Scripture reading – Jeremiah 10

Click on this link for translations of this Bible study.

Beware the Ways of the Heathen (Jeremiah 10:1-2)

Our study of Jeremiah’s prophecies continues with our Scripture reading from Jeremiah 10. Assuming that Jeremiah was continuing his message “in the gate of the LORD’s house” (Jeremiah 7:2), we pick up our study with the prophet heralding to those who came to the Temple:

1Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: 2Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, And be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; For the heathen are dismayed at them” (Jeremiah 10:1-2).

Like all the other heathen nations in Jeremiah’s day, Babylon was a superstitious, fearful lot. The Chaldeans (i.e., Babylonians) looked to “the signs of the heaven” for wisdom and direction. The prophet challenged his people not to follow in their neighbors’ foolish ways!

There is None Like the God of Heaven

Jeremiah Mocked the Idols that Men Worship (Jeremiah 10:3-5)

The prophet described the absurdity of men who worship idols made by their own hands. He described men cutting down a tree, taking the stock, and then carving and shaping it into an image they worshiped (Jeremiah 10:3). Such men adorned their idols, overlaying the wood with silver and gold and using hammers and nails to fasten the parts (Jeremiah 10:4).

Drawing upon the silliness of idols, Jeremiah mocked those who worshipped impotent gods who could not speak or move of their own will (Jeremiah 10:5a). Such idols must be borne about by those foolish enough to worship them “because they cannot go” (i.e., move; Jeremiah 10:5). Therefore, Jeremiah asserted that God’s people have no reason to fear idols, for they can do neither evil nor good (Jeremiah 10:5c).

There is None Like the God of Heaven. (Jeremiah 10:6-13)

Contrasting the “brutish and foolish” (stupid and senseless) men who worship idols made by “cunning men” who overlaid their gods with gold and silver (Jeremiah 10:8-9), Jeremiah reminded the people all the God of Israel had revealed about Himself (Jeremiah 10:6-7, 10-13).

Lifting his eyes to heaven, Jeremiah worshipped the LORD and declared that the LORD is not a God among many; He is great and mighty and the Sovereign of the nations (Jeremiah 10:6-7a). He is superior, and “there is none like unto [Him]” (Jeremiah 10:7b). The LORD is faithful, living, and eternal. He is a just and righteous judge (Jeremiah 10:10).

The heathen worship impotent idols that have created nothing and will come to nothing (Jeremiah 10:11). However, the God of the Scriptures is the Creator, for “He hath made the earth by his power, He hath established the world by his wisdom, And hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion” (Jeremiah 10:12). By His wisdom, He sustains and knows the breadth of the heavens (Jeremiah 10:12). He is the God of nature, and by His voice, the waters move and complete their cycle (evaporation, rain, lightning, and wind, Jeremiah 10:13).

What is Man? (Jeremiah 10:14-15)

What is the natural man apart from God? He is “brutish in his knowledge” (a foolish, senseless being, Jeremiah 10:14a). He is like the idols he fashions, vain and delusional (Jeremiah 10:15a). Such men, in the day of God’s judgment, will perish with their gods (Jeremiah 10:15b).

God’s Covenant People (Jeremiah 10:16-18)

Unlike the heathen, who left to themselves are without knowledge and spiritually depraved, the LORD chose Israel for His inheritance (Jeremiah 10:16). The God of Jacob is not like the idols of man. The LORD “is the former [Creator; framer; maker] of all things” (Jeremiah 10:16a). He chose Israel as the “rod [the symbol of a tribe or people] of His inheritance” (Jeremiah 10:16b). Who is God? “The LORD of hosts is His name” (Jeremiah 10:16c), for He is the LORD of all!

Though the LORD chose Israel, they broke their covenant with Him, and He removed His blessings and protection. Therefore, Jeremiah declared, “Gather up thy wares” (pack up your belongings), inhabitants of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 10:17). The people of Judah, like Israel before them, were to be expelled out of the land, and afflicted (Jeremiah 10:18).

A Faithful, Sorrowful Prophet

A Faithful, Sorrowful Prophet (Jeremiah 10:19-20) 

Though Jeremiah served as God’s prophet for 40 years, Judah refused to heed his warnings and spurned his invitations to turn from their sins to the LORD. Yet, the prophet felt the anguish of His people and cried, “19Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: But I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it” (Jeremiah 10:19).

Jeremiah loved the LORD and cherished his nation, but the people were his grief. Crying out on Jerusalem’s behalf, the prophet foretold the destruction of the “tabernacle” and prophesied that no one would come to Judah’s aid (Jeremiah 10:20).


The Case Against Derelict Pastors (Jeremiah 10:21-22) 

Judah would be judged, but not because Jeremiah had failed the nation. The people rejected him, though he faithfully served and declared the Word of the LORD. Jeremiah stated that “the pastors” (Judah’s religious and political shepherds) failed the nation. They were a “brutish,” foolish, morally depraved lot who had “not sought the LORD” (Jeremiah 10:21a). Jeremiah prophesied that the “pastors” and those who followed them would not know the blessing of the LORD and would be scattered among the heathen-like sheep lost in the wilderness (Jeremiah 10:21b).


Closing thoughts –

Jeremiah foretold the coming of Nebuchadnezzar’s army, and the cities would be destroyed and become havens for “a den of dragons” (i.e., jackals; wild beasts, Jeremiah 10:22c).

Then, Jeremiah did the one thing you and I can do when we observe the frightening state of our nation and world…He prayed (Jeremiah 10:23-25). He confessed that the natural man is foolish and finds no wisdom or direction within himself (Jeremiah 10:23). He prayed for God’s grace and mercy, saying, “24O Lord, correct me, but with judgment; Not in thine anger” (Jeremiah 10:24). He then called on the LORD to remember how the heathen abused His people and to pour out His wrath upon those men who had not known, or called upon Him (Jeremiah 10:25).

Friend, let us take a page from Jeremiah’s life and follow his example. He sorrowed for his nation’s sins and called his neighbors to turn from their wickedness to the LORD. He longed for the LORD to correct His people and show them mercy and grace (Jeremiah 10:23-24). He prayed the LORD’s wrath would be poured out on Israel’s adversaries (Jeremiah 10:25).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of