Bible Study: Jeremiah 11:1-23
In today's lesson, God proclaims the consequences for breaking the covenant with Him and defends Jeremiah from accusers.
Jeremiah Chapter 11
Lessons from the text
When Jeremiah's life was threatened because of his preaching, God rose up to defend him. He proclaims destruction upon the accusers and the house; there will not even be a remnant left of them. It is a terrible, terrible thing to be fighting against God.
If someone stands up and the claims that he is speaking on God's behalf, then you are to listen and consider his words. You are not to instantly proclaim that he is a heretic, blasphemer, or false teacher. Over time, his words will either be proven or disproven to be from God. (See Deuteronomy 18:15-22 for the law of discerning false prophets.)
If a person is teaching people to commit acts that are clearly outlined as sins in the word of God, then one is allowed to rebuke that person and deny that his spiritual movement is of God (Deut. 13:1-3). But if you disagrees with a spiritual movement because it does not fit your traditions or customs, then you had best leave that group alone, least you be found to be fighting against God. If something is not of God, then it will fade away in with time. If it is of God, then nothing you can do could possibly prevent it, so you had best not even try!
Verse by Verse Commentary
1-2 God gives Jeremiah a new sermon directed at the Southern Kingdom.
3-5 God begins by reminding the people of the covenant which they entered into during the Exodus. The covenant is simple; if the people are obedient to God, then God will give them the promised land. Even though God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that their descendants would live in the land of Canaan, God cannot bless sinners. The people have to turn from sin and believe in God in order to receive this promise. Upon hearing this, Jeremiah agrees with the Lord, saying, "so be it."
6-8 God wants Jeremiah to go to the different cities proclaiming the covenant and the fact that, since God gave the covenant, the people have been disobedient to it. Part of the covenant is that if one is found disobedient to it, then the blessings promised by obedience will be turned into curses against that person. See Deuteronomy 27-28. for a list of blessings and curses.
9-14 This chapter is the message that Jeremiah speaks publicly to the people, yet he is merely repeating the conversation that he has had with God. Jeremiah would see God in a vision, they would speak to one another, and then Jeremiah would relay that conversation to the appropriate audience.
A conspiracy refers to the fact that the people have turned away from God for idols and yet continue the priestly services believing that they can satisfy God's requirements and still do as they please (Isa. 1:11-15).
To the contrary, they will have to pay the consequences for breaking the covenant with God, even losing the privilege of intercession by the man of God. Because they have forsaken him, God says that in their time of trouble, they should go and pray to the false gods. Since they have chosen to serve false gods, God says that they should follow through with their choice. Of course, idols cannot save in a time of trouble, so God is shaming them and bring them to the realization that they cannot get help from the idols to which they have turned.
15 Israel, as God's wife, is His beloved. Nonetheless, they have no part in Him for they have chosen to have nothing to do with Him. Not only have they done wickedly, but also they have stopped making the holy sacrifices that activate the covenant with God. If one fails to perform the requirements of the covenant, then it does not apply to one.
16-17 Israel is a beautiful olive tree: healthy, vibrant, and fruitful. This is the view God wishes to have of His people. However, because of their sins, God has to destroy them by judgment, which is symbolized by fire.
18-19 The sermon ceases, and the Scriptures enter into Jeremiah's recollection of personal events.
As God gave Jeremiah knowledge of the nation's sins, and he saw it for himself, he went naïvely about proclaiming God's word not realizing that people were conspiring against him for his hurt. These people hated him so thoroughly that they not only wanted to cut him off, but also cut off all of his fruit, or messages. The real issue that these people have is not against Jeremiah, but against God's message which he is proclaiming. The man of God is often rebuked because people hate what he represents. That is, sinners do not wish to be reminded that there is a God, and that there is a judgment coming if they do not repent.
20-23 After having discovered the conspiracy against his life, Jeremiah prays for God's intervention. Because Jeremiah is being persecuted for preaching God's words, God immediately comes to his defense, proclaiming thorough destruction on the specific men that have tried to destroy Jeremiah. God often takes the devices of the wicked and turns them around so that the wicked suffer the very trap that they set for others (Ps. 9:15, 57:6). Here they threaten to kill Jeremiah if he did not stop preaching, so God turns it around and says that they shall surely die.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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