Gleaned Grapes and Scrapped Silver

September 20, 2019 at 10:15 am | Posted in Jeremiah | 4 Comments
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Jeremiah the prophet once warned God’s people:

They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 6:14

Jeremiah was downright angry because false prophets had given the people a false sense of security and a false view of God by telling them that God was okay with their sin, as long as they lived in a nation where there was a good church, and as long as people kept up the appearance of loyalty to His Covenant. But God would show them what He really thought of their hypocrisy (Jeremiah 7:20).

As Christians, we must – with God’s help and by His mercy and grace – get serious about obeying Him. If we are trusting our standing with God to our geographical location (the “Christian” South), or to our “conservative” culture or government, or even to the fact that we “belong” to a church, then we are in grave danger. God knows what we like to do, how we think, what we say, and the ways we act on Monday through Saturday, not just for a couple of hours on Sunday.

There is a message of thoroughness throughout Jeremiah Chapter 6 that hearkens back to Chapter 5 where Jeremiah went to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem looking for one righteous man. Now God was saying that the invading enemy will be just as thorough when executing punishment.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.

Jeremiah 6:9

These invaders would not make a cursory sweep through the land, wreaking havoc in a general way. No, they would go back – just like a vineyard worker would go back over the grapevines, with a basket, meticulously making sure each and every grape was plucked off. One righteous person could have spared the nation, but no unrighteous person would be spared.

Jeremiah was deeply troubled at this, but he also understood that God was right in doing it. As a prophet, he faithfully conveyed God’s Word, but, as a human being – as a Godly man – he was torn between sympathy for the people, and frustration over their stubbornness. He was torn between a desire to see God’s mercy and a thirst to see God’s righteous vengeance. Jeremiah was not some unfeeling megaphone, merely amplifying God’s message to crowds of people without understanding what he was communicating. He was deeply compassionate, but he was also moved with a passion – a zeal – for the holiness of God.

To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.

Jeremiah 6:10

Not only were their hearts figuratively uncircumcised, but their ears were figuratively covered with flesh, so that it was like they were deaf to the truth. Jeremiah must have thought something like, “If I preach repentance, what’s the point? It’s not like anyone will heed the warning. Once they hear that I am preaching a message from the Lord, they shut down. They have prejudged His righteous commands and revelations as irrelevant, unpleasant, and distasteful.”

Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.

Jeremiah 6:11

Jeremiah was resolved to preach God’s Word, however, because now he more fully understood the Lord’s anger. He was commissioned not only to build, but to “throw down,” too. Every category and age group would get the same message: “You will get what have you have earned.”

The invading enemy would be thorough grape-gatherers, and now the Lord assigned Jeremiah to be a thorough metallurgist.

I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way.

Jeremiah 6:27

He would prove that these people were corrupt through and through – all the way to the the heart.

They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters.

Jeremiah 6:28

The idea is that a metallurgist would place silver ore into a pot, and begin a process of purifying the silver, getting rid of less valuable metals like brass and iron.

The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away.

Jeremiah 6:29

Jeremiah would make the fire hot, and mix in lead to attract the cotmaninants, but it would not work, because all of the wickedness had permeated these people. Any would-be silver could not be distilled out.

Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.

Jeremiah 6:30

They were all dross. The purifying was pointless. It was time for the whole batch to be discarded. Human beings can be given over to a reprobate mind. There is an urgency in getting to our friends before they become so enmeshed in sin and wickedness and worldliness that it is too late.

Designer Disaster and Divine Destruction

September 29, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Jeremiah | 9 Comments
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In Chapter 6 the prophecy that the Lord gave to Jeremiah is in the form of poetry, but it is a dark poem, containing gloomy and frightening imagery. It describes God’s use of a terrible invading army which He allows and even directs against His own people because of their idolatry, wickedness, hypocrisy, and rebellion against Him.

O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction. I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman. The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place. Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.

Jeremiah 6:1-5

This ominous threat from “out of the north” would bring both evil and destruction. The “evil” is not necessarily a reference to moral evil, but rather a conveyance of the idea of a catastrophic (although designed rather than random) experience of destruction from the point of view of the nation of Judah. While the Hebrew ra is sometimes translated as “disaster” (from the original meaning of a bad event brought about by a bad alignment of the stars or planets: astro), it is clear that God’s people were about (absent some severe and urgent repentance) to be overwhelmed by God’s specifically crafted and forewarned justice.

On the other hand, while “disaster” would convey the wrong sense of this attack, the parallel description of “destruction” is spot-on, for, just as “construction” means “a building up,” “destruction” means a “tearing-down,” and that is exactly what the invaders would do to the walls, homes, Temple, and buildings in Jerusalem.

Christians today who are in a state of backsliding or rebellion against God need to heed these prophetic warnings. Whether reprieve or destruction befalls us is ultimately up to God. He is not subject to any circumstances, accidents, or astrological omens. He could have a very well-thought-out and serious plan of chastening on the verge of landing in our land, luxuries, or laps, and if it catches us unaware or unrepentant, we would only have ourselves to blame. Likewise, He is more than capable of tearing down any materialistic idols that we have built up in our lives should He choose to discipline to us and bring us back to Himself in love.


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