Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20041103.htm
JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part IV: Prophecies Concerning Judah
B. God's Call And Rich Blessings For Turning To Him ALONE For Fulfillment
Lesson: If we REPENT of FALSE IDOLS to which we turn for fulfillment, be they other people or worldly lusts, etc., and look to CHRIST ALONE for fulfillment, HE will (1) supply what we materially need to do His will on earth, (2) bring us into contact with teachers after His own heart who expound His Word that we might know how to live and serve God, (3) all to result in true, rewarding fellowship with God and other godly people, 1 John 1:3-4 (fulfilled in full in Christ's Kingdom and Eternal State).
- Though God despises our turning to sources other than Himself for fulfillment, a deed known as idolatry (Ryrie St. Bib., KJV ftn. to 1 John 5:21), He receives those who repent in the matter, John 6:37b.
- Jeremiah 3:6-4:4 describes this fact in rich imagery as follows:
- God's Call And Rich Blessings For Turning To Him ALONE For Fulfillment, Jeremiah 3:6-4:4.
- When God addressed Israel and Judah about their sin of turning to false idols for fulfillment, He critiqued Israel's sin, but noted that Judah had sinned more than Israel for faking repentance about her idolatry:
- The Lord revealed how the Northern Kingdom of Israel had departed from Him in practicing immoral pagan idolatry for fulfillment, and how He had patiently waited for the nation to repent, Jer. 3:6-7a.
- As the Southern Kingdom of Judah watched how God would respond to this sin of fellow Hebrews in Israel, God sent Israel into the Assyrian Captivity, proving He would judge His own, Jeremiah 3:7b-8a.
- Yet, Judah did not learn from Israel's fall, but similarly practiced immoral pagan idolatry and then pretended to repent while holding onto her idols to try to influence God not to punish her, 3:8b-10.
- Accordingly, God viewed faithless Israel, the Northern Kingdom that had already been judged by the Assyrian Captivity as being more righteous than Judah who had faked her repentance from apostasy, 3:11!
- In grace, God urged both Israel and Judah to repent so that He could richly bless them both, Jer. 3:12-18:
- God called Israel to repent for restoration out of her captivity, Jeremiah 3:12-13.
- He then promised wonderful blessings if she acknowledged her idolatry as follows, Jeremiah 3:14-18:
- God promised to restore a repentant remnant of Israel back to Zion, the Land of Promise, Jer. 3:14.
- God promised to supply human shepherds after His own heart, men like the former, beloved, great king David, the shepherd after God's own heart, 3:15a; 1 Samuel 13:14 with 1 Samuel 16:7-13.
- These shepherds would feed repentant people in Israel edifying Bible exposition, Jer. 3:15b: (a) The "knowledge" (KJV, NIV, ESV) such human shepherds would teach refers to factual information (day'ah, cf. Kittel, Bib. Hebr., p. 708; B. D. B., A Hebr.-Engl. Lex. of the O. T., p. 395), and the "understanding" (KJV, NIV, ESV) they would teach was "an intelligent knowledge of the reason" behind these facts (emphasis ours) (haskayl, cf. Ibid., Kittel; Harris, Archer, Waltke, eds., Theol. Wrdbk. of the O. T., v. II, p. 877). (b) Since these shepherds would feed people "knowledge" of the Lord that the priests who handled Scripture had failed to do in Jeremiah 2:8, the "knowledge" and "understanding" of Jer. 3:15b refers to "Bible exposition" about God from His Word (2 Tim. 4:1-2)!
- As a result of this repentance, great blessings would flow: (a) In accord with the Mosaic Covenant, the people of God who had Scripture expounded to them would obey God and see Him thus bless them, 3:16a. (b) Then, in place of ritual worship at the ark or before idols, they would have direct fellowship with Christ Who will rule on Jerusalem's throne in His Kingdom, 3:16b-17a. (c) Then, even pagan Gentile nations will turn from idols to come to Jerusalem to worship Christ with both Israel and Judah, meaning great worldwide fellowship would result among all sanctified believers in Christ who would come from all the world's nations to Christ's presence, 3:17b-18a. (d) In place of captivity to Gentile overlords in Assyria and Babylon (the north = the direction to return from these lands), Israel and Judah would return to Canaan no longer under divine judgment, Jeremiah 3:18b!
- God thus renewed his call for Israel to repent of her idolatry in Jeremiah 3:19-4:2 and for Judah to repent in truth from a hypocritical repentance in Jeremiah 4:3-4 so He could bless them BOTH in grace!
Application: If we are in sin, may we TRULY REPENT and see God BLESS us RICHLY in His grace!