Scripture reading – Jeremiah 16

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Jeremiah’s prophecies continue to be our focus in today’s Scripture reading.

Jeremiah 16

Three Liberties Jeremiah was to Sacrifice (Jeremiah 16:1-9)

To portray the imminence of God’s judgment against Judah, the LORD commanded Jeremiah not to participate in three regular Jewish life events.

The first sign of imminent judgment was the command that Jeremiah was not to take a wife, lest the deaths of a wife, sons, and daughters be added to the sorrows he would bear amid God’s judgment (Jeremiah 16:1-4). Babylon’s invasion of Judah and the siege of Jerusalem would inflict overwhelming sorrow on the people. Though a young Jewish man was expected to take a wife, the LORD forbade Jeremiah to do so lest the deaths of his wife and children heap sorrow upon sorrow.

A second sign of imminent judgment was that the LORD forbade Jeremiah from entering “into the house of mourning” (Jeremiah 16:5a). He was not to attend funerals or mourn for the dead. The LORD declared, “I have taken away my peace from this people” (Jeremiah 16:5b). Death would be the haunt of all, “both the great and the small,” and so many would die there would be none to bury the bodies (Jeremiah 16:5-7).

Finally, as a sign that sorrow and judgment were imminent, the LORD forbade Jeremiah the joy of celebratory feasts (Jeremiah 16:8-9). After all, how could he participate in the frivolity of weddings and banquets, knowing God’s judgment would soon silence the people’s laughter and voices?

Three Liberties Jeremiah was to Sacrifice

Judah’s Wickedness Justified God’s Judgment (Jeremiah 16:10-13)

Jeremiah was cautioned that the people would come and ask, “Wherefore hath the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?” (Jeremiah 16:10).  Jeremiah was instructed to tell the people how their wickedness had exceeded that of their fathers (Jeremiah 16:11-12).

Jeremiah was to leave no doubt about the reason for God’s judgment and the destruction that would befall the nation. He was to remind the people how they turned to worship idols and forsook the LORD and His law (Jeremiah 16:11). Therefore, they would be removed from their land and captive to another (Jeremiah 16:12-13). 

A Promise of Restoration (Jeremiah 16:14-15)

Yet, the LORD did not leave His prophet or the people hopeless. Jeremiah was to assure the people that the LORD would remember His covenant. As He brought Israel out of Egypt, He would get “up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them” (i.e., Babylon, Jeremiah 16:14-15).

Yet, because of their sin, the people of Judah would be driven out, scattered, and chastened (Jeremiah 16:16-17). Jeremiah warned that the LORD would punish the people for their wickedness and that they had filled the land with their idols (Jeremiah 16:18).

A Promise of Restoration

Closing thoughts (Jeremiah 16:19-21)

Our study concludes with Jeremiah praying, “O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth” (Jeremiah 16:19). What an amazing prophecy! Indeed, many reading this devotional fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy. Our ancestors were idolaters but realized the idols they worshipped were “no gods” (Jeremiah 16:20).

Tragically, Judah’s people continued in their idolatry and sin until it was too late. Therefore, the chastening of the LORD would “cause them to know” and confess the name of the LORD (Jeremiah 16:21).

Friend, God is Holy and Just. No man, family, or nation can turn from the LORD, forsake His Word, and escape His judgment. Let us determine to love the LORD, study His Word, and walk in His ways (Psalm 1:1-3)!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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