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Wednesday, July 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 5

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Chapter 5

Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places, if you can find a man, if there be any that is executing judgment, and that is seeking truth; and I will pardon it ( Jeremiah 5:1 ).

If you can find one man. You remember when the angels were going down to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham said, "Hey, Lord, shall not the God of the earth be fair? Would you destroy the righteous with the people? What if there are fifty righteous people in that city?" The Lord said, "I'll spare for fifty righteous." "Well, Lord, what if there's forty? What if there's thirty? What if there's twenty? What if there's ten?" Lord said, "I'll spare for ten." Now God is saying of Jerusalem, "Just search. Search through the whole city. Find one man, one man that is seeking to execute judgment, that is seeking the truth."

And though they say, The LORD liveth; they swear falsely ( Jeremiah 5:2 ).

People were still mouthing the right words, but it wasn't coming from their hearts. "The Lord liveth," a popular phrase in those days. "Oh, the Lord liveth."

You remember when Elisha healed Naaman of his leprosy, the Syrian general, and he tried to give Naaman a lot of reward. A lot of silver and changes of clothes and so forth because he was healed. And Elisha said, "Aw, keep your stuff. I don't want any of it. I don't need it. You keep it." Well, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, saw all the loot. He thought, "Oh man, if I could have just a little bit of that, I could buy a field and I could plant a vineyard and I could have servants and I could plant some olive trees. Man, I could retire. That would be nice." So as Naaman was going back, he got on his little donkey and he headed out after him. And they said to Naaman, "Hey, looks like someone's chasing us." They said, "Let's stop and see who it is. It looks like the servant of the prophet." And so as old Gehazi came up on his little donkey, he said, "Everything okay?" "Oh yeah, everything's okay, except that my master Elisha had some sudden company come in, some young men and they needed some help. So he said he'll take just a little bit of your silver and a few changes of garments and so forth." So Naaman gladly gave him the stuff and he got back and his donkey went back and he hid all this stuff. Came whistling in, you know, and the prophet said, "As the Lord liveth." You see it was a common term, spiritual term-it signified that you had it going spiritually. "As the Lord liveth, where have you been?" "As the Lord liveth, I haven't been anywhere." You see, all of the deceit and lying, but he was couching it in spiritual terms in order to sort of deceive.

And I'm afraid that many times people do couch themselves in spiritual terms for the purpose of deceiving. "Right on, brother! Praise the Lord! Bless God, man," you know. And we use this spiritual jargon to deceive, and so Gehazi, "As the Lord liveth, I didn't go anywhere." "Wait a minute," and then the prophet began to read his mind. "Is this the time to buy fields and to plant vineyards and olive trees and to hire servants?" That's just what he was thinking, you see. He said, "Did not my heart go with you when you chased after that man and took those things? And now because of that, the leprosy that was upon him is going to come upon you." And the guy turned white with leprosy and went out from the sight of the prophet. But yet he was using the spiritual. And God says, "Hey, they used the term, 'As the Lord liveth', but in that day, though they say, 'The Lord liveth,' surely they swear falsely."

Jeremiah responds,

O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? you have stricken them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out there shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backsliding is increased. How shall I pardon thee for this? [God cries] thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one was neighing after his neighbor's wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD'S. For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see the sword nor famine ( Jeremiah 5:3-12 ):

And it won't happen here.

And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them. Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, neither understand what they say. Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men. And they shall eat up your harvest, and your bread, which your sons and daughters should be eating: they shall eat up your flocks and your herds: they shall eat up your vines and your figs: and they shall impoverish your cities, wherein you have trusted, with the sword. Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you ( Jeremiah 5:13-18 ).

God promises He's not going to cut the people off completely.

For it shall come to pass, when you will say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things against us? then shall you answer them, Like as you have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours. Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, Hear now this, O foolish people, you that are without understanding; which have eyes, but you see not; which have ears, but you hear not: Do you not fear me? saith the LORD: will you not tremble at my presence, for I have placed the sand for the boundaries of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass over it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves against it, and they roar, they can not prevail. But this people has revolted and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone away. Neither say any of them in their heart, Let us now reverence the LORD our God, who gives us the rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withheld good things from you ( Jeremiah 5:19-25 ).

Oh, the good things that God wants to do for you but He is hindered because of your sins. Jude says, "Keep yourself in the love of God" ( Jude 1:21 ). What does he mean? He means to keep yourself in the place where God can do all of the good things He wants to do for you because He loves you. It doesn't mean keep yourself so sweet and beautiful that God can't help but love you. Because God's love for you is uncaused. It's in His nature. God loves you good or bad. That's just God's nature. But because God loves you He wants to bless you. He wants to do good things for you. But as with Judah, your sins have withheld the good things from you. Those good things God wants to do for you.

For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that sets a trap; and they set a trap for men to catch then. As a cage is full of birds, so are the houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and they have become very rich. They have become fat, they shine: they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, and yet they prosper; and the right of the needy they do not take care of. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on a nation like this? A [awesome] wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land ( Jeremiah 5:26-30 );

Wonderful in the sense that it causes wonder and amazement. "An amazing and horrible thing is committed in the land."

For the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests are bearing rule by their wealth; and my people love to have it that way: and what will you do in the end of such things? ( Jeremiah 5:31 )

You see, there's corruption. Those that are ruling are ruling corruptly. But the people love it that way. They'll vote for them at the next election. Every election amazes me. When I see the people that are elected into office, those kind of things absolutely. Well, as God said, you can't believe it. It's awesome; it's horrible. The priests are bearing rule by their own wealth, but the people love to have it that way. Rather than being shocked and arising in righteous indignation, people just seem to go along with it and love to have it that way. I can't understand it. And God Himself couldn't understand it. God speaks of it. It's just, how can you believe it? How can you understand it? It's just horrible.

But as we read Jeremiah, the real value of Jeremiah comes as you see a nation that is about to die and you observe the symptoms of that nation and the disease that has brought its death. And it will help you to understand very much as you look at the nation in which we live today and what's happening.

Shall we pray.

Lord, help us that we shall not go the way of the world. God, that we would stand for righteousness, for truth, for justice. Oh God, help us that we would not turn away from Thee or that we would draw away from Thee in any wise to worship our own idols and the things of our flesh. But O God, may Thy love fill our hearts that our songs might be unto Thee day by day. That we will be praising Thee and worshipping You and thinking about You, Lord, through the day as our love for Thee increases and grows. Help us, Lord, not to wane in our devotion. Help us, Lord, that our love will not grow cold. Keep us from that lukewarm state lest You spew us out of Your mouth. In Jesus' name, Lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless and give you a beautiful week. May His hand be upon your life and may the flame of love really begin to burn in your hearts towards God, that this will be a week in which you're really in tune, in harmony with Him. And that love and commitment is restored and it's just a glorious week of thinking of Him, worshipping Him, serving Him, loving Him. May God be pleased with you by your commitment and devotion to Him. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 5". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-5.html. 2014.
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