Bible Study: Jeremiah 14:1-22
Beginning a new sermon, God decrees that a great spiritual drought is coming to Israel.
Jeremiah Chapter 14
Lessons from the text
Thirsting for God
In God's judgment there is a lack of water. Water nourishes the body. You can go without food for several weeks, but the body cannot go many days without water before shutting down. It is essential for purifying the body.
God is water for our souls (Jer. 2:13). Without His presence, we begin to get thirsty, shriveling up and eventually dying. God's judgment is not so much about the bad things that come our way, but about the absence of His holy presence to nurture and protect us. If you find your soul getting thirsty, fill it by singing His praises, getting in His word, or simply sitting and listening in His presence.
Don't let your thirst for God go unsatisfied. Don't forget to drink from the well of living water. If sin has separated you from God, you need to repent and turn back to God before you find yourself in a spiritual drought where you can no longer find water for your soul.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 God gives Jeremiah a new message. Webster defines dearth as a "scarcity that makes dear" or "an inadequate supply."
2-6 God prophesies concerning the future state of Israel. There will be a time when there will be a severe drought so that not even the grass will have enough water to grow. This drought will be shameful to the inhabitants because it points to the judgment of God. They will be confounded because they will not understand what they have done wrong. The Jews of Jeremiah's day are so deceived by sins that they view themselves as righteous.
7 Seeing this vision, Jeremiah prays to God that He would continue this judgment not because of Israel sins, but because God's name is being tarnished by the choices of the Jews. A true believer of God will always want God's honor and dignity to be kept intact, always wishing that God receive all glory for there is no fault in Him.
8-12 Jeremiah acts as an intercessor for the people, pleading with God to not abandon them. Despite all their sins, God is still in the middle of the Jews. Jeremiah says that God need not be like a wanderer or stranger. God responds by saying that it is the people who have been the wanderer. Because they have chosen to leave Him, God will proceed with judgment against their sins. God even goes so far as to say that He will no longer hear the prayers of the people; Jeremiah has no need to intercede on the their behalf for the people have gone beyond repentance.
13 Jeremiah is concerned for the people. He knows that the majority of what they are hearing are promises of peace and prosperity. Such promises are an error, for the true word of God is warning of destruction. Jeremiah is concerned that being one voice among many, the people will not give heed to him but instead believe the other prophets.
14-16 God responds to Jeremiah's concern by saying that Jeremiah is speaking the truth while the other prophets are not called by Him and therefore are speaking of their own accord and not by God's decree. As such, God will ensure that the exact opposite of their prophecies will come to pass, so that all may know that they have spoken falsely. Since they have prophesied that sword and famine will not come, God will bring those things upon the prophets.
17-22 God gives Jeremiah a lamentation for the people. Because they have listened to the false prophets instead of God, they stand in need of repentance. God instructs the people to consider the coming plight and to acknowledge and pray for their own sins. These verses, while written before the deportation, are also for the survivors; it will be a guide to the remnant of how to return to God. The Lord is gracious to not only help the present generation but also the future generations through the testimony of His word.
17-18 Reminiscent of Jeremiah 3:17, God says He weeps over the coming destruction of His people. During the siege against Jerusalem, those who remain in the city will be plagued with famine, and those who try to flee are slain by the invading army. In the end, all those who have authority (priests and prophets) are deported. See II Chro. 36:11-21 for the fulfillment of these verses. Noteworthy is that despite their sins, God still views the Jews as His virgin daughter.
19 God predicts the response of the people who endure this destruction. Having believed the false prophets, they will look for peace, but only death will come. If they would hearken onto Jeremiah's message, then they would know that peace is not coming. Instead, they will be confused, wondering why God has apparently abandoned them.
20 The people come to a realization of their sin.
21 Based solely on the covenant with God, the people pray for God's pardon. Since the world knows that the Lord is the God of Israel, the destruction of Jerusalem can cause people to draw the wrong conclusions that God is not able to defend His own land. Therefore, the people pray that God will redeem Israel so that His name will not be belittled by the nations.
22 Still prophesying, God says that after experiencing God's judgment, the people will acknowledge that He alone is a living God. They will admit that the gods of the other nations are vanities that cannot bring rain or create anything on the earth. This verse demonstrates the attitude of a repentant nation; stating that they are in sin, they turn away from their past indulgences and praise God for being their maker and ruler.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
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