Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20050223.htm
JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part IV: Prophecies Concerning Judah
Q. Tapping Into God's Spiritual Nurture Amidst A Perverse, Draining Generation
Lesson: In facing persecution from colleagues for doing God's will due to the evil of the world that so warped their viewpoints, Jeremiah found God's nuture by resting in His pledge to judge all involved, in praying to that end and in applying the words God supplied to perform his ongoing responsibilities.
- Most believers wish to live righteously, for God works in us to will and to do just that, Phil. 2:12-13.
- Yet, great evils in our world can so permeate even the views of fellow believers that we find it hard to obey God lest we seem "arrogant" before these colleagues, and experience persecution from them!
- Jeremiah faced this challenge, and he properly handled it in Jeremiah 17:1-27 (as follows):
- Tapping Into God's Spiritual Nurture Amidst A Perverse, Draining Generation, Jeremiah 17:1-27.
- In his day, Jeremiah had to relate to a generation of fellow Hebrews that was so far from God due to the Gentile world's evil influence on them that they persecuted him for doing God's will, 17:1-6, 9, 11, 14-16:
- Jeremiah was called of God to announced all sorts of judgments on his generation for sin, 17:1-9, 11:
- The fellow Hebrews of Jeremiah's era had given themselves to open pagan idolatry, Jer. 17:1-3a. Accordingly, God had him predict judgment on the people for such sin, Jeremiah 17:3b-4.
- Going further, the nation sought to depend on alliances with Egypt for military protection versus trusting the Lord in violation of the Law, cf. Ryrie St. Bib., KJV, ftn. to Jer. 17:5-8; Deut. 17:16. Hence, God had him announce a curse on those who trusted in such alliances, Jeremiah 17:5-6.
- Jeremiah also had to predict those who trusted in their wealth gained by sin would be judged, 17:11.
- The reason for such compounded wayardness was the depravity of the human heart, Jer. 17:9.
- These words of condemnation led to a reaction by his colleagues that drained Jeremiah, 17:14-16:
- Jeremiah 17:14-18 records Jeremiah's plea for vindication from those who despised his ministry of sharing God's word of condemnation against their sin, Ibid., ftn. to Jer. 17:14-18 [cf. esp. v. 16].
- Jeremiah relayed how hurt (17:14a) he felt over how his hearers not only doubted his messages were from God, but also mocked him to say: "Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!" (17:15 ESV)
- Nevertheless, by tapping into God's nuture for spiritual health, Jeremiah was able to KEEP functioning in holiness in the midst of his perverse and draining generation, Jeremiah 17:5-8, 10-13, 17-27:
- Jeremiah rested in God's pledge to judge the guilty and vindicate and nuture the godly , 17:5-8, 10-13:
- God informed Jeremiah He would cause those who trusted in man's power by making unbiblical military alliances with Gentile nations to suffer draught in life versus the godly who would know God's nurture even when others were judged for sin since these godly trust in God, Jeremiah 17:5-8.
- God was sovereign Judge of all men's hearts, 17:10a, so He would judge and reward men according to their works of whether they sought God or false substitutes for nurture in life, Jer. 17:10b, 11-13.
- Jeremiah prayed for God's help with his sufferings caused by his perverse opponents, Jer. 17:14-18:
- In facing his mockers, Jeremiah poured out his heart to the Lord about the pain involved, 17:14-16.
- He asked God for help, healing and vindication upon his persecutors, Jeremiah 17:14-16, 17-18.
- Jeremiah fed on God's continued revelation in His Word that supplied direction and nurture in the way of righteousness he was to go so he could face the power of the perversity he faced, Jeremiah 17:19-27:
- In immediate response to Jeremiah's prayer of personal petition, the Lord directed him to continue informing the people of Judah on their need to obey His law regarding the basic commandment of keeping the Sabbath day holy versus doing business in it for material gain, Jeremiah 17:19-22.
- The nation had violated this basic command, so it was relevant to the people, Jeremiah 17:23.
- Depending on how they responded to this clear, simple command from God through Jeremiah, Jeremiah was to announce either national blessing or judgment for sin, Jeremiah 17:24-26, 27.
Application: We can handle the pain faced in dealing with persecuting colleagues influenced by the world's great evils by (a) trusting God's judgment will one day come, by (b) praying to that end and by (c) the ongoing application of God's Word given for each day's living responsibilities and needs!