The solemn answer of the Lord in the first nine verses of chap. 15 gives no hope of deliverance. Even though Moses and Samuel stood to entreat for them, they would not be heard. The people must "go forth;" and if they despairingly ask, "Whither?" the awful answer is, "Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity" (Jeremiah 15:2).
The sword, the dogs, the fowls, and the beasts of the earth, are alike appointed to carry out the work of destruction: and any escaping these would be carried into all the kingdoms of the earth; and this because their share in the sin of Manasseh had never been repented of. None should pity nor care; for having forsaken the Lord, He would stretch out His hand against them. Young and old must be destroyed. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God;" (Hebrews 10:31) for "our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29)
As the full extent of GOD's sentence bursts upon his soul, Jeremiah is overcome by a sense of almost unutterable desolation. How deeply he feels his helplessness and loneliness, as one man endeavoring to stand for GOD and seeking the good of those who hate and despise Him!
His prayers seem to be unavailing. GOD apparently refuses to hearken to his voice. The people, on their part, turn a deaf ear to his messages. He cries out in anguish, "Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me" (Jeremiah 15:10).
The Lord at once replies in tenderest compassion and assures him that with himself and any who really seek His face, "it shall be well . . . in the time of evil and in the time of affliction," (Jeremiah 15:11) but due punishment must be meted out to the workers of iniquity.
Encouraged by this evidence that his cry has not really been unheard and unheeded, he can now pray with fuller assurance; for the Lord knows and will remember and visit at the appointed time.
"For Thy sake," he cries, "I have suffered rebuke:" then he tells of what had been his solace in times of indifference and rejection - the Word of GOD (Jeremiah 15:15-16).
"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts." (Jeremiah 15:16)
Here we have two things intimately connected elsewhere in Scripture - the Word and the Name. "Thou . . . hast kept My Word, and hast not denied My Name" (Revelation 3:8). See, also, Revelation 2:13 - “My Name" and "My faith" - that which is declared by the Word.
Jeremiah, the separatist (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Isaiah 52:11) of his day, who, much as he loved the people of the Lord, yet had to turn sorrowfully from fellowship with them in their evil course, had to learn - as all others must who, in a day of declension, seek to walk in holy separation unto GOD - that "he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey" (Isaiah 59:15).
He was a man, as we have seen, characterized by much tenderness of heart, and certainly by intense affection for the heritage of the Lord (Jeremiah 9:1-3); yet faithfulness demanded that he walk apart from them, testifying against their ways; and as a result he had to say, "Every one of them doth hate me."
So also Paul could ask the Galatians, "Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16), when witnessing against their departure from the faith once delivered to the saints: and to the Corinthians he says, "I will gladly spend and he spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved" (2 Corinthians 12:15). These dear men of GOD are seen pursuing their well-nigh solitary way at times, finding their refreshment and strength in the Word and the Name, though denied much as to godly fellowship with others.
In Jeremiah 15:17 Jeremiah says, "I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of Thy hand." It was in this very period of loneliness for the Name's sake, when he could say, "For Thy sake I have suffered reproach," that the Word of GOD was more to him than ever before. The Lord's people gave him only grief, but His Word filled him with joy. His heart might almost break as he contemplated their apostate condition. It was made to rejoice when he turned to the sure Word of GOD.
Job and David in their times could speak in similar terms. The former is heard crying out, "I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food" (Job 23:12), and this at a time when the ways of GOD with His dear servant seemed quite inexplicable, and he floundered in the vain effort to find Him out. Still "the words of His mouth" he loved to dwell upon, and, relying on them, dared to say, "When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).
The exalted shepherd, in the "Psalm of the Laver" (119), sweetly celebrates the preciousness and cleansing efficacy of the Word, and in Psalms 119:111 joins with "the weeping prophet" in declaring, "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever; for they are the rejoicing of my heart." And again, he says, "I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way" (Psalms 119:128). See also Psalms 119:97, Psalms 119:113, Psalms 119:119, Psalms 119:163.
Thus we have patriarch, ruler, and prophet, alike testifying to the fulness and richness of the testimonies of the Lord. And that Word - fuller and richer now because of added treasures, making known the hitherto secret things - shall Christians now treat it with indifference? Many, it is to be feared, find little to interest them in its sacred pages. And the reason is not far to seek - there is so little practical separation from evil, and so little cleaving to the Lord with purpose of heart. Of one thing we can rest assured. Those who really enter into what is involved in being gathered in truth to the Name of the Rejected One, will invariably find His Word an unfailing source of delight. Heart-identification with CHRIST results in heart-appreciation of His Word.
The great desideratum is to go on quietly and humbly with the Lord JESUS CHRIST, and to walk apart from the abounding iniquity (both in its gross and its pleasing forms) of these last days. Then let the Word of GOD be the man of your counsel. Make it your daily companion. Search its precious pages prayerfully and perseveringly.
Soon you will learn to feast upon it with ever-increasing delight.
An aged Christian once said, "When first converted, I commenced reading the Bible. I read it for ten years, and I thought it a very nice book. I enjoyed it greatly. I read it for ten years more, and I thought it a wonderful book - it thrilled my soul. I read it for ten years more, and I thought it the most surpassingly precious book in the world. It was as food and drink to me. Now I have been reading it for forty years, and I am filled with delight and amazement at its beauties and depth every time I open it." May the reader and the writer know more of this increasing love for its "sure testimonies." (Psalms 93:5) Thus we shall find our delight in walking with Him, even though, as in Enoch's day, all the world should take another course.
That separation from evil is the mind of GOD for His servants is brought out clearly in the few remaining verses of this portion. "Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before Me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them" (Jeremiah 15:19). Whatever others might think, say, or do, Jeremiah is to walk apart; alone, if need be, from all the abounding evil; not to be amalgamated with it, or with those in it, in the vain hope of doing them good. If others took the same position as he, well and good; he would have their fellowship in his path of separation: but the word is plain, "Return not thou unto them." (Jeremiah 15:19)
In II Timothy 2 the same principle is enforced for the guidance of the man of GOD in the declension and ruin of the Church. He is to "purge himself" from all that is contrary to the Word of GOD, and from those who tolerate and condone the ecclesiastical lawlessness of the day. So shall he "be a vessel unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use." (2 Timothy 2:21) This is not, of course, to say that a mere Pharisaic separation from saints who do not see eye to eye as to details of doctrine or practice is enjoined by Him who would have His people endeavor "to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3) Unity is not necessarily uniformity. But the call is to separation from what is unholy and offensive to GOD. Unspiritual Christians, as well as worldlings, will doubtless misunderstand and abuse the one who acts upon this "saying of God," but He will see to the consequences if we but yield implicit obedience to His revealed will. He promised to make Jeremiah as a wall of brass, and assured him that though "they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the Lord. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible" (Jeremiah 15:20-21).
GOD was for him, who could be against him? His faith in this would be severely tested as the darkness deepened and the thunders of judgment roared more loudly. But "I am with thee" (Jeremiah 15:20) is sufficient for every trial. Devils may rage, men may gnash their teeth in malicious hatred, Providence itself may seem to oppose; but the man who can rest in faith upon the promises of the Eternal shall never be put to shame.
~ end of chapter 7 ~
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Jeremiah 15". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/
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