Jeremiah 25 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
There are two primary themes in our passage this morning. The first has to do with the importance of listening and the second with the restoration of the fear of God in men. In Jeremiah’s day, God’s people had been given ample opportunities to hear the word of the Lord, but they did not really listen to it; they never truly inclined their ear to the Lord’s teaching. Jeremiah explains to them in this chapter that for twenty-three years he had persistently spoken God’s word to them, but they did not listen. Certainly, Jeremiah was not the only prophet who had spoken to the Jews in this way. Many others had come and prophesied in the name of the Lord, but they, too, were ignored.
And this complaint against God’s people for not listening is shared by most of the prophets, but Jeremiah strikes this note more than any of the other prophets, reminding God’s people over forty times that they had not really listened to God’s Word. If you’ve never heard it before, Michael Card’s summary song of the prophets “Will you not Listen?” does a great job of turning this complaint into a song (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H57tpwq8VdQ). It is because God’s people had not listened for so long that the Lord finally announces the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of God’s people for seventy years in this chapter. This is the first time that this prophecy is mentioned in Scripture, and later on in the midst of captivity, Daniel reads this very chapter to understand just how long his people will remain in the land of Babylon.
Then the second theme arises in vv.15ff in terms of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the cup of God’s wrath. The Lord tells Jeremiah to give this cup of the wine of His wrath first to Jerusalem and the cities of Judah along with its kings and officials, then to all the surrounding nations that also have broken God’s holy laws. Notice here that God tells Jeremiah to give this cup of horror to Egypt, to Uz, to Philistia, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, and many others before finally giving it to Babylon as well. Later on in chapters 46-51 Jeremiah will give prophecies to many of these same nations individually just as he has done with Judah and Israel. The very fact that the Lord would send a prophet to speak to the gentile nations should help us to see that the Lord sees Himself as the King of kings and that all the kingdoms of this world do, in fact, belong to our God, and He will hold every nation accountable for their sins if they do not humble themselves, repent, and turn from their wicked ways.
In the remaining verses of this chapter, Jeremiah sees the Lord as a lion who is about to leave his lair to devour all the wicked people of this world. Even now, the Lord roars from on high against his fold, against all the inhabitants of the earth. He is about to enter in judgment against all flesh bringing disaster on every nation. Even now, a great tempest is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth! Even now, the shepherds of each country, the lords of their flocks, all the leaders in governments around the world should wail knowing that the Lord’s judgment is about to fall not only on their country but on them as leaders as well.
Surely, this message is meant to wake up the people of God, to bring life to the good figs mentioned in the previous chapter, to stir up God’s people to fear the Lord, to repent of their sins and to look to God for salvation, for the Lord is a Lion who is set to conquer all the kingdoms of this world and to bring his righteous judgment upon men.
Although we get a glimpse of the Lion in the book of Jeremiah, it is in the prophecies of Isaiah that we get a glimpse of him as the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. But it is only in Revelation chapter 5 that we see that the Lion is the Lamb, who not only pours out his cup of wrath upon the nations, but who is willing to drink that same cup down to the dregs for the sake of his people. Showing his extraordinary mercy, the Lord Jesus himself drinks the cup of God’s wrath in order that we who trust in Christ might drink the cup of the Lord’s blessings.
For all his people who had refused to listen, the Lord Jesus came in our place, fully inclining his ear to the Lord’s commands and keeping God’s holy laws. Then at the appointed time, He was pierced for our transgressions, enduring the wrath of God, the shame of the cross, and even the hissing of the crowds, not merely so that we could go to heaven, but so that we, now, with new ears might listen and with new wills might obey His word that we might delight ourselves in the ways of the Lord and share with others that the Lord is King of our hearts, and that this King of the world rightly deserves our reverence, our worship and our obedience.