TODAY’S READING: JEREMIAH 23-26
Jeremiah preaches about the Righteous King who would rise to the throne (23:1-8); Jeremiah preaches against the false prophets (23:9-40); Jeremiah preaches against the people (24:1-25:38); Jeremiah preaches against false worship and false prophecy (26:1-29:32).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As was mentioned in the previous day’s reading, in chapters 21-29, Jeremiah is called on by God to preach to those to whom God said He would preach back in chapter one, verses 17-19: kings, princes, priests, and the people of the land. Beginning in 21:1, all the way into chapter 23 and verse 8 in today’s reading, Jeremiah has been preaching against the kings. Though God pronounced “woe” upon these wretched shepherds (“pastors”) who were leading Judah to destruction, God begins to point to a different day, when a righteous King from David’s line would rise to the throne! “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (23:5-6). Of course, that righteous Lord, and King from David’s Branch (i.e. line or ances!
try) is none other than the King of kings Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ! Little did Jeremiah or those to whom he was preaching realize that he was actually preaching about what would happen 2000 years after our Lord’s first coming.
In the remainder of chapter 23 (23:9-40), Jeremiah turns from preaching against the kings, to preaching against the prophets. It is amazing how history repeats itself. So many of the things Jeremiah preached as he opposed the prophets of his day, he could come and preach in opposition to many of the preachers in our day! Check out verses 16 and 17: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you”. Again, much like in Laodicea, the words that are so often spoken in the name of the Lord, or in the name of “preaching,” leave people void of the truth of God (II Tim. 4:4). Preachers are to preach a message “out of the mouth of the LORD” (i.e!
. the Word of God!!!), not out “of their own heart.” God has already given His commentary on men’s hearts through Jeremiah back in 17:9. Our hearts are so deceitful and desperately wicked it is near nigh impossible to even know what’s actually going on in them! Spare us the message you feel the Lord has laid on your heart, preachers, and just give us the Lord’s heart as it has been revealed in His Word (“out of the mouth of the LORD” – 23:16)! The message from the prophets in Jeremiah’s day (23:17), like many of the preachers in our own day, was void of judgment. The people were told that they were “going to be all right” (i.e. “No evil shall come upon you”), even though they willfully and blatantly lived for self, self-satisfaction, and self-gratification (i.e. “after the imagination of his own heart”).
In 23:22, God says that if those given the responsibility of heralding His Words would have “stood in his counsel” so that the people would have actually heard the Words of the Lord, the people would have turned from “their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.” Note that evil is described not simply because of the evil things we “do”, but a “way” we are in!
Would to God that every preacher in Laodicea would read 23:31 just before they walk out to preach: “Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.” Woah! Or maybe better stated, “Woe”!!!
In chapters 24 and 25, Jeremiah turns the focus of his preaching against the people. Something you don’t want to miss out of this section is that though the people had horrific spiritual leadership, God still held them responsible for their actions. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, God will not receive the argument, “But my pastor didn’t preach the Word! But I didn’t know!” He has given all of us His Word, and has placed the resident Truth Teacher (the Holy Spirit) inside each one of us (I John 2:27). Note again, that just like in Laodicea (II Tim. 4:3), one of the reasons that Judah had such terrible leadership, is that the people didn’t want godly counsel or leadership! The way Jeremiah was treated is more than proof of that. God says of our day, that the people do “not endure sound doctrine: but after their own lusts... heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they... turn away their ears from the truth ... and unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4).
In chapter 26, Jeremiah begins to preach against, not only the prophets and the people, but the priests as well. In verses 7-15, the priests and the prophets actually call for Jeremiah’s death. Notice in verses 2 and 8 of this chapter that carrying out the Lord’s perfect will, will cost you. “Yea, and all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim. 3:12). Yes, it’ll cost you, but the rewards are out of this world!
SPECIFIC REFERENCES TO “THE DAY OF THE LORD”:
25:29 – “For I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth.”
25:30 – “The Lord shall roar from on high.”
25:31 – “He will give them that are wicked to the sword.”
25:33 – “At that day”
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE KING RAISED UNTO DAVID A RIGHTEOUS BRANCH – Jer. 23:5 (Matt. 2:1; Matt. 1:1; Luke 1:31-33).
As THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS – Jer. 23:6 (I Cor. 1:30; II Cor. 5:21).