At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants, out of their graves: And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. And death shall be chosen rather than life by the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts ( Jeremiah 8:1-3 ).
Now he talks about them worshipping the sun, the moon, the host of heaven. But this verse Jeremiah 8:3 is interesting to me, "Death shall be chosen rather than life by the residue of them that remain of this evil family." And the last of the Jews to hold out against the Roman government were in Masada, and this was a prophecy fulfilled as they chose death rather than life and committed mass suicide at Masada rather than to be taken by the Romans. And so that was the final residue of those that remained prior to the dispersion by the Roman government. The final residue of people chose death rather than life.
Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return again? ( Jeremiah 8:4 )
In other words, though they"re going to be wiped out, the last of those that remain will choose to commit suicide rather than be taken captive. Yet God said, "I will return. I will deal with them again." Oh, the patience of God and the grace of God as He promises even though they have failed, He will be true and faithful and He will gather them again in the last days.
Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. I hearkened and heard, but they spoke not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Now, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but the people know not the judgment of the LORD ( Jeremiah 8:5-7 ).
Even the animals have certain instinctive knowledge. "But My people," God said, "are refusing to obey the conscience of their own hearts." It"s been planted there. God has put His Word in each man in his heart, but men refuse even those basic instincts of good and evil, right and wrong. Now the swallow returns every year to Capistrano. He knows the days. He observes the times. They have an instinctive, built-in kind of a little guidance computer system. But here people, infinitely wiser than the animals, yet disobeying that inner conscience that God has placed in each man.
How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain [he gave it or] he made it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD so what wisdom is really in them? ( Jeremiah 8:8-9 )
How can you say you"re wise? We"ve got the law of the Lord. "God gave the law," he said, "in vain." God sent His Son in vain as far as many people are concerned. If you have rejected Jesus Christ as your Saviour, God sent His Son to die in vain. And the death of Jesus Christ is in vain as far as you are concerned. It is only as you have received Jesus Christ that it becomes valid and meaningful.
For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush; therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no more grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them. Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defensed cities, and let us be silent: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold there was trouble! The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan ( Jeremiah 8:11-16 ):
Babylonian armies moving down from the upper area of Dan.
the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and they have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein. For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD. When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered? ( Jeremiah 8:16-22 )
So God"s lament now and God"s crying over this situation. And I think the saddest lament in the whole Bible is this in verse Jeremiah 8:20 where God declares, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, they are not saved." Lost, eternally lost. The time of harvest is over. Let me warn you as a servant of God and as His spokesman that the day of harvest is almost over. The summer is almost past. God is winding up very rapidly His program on this planet Earth. The day of salvation will soon be over. Paul said, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand" ( Romans 13:12 ). That is, the new day of God"s kingdom. If you"re not saved, you don"t have much more time to wait. The harvest is almost over. God is about ready to bring things to a climax.
Now how God identifies is beautiful. "For the hurt of the daughter of My people," God said, "I am hurt." It hurts God to see these people miss out on what God wants for them. God is hurt when I am walking out of fellowship with Him and thus am losing out on all that He wants to do for me. It hurts God to see me suffering from my own follies. "For the hurt of My people," God said, "I am hurt."
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 8". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany