We have in this Chapter an account of the Prophet Jeremiah's letter, which he sent to the captives in Babylon. Here is also the fearful doom pronounced by the Lord, upon two lying prophets.
The Reader will recollect, that at this time many of the people were already gone into captivity, and the false prophets, and time-serving persons of the party, were budding up the hopes of the people, as Hananiah had done at home, with assurances of their speedy return to their own land. Jeremiah being better taught of the Lord, here sets himself to correct their mistaken notions on this point, and, therefore sends a letter to them on the subject.
He first endeavours to reconcile their minds to the Lord's determination. Seventy years were appointed for their captivity: and therefore, he recommends the people to live and act as persons who were not travellers, that turned in to tarry for a night. The Lord's will must be accomplished. Here is a gracious lesson to the people of God, to be gathered from hence in all ages. In a nation's peace, the Church of God shall have peace. See that ye pray for it therefore, and promote it by all the lawful means in your power. 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
There have been, and there always will be, as long as the Church continues militant upon earth, persons to prophecy smooth things, to prophecy deceits, saying, peace, peace, when there is no peace. It began with the first lie of hell, in the garden of Eden. Genesis 3:3-4.
I pray the Reader to pause over these gracious expressions of the Lord. They are suited to the Lord's exercised family, in all ages, at all times, and under all the sorrows of their estate. Mark how many the promises are, and let them be to you for a token of God's faithfulness.
That the Church might perfectly consider and understand the cause of this Captivity: and that in general sins there should be general calamities, the Lord declares the same or similar evils, for those not gone into captivity, as for those that were. All have sinned, and come short of God's glory. No flesh can glory in his presence. Romans 3:10-23.
What an awful judgment is here denounced upon false prophets! All rebellious children shall be punished; but they who both rebel themselves, and teach others to rebel, shall have a tenfold judgment, even to become a proverb of reproach. Oh! what a lesson is here, within a short compass, to false teachers and ministers in the house of the Lord!
I cannot help admiring the gracious providence of God over the Church, in that the events which took place in one age, so exactly corresponds to what takes place in another: as if to prove to God's faithful ones, that in all ages they must and shall suffer persecution. Reader! do not fail to remark, how the faithful writings of Jeremiah is opposed by the lying writings of Shemaiah and his fellows. And doth not every generation bring forth the same? But oh! behold how the Lord himself interposeth! And thus depend upon it, in all ages the Lord is still looking on and will uphold his servants, and silence all their opposers. Oh! it is blessed to be on the Lord's side, and to be found in his truth.
READER! after that you have made, under divine teaching, your most serious contemplations on the different subjects proposed, from true and false prophets brought before you in this Chapter; there is a train of thoughts opened to your view, in a portion of the contents of it, to which I would beg to direct more immediately, both your meditation and my own. I mean, in that unequalled grace and goodness manifested by the Lord, in the midst of all his people's rebellion and sin, as set forth in this Chapter. After seventy years, saith the Lord, be accomplished, I will visit you, and perform my good word towards you. Reader! is not this the constant tenor and precious words of the whole charter of grace? What is God's good word towards his people, but the word of God in Christ Jesus? What is the performance of Jehovah's promise, but the promise of redemption in Christ, which he purposed in himself before the world began? And what is the whole coming of Jesus, to deliver from worse than Babylonish captivity, even from sin, death and hell; but to perform the mercy promised to our forefathers, and to remember his holy Covenant? Oh! what a thought is it, amidst all my rebellious ways, and after all my unworthy views of divine goodness, that his thoughts are not our thoughts, nor his ways our ways. Jesus saith, and God the Father saith, and let me never forget the gracious declarations: I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord: thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end! Do Lord! I would say, as thou hast said. Help my soul to pray to thee, and to seek for thee, as for hidden treasure, with my whole heart, and with my whole soul. And do thou Lord, gather thy Church, thy redeemed, thy people, from all places whither they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day; yea Lord, bring them all home to thy flock, and manifest that thou art their God, and that they are thy people, and the sheep of thy pasture. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany