of Moses!

B.     However, Josiah's wholehearted repentance was not shared by Judah's people, the burden of Jeremiah 11:1-17:

1.      In keeping with king Josiah's example, the Lord directed Jeremiah to remind the men of Judah of the covenant He had formed with their forefathers when He delivered them out of Egyptian bondage and promised to give them a land flowing with milk and honey if they heeded Him, Jeremiah 11:1-5b.

2.      Following Josiah's lead, Jeremiah responded to this divine directive by saying, "So be it, Lord," Jer. 11:5c!

3.      God then told Jeremiah to speak to Judah's people, both in their cities and in Jerusalem, reminding them of His original covenant with their forefathers, but how the forefathers had stubbornly disobeyed the Lord so that He had to punish them, Jeremiah 11:6-8.  In fact, Israel's history from the Exodus down to Jeremiah's era had been "one of rebellion and correction" by the Lord, Ibid., p. 1144.

4.      However, not only had there been a problem with the forefathers, but even under the reign of good King Josiah with his many reforms and exemplary wholehearted devotion to the Lord, among the people of Judah existed a spiritual conspiracy to turn away from the Lord, Jeremiah 11:9.

5.      For this reason, the reforms under Josiah had already proved to be superficial for the people, Jer. 11:10-13:

                             a.         Judah's people had refused to hear God's words, returning to the sins of their forefathers, Jer. 11:10a.

                            b.         Both the house of Israel, the Northern Kingdom then in captivity in Assyria, and the house of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, had broken the covenant the Lord had made at Sinai with their forefathers, Jer. 11:10b.

                             c.         Accordingly, the Lord predicted He was going to bring an inescapable disaster upon them, one so severe that the people of Judah would react by calling on false gods to deliver them, but to no avail, Jer. 11:11-12.

                            d.         Indeed, Judah's false gods were as numerous as their cities and their altars to false gods, especially to Ball, were as many as the streets of Jerusalem, Jeremiah 11:13.

6.      God thus directed Jeremiah not even to intercede for the people of Judah nor to lift up a cry of pain for them, for He would not listen when they called on Him in their time of trouble, Jeremiah 11:14. 

7.      In Jeremiah 11:15, the Lord explained that His people, whom He likened to a beloved wife, had no right even to be in His temple when she had committed so many vile deeds of idolatry, for even sacrificial flesh on God's altar could no longer avert her doom so that she might be able to exult in God's forgiveness!

8.      In the past, God had referred to Judah as a choice green olive tree, beautiful with bountiful fruit, but with a calamitous roar and tempest He would set it on fire in judgment, burning up its branches, Jeremiah 11:16.

9.      God Who had planted Judah as a beautiful olive tree had decreed disaster against her for provoking Him to anger especially with her offerings to the false Canaanite god, Baal, Jeremiah 11:17.


Lesson: Though Jeremiah's generation under King Josiah had opportunity to repent and turn to God for blessing, they chose the rebellious route of their forefathers' idolatry, so like their forefathers, they would also be punished.


Application: May WE see OUR accountability to heed God's Word in OUR era to escape discipline and be blessed!