Jeremiah: Prophet Of Judgment Followed By Blessing

Part XL: Jeremiah's Message Of Judgment Even To A Rebellious Superior

(Jeremiah 19:1-20:6)


I.                 Introduction

A.    When God called first Jeremiah to his prophetic ministry, He told him that he would be opposed by all the people of the land, that they would not accept his message, Jeremiah 1:17-19.

B.     Perhaps the most difficult opposition Jeremiah faced was that of a fellow priest who was his superior in rank.

C.     Nevertheless, he faced it, and handled it in Jeremiah 19:1-20:6 by God's equipping, providing a lesson for us:

II.              Jeremiah's Message Of Judgment Even To A Rebellious Superior, Jeremiah 19:1-20:6.

A.    God gave Jeremiah a message of judgment to deliver to the elders of the people, the elders of the priests and to all the people in the temple, a message illustrated by Jeremiah's breaking of a pottery jar, Jeremiah 19:1-15:

1.      The Lord told Jeremiah to take a "narrow-necked pottery flask or vessel for carrying water," a baqbuq, "an onomatopoetic word suggesting the sound the water made as it was poured out," and take elders of the people and of the priests with him out of the city to the Valley of Ben Hinnom south through the Potsherd Gate where broken pieces of pottery were thrown away, Jer. 19:1-2. (Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1153)

2.      There he was to announce God's judgment on Judah for all of her idolatry (Jer. 19:3-6), a fitting message in that location since that valley contained the high places of Baal, Topheth, where the people offered their infants in the fire, what Jeremiah mentioned in his message of God's judgment, Ibid., p. 1153-1154, 1140.

3.      Jeremiah described how God would bring on Judah the tragedies of an invasion and cannibalism of their children due to the famine of the siege as predicted in the Mosaic Covenant, Jer. 19:7-9; Deut. 28:53.

4.      Jeremiah was then to throw the clay jar down, shattering it, and say God would similarly destroy Judah's people and Jerusalem, defiling it like Topheth where the pagan high places in the Valley of Hinnom were located, doing the same to Jerusalem's houses where idolatry was also practiced, Jeremiah 19:10-13.

5.      The prophet Jeremiah then returned to the temple to proclaim to all the people there that God would destroy Jerusalem and Judah for their rebellion against the words of the Lord, Jeremiah 19:14-15.

B.     However, Pashhur, the chief officer of the temple, rejected Jeremiah's words and persecuted him, Jer. 20:1-2:

1.      The chief officer of the temple named Pashhur, who was Jeremiah's superior as a priest (Jer. 1:1), heard how Jeremiah had predicted these things, and he rejected his message.

2.      Accordingly, Pashhur flogged Jeremiah with forty lashes across the back and put him in the stocks in the temple area, securing his feet, hands and neck, "bending the body double" so Jeremiah and his message could be ridiculed, Jer. 20:1-2; Ibid., p. 1154; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Jeremiah 20:2.

C.     Nevertheless, God then led Jeremiah boldly to announce His personal judgment against Pashhur, Jer. 20:3-6:

1.      When Pashhur released Jeremiah the next day, God emboldened him to announce a personal judgment against Pashhur for not just persecuting God's prophet, but also for opposing God's message through him.

2.      Jeremiah announced that the Lord did not call his name "Pashhur," meaning "deliverance is round about," but "Magor-Missabib," meaning "terror is surrounding" (Zon. Pict. Ency. Bib., v. Four, p. 604), for since Pashhur had rejected God's message, "he would see the outpouring of God's judgment.  He would watch in terror as his own friends fell by the sword, and he would see Babylon carry away all the wealth of Jerusalem as plunder (cf. 15:13; 17:3).  Pashhur and his family would be exiled in Babylon where they would die" and be buried, Jeremiah 20:3-6a; Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1154.

3.      The key reason for this judgment was Pashhur's prophecy of "lies" formed when he ridiculed Jeremiah's message by persecuting him, causing others to doubt it when it was really God's message, Jer. 20:6b; Ibid.!


Lesson: When God directed Jeremiah to predict divine judgment on Judah for her gross idolatries accompanied by a dramatic object lesson of his shattering of a pottery vessel, giving the message first to Judah's elders and priests and then to the people, only to be persecuted as if he were a false prophet by the priestly official Pashhur, God still held Pashhur and all Judah accountable to heed Jeremiah's message because Jeremiah spoke GOD'S message, and to punish Pashhur for teaching a LIE to the people -- the lie that Jeremiah's message was NOT from God!


Application: (1) If God directs us to give His truth to others, we can be sure He will hold them accountable to heed it even if the hearer is our human superior!  (2) If someone ministers unto us a message he claims is God's truth, we must check Scripture to see if it is true, for if it IS true, GOD HIMSELF will hold us responsible to HEED it!