Jeremiah 4 ✒️ Waves of Judgement

June 1, 2024 • Dr. Dave Burnette

1If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.

 2And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.

 3For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

 4Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

 5Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.

 6Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.

 7The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.

 8For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.

 9And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.

 10Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.

 11At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse,

 12Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them.

 13Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.

 14O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?

 15For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim.

 16Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.

 17As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD.

 18Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.

 19My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

 20Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.

 21How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?

 22For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

 23I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

 24I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.

 25I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.

 26I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.

 27For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.

 28For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.

 29The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.

 30And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.

 31For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.

COMMENTARY by Dr. Dave Burnette

Written By: God through Inspiration

Penned By: Jeremiah

Date Penned: (627-586 BC)

Overview: To Urge God's People to Turn from Sin to God (c 1-52)

Theme: God's Judgement on Judah (c 1-45)

Message: Destruction Rolls Over the Land (v 1-31)

Jeremiah 4 Commentary 

(4:1-2) A Global Vision - Throughout the Old Testament, we see God consistently revealing his intentions to bless the nations of the world. His global vision included a central role for the people of Israel as the channel through which he would pour out his blessings on all nations. But their privilege as his chosen people was in jeopardy as long as they persistently disobeyed him and pursued idols. 

(4:3) A Hard Heart - Jeremiah told the people to break up the hardness of their hearts as a plow breaks up unplowed ground-soil that has not been tilled for a season. Good kings like Josiah had tried to turn the people back to God, but the people had continued to worship their idols anyway. Their hearts had become hardened to God's voice and will. Unless their hearts were broken and cleaned up, the good seed of God's commands could not take root. Their old habits and hidden sins had to be uprooted and rejected. Likewise, we must remove our heart-hardening sin if we expect God's Word to take root and grow in our lives. 

(4:6-8) A Warning of Judgement - The destruction from the north would come from Babylon, when Nabopolassar and his son, Nebuchadnezzar II, attacked (see 2 Chronicles 36). The Lord said to raise up a signal flag as a warning that the danger of judgment was fast approaching unless the people turned back to him. What should we be doing today to warn people to listen to God and his promises? Whom do you have a passion to tell? 

(4:10) Jeremiah's Confusion - Jeremiah, deeply moved by God's words, expressed his sorrow and confusion to God and interceded for the people. They had false expectations because of the past promises of blessings, their blindness to their own sin, and the false prophets who kept saying that all was well. 

(4:15) A Punishment - Disaster was announced first from Dan and then from the hills of Ephraim because Dan was located at the northern border of Israel. Thus, the Danites would be the first to see the approaching armies as they invaded from the north. No one would be able to stop the armies because they would be coming as God's punishment for the people's sin. 

(4:19:31) God is in Ultimate Control - Jeremiah was anguished by the sure devastation of the coming judgment. This judgment would continue until the people turned from their sin and listened to God. Although this prophecy refers to the future destruction by Babylon, it could also describe the judgment of all sinners at the end of the world. These verses also speak to us in this age of terrorism and threats of war about overwhelming feelings of dread. Let us hold fast to the assurance of God's ultimate control over the events of history. 

(4:22) Living Godly - The people of Judah were skilled in doing wrong but did not know how to do what was right. Godly living requires more than simply avoiding sin. We must be decisive and disciplined. We must practice godly living, partly because our behavior points others to our God. We should pursue excellence in Christian living with as much effort as we pursue excellence in our work and in other areas of our lives. 

(4:27) The Faithful Remnant - God warned that destruction was certain, but he promised that the faithful remnant would be spared. God preserves those who are faithful to him.

LIFE APPLICATION by Dr. Dave Burnette

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we continue in the Book of Jeremiah 4. In our text today, we see destruction roll over the land as God's people refuse to repent and heed the Word of the Lord. In making an application, we see that today, our world faces the same attitude, as people do not believe that judgment will come. They do not respect or heed the Word of the Lord. Today, people do not care what God has to say or believe in God's judgment. As in Jeremiah's time, we will face this same rolling destruction. We have seen the waves of judgment with our economy, terrorism, sicknesses, and natural disasters. These waves should drive us to repentance. How about you? Do you respect the Word of the Lord? Let us learn from our text today and the warning of Jeremiah of the rolling destruction that comes in waves of judgment if we do not heed the Word of our Lord.

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