Scripture reading – Jeremiah 9
Known as the “weeping prophet,” Jeremiah certainly epitomized that label in Jeremiah 9. I believe it can be supposed he was continuing to stand in the gate of the Temple where the LORD had sent him to proclaim the word of the LORD to the worshippers (7:2).
Jeremiah 9 – Jeremiah’s Lament over Jerusalem
Overcome with sorrow, Jeremiah described a perpetual state of tears, saying, “1Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” (9:1). He wept day and night (9:1), and wished there was a place of escape, “a lodging place of wayfaring [traveling]men” (9:2). He would rather have been a resident in the wilderness, than live in the midst of an adulteress nation of treacherous, unfaithful men (9:2).
The Wickedness and Hypocrisy in Jeremiah’s Day (9:3-16)
Standing before those who had come to make a pretense of worship in the Temple, Jeremiah did not spare words when he described their hypocrisy. We read, “They bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant [strong; mighty; heroic] for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil [sin; wickedness] to evil, and they know [understand; acknowledge] not me, saith the LORD” (9:3).
Do those words not describe our world, and churches? Preachers bend the truth with their tongues, like the bent arch of a bow (9:3a). People do not know, nor do they understand the ways of the LORD, for He is holy (9:3c). In Jeremiah’s day, there were none who could be trusted (9:4a), for everyone had become like Jacob (Genesis 27:36), a liar, and deceiver (9:4). They did not speak the truth (9:5a; Ephesians 4:25), and wearied themselves pursuing sin (9:6b).
Judah had become a nation of liars and hypocrites (9:6), and there were none “valiant for the truth” (9:3b).
Is that not the fundamental sin, the spiritual flaw of our day? There are few who “speak the truth” (9:5), and “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3). There are few pastors that will, “2preach the word…reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). In Jeremiah’s day, as it is in our day, when the clarion call of truth was needed, there were none “valiant for the truth” (9:3).
Judah had become a nation of proud, stubborn, conceited, and incorrigible murderers, thieves, adulterers, and idolaters (9:3-8). Yet, the LORD would have shown them mercy if they had repented and turned to Him (9:10). Taking His mercies for granted, they followed in the sinful steps of their fathers (9:12-14).
The time for repentance had past, and the LORD declared he would feed His people with “wormwood” (bitter herbs), “give them water of gall to drink” (a poisonous blend, 9:15), and scatter them among the heathen (9:16).
Three Declarations of God’s Judgment (9:17-24)
1) Jeremiah was commanded to call for the professional mourners to weep over Jerusalem; however, so many would die there would not be enough mourners to weep over the dead (9:17-21). 2) Describing the brutality of Babylon’s victory over Jerusalem, Jeremiah foretold their dead bodies would be left unburied (9:22). 3) Finally, there would be nothing the people could do to save themselves. The wise were warned their wisdom would not save them. The strength of the mighty men would not avail. The wealth of the rich man would perish with him (9:23).
There was only one thing in which men could place their hope, and that was the knowledge of God’s immutable character. He declared of Himself, “I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (9:24).
Closing thoughts – Foolish men boast in much, but the godly boast only in the character and promises of the LORD who is gracious and merciful (“lovingkindness”), just (for He judges between the righteous and the wicked), and holy (for He is wholly righteous, 9:24).
Does your heart burn with passion for the Truth? Many lament the moral decay of our society, and the carnality in our homes, churches and schools. But how many of us contend for the faith, and pursue godliness and holiness? (Romans 12:1-2; 1 Peter 1:16).
What about you? Too many occupy churches that entertain the masses, and sit under preaching that tickles the ears, but never pierces the heart.
Are you “valiant for the truth?”
Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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