by David Groendyk
Judah has passed the point of no return (v. 1). They have so forsaken God that there’s no hope of God relenting from his punishment. Even if Moses and Samuel stood before the Lord and pleaded for this people, he would not listen. Moses interceded for the people of Israel time and again and caused God to spare the people while they were wandering through the wilderness on the way to Canaan, most significantly when they had built and worshiped the golden calf. Samuel stood out as a godly prophet speaking God’s truth in a nation that was characterized by corrupt leadership and idol worship. Both of these men pleaded with God to spare his people and pleaded with the people to turn back to God. They stood out as godly examples in corrupt generations. But even if they pleaded with God now in Jeremiah’s time, he would not relent. The punishment will be full, and it will be devastating (vv. 2–9). But such is the just payment for sin.
In the rest of the chapter, as we listen in on this conversation between Jeremiah and God, we see what it looks like to live as a child of God in a dying world.
- Use your freedom for good not evil (v. 11). We’ve been set free from our bondage to sin. We’ve been set free from the burden of keeping the law to earn our standing before God. Now use that freedom not to go back to sin or for selfish gain, but go out into the world and be salt and light to people that are perishing in their sin.
- We bear reproach for the sake of the Lord (v. 15). Jeremiah has been persecuted because he has spoken God’s Word to the people. He’s being attacked, and death can come for him at any moment (as we’ve seen in previous chapters as well). We must be willing to face rejection, humiliation, and hostility for the sake of the gospel.
- Delight in God’s Word (v. 16). It ought to be our chief delight to take in God’s Word and know him better. Seek the Lord in his Word, receive and accept his Word, digest it, meditate on it, and delight in it. There is no greater joy for the Christian than getting to know God through his Word.
- Avoid sin at all costs (v. 17). Though it will necessarily mean you losing some earthly standing or treasure, do not participate in sin. The Christian must do everything they can to refrain from that which separates you from God. That may even mean leaving behind certain friends.
- We will go through times where God feels distant (v. 18). Whether it’s because of sin or because of trials, there will be times where it feels like God has left us. It may come in the form of unanswered prayers, like Jeremiah, or maybe something else will make God seem far away. But because of the effects of sin in the world, our relationship with God will never be perfect all the time.
- Live a life of repentance (v. 19). God promises that if we turn away from our sin, turn away from living for worthless things, and turn toward God and toward that which is precious, he will hear, and he will restore us. Repentance is a continual act in the Christian’s life. We will never be done fighting against and confessing sin until we reach our heavenly home.
- God will cause us to endure (vv. 11–12, 20–21). He will make you like an unshakeable fortress when facing the hardships of your life. Though you may face earthly trials and setbacks and persecutions, nothing will be able to shake your soul ultimately if God is on your side. No one can take away the life that waits for you after this one.