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This Chapter, in the opening, is an address to Israel. The subject then relates to Judah and Jerusalem. Both are to one and the same amount; namely, God's gracious call to his people, to return to him, from all their backslidings.
Is there not here a sweet breaking out, in pointing to Him who is the Lord our righteousness? For in whom are the nations to be blessed, but in Jesus; or in whom can they glory? I pray the Reader to compare the passage with those scriptures, and then judge for himself. Psalms 72:17 ; Isaiah 65:16 ; Jeremiah 23:1 .
The Prophet here opens his commission to the men of Judah and Jerusalem; and in the prospect of the Babylonish captivity, now hastening, admonisheth them to seek the Lord. The Prophet, like a faithful preacher, dwells upon the same subject, as the Lord preached to him, at his ordination. See Jeremiah 1:14 to the end. The Lion from the thicket is a strong figure, to set forth the fury of the Enemy. And when the Lord gives the authority, what a roaring Lion indeed, is every foe. Precious Jesus! thou art the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and while thou art for us, more are they, than all that can be against us. Revelation 5:5 ; 2 Kings 6:15-17 . If the heart of all men fail in their own strength: those whom thou hast made kings and priests to God and the Father, will faint not, whilst thou art their strength and their portion forever. Revelation 1:6 .
I read this verse alone, in order, by praying over it, to seek instruction from the Lord, for the right apprehension of it. Jeremiah could not mean to charge the Lord, with either the cause or the consequence of the people's deception. The lying prophets, such as Hananiah (see Jeremiah 28:0 ) by preaching peace, had deceived them: and as he presumed to come to the people in the Lord's name, as well as Jeremiah, they might be said in this sense, to be deceived by the Lord. And if for their rebellion, the Lord gave them up to believe a lie; though the deception was their own, yet God's judgment was in it. Certain it is, that there is no evil in the city, but the Lord hath done it; that is, permitted it. Amos 3:6 . But while the sovereignty of the Lord is still the same, the evil of transgression is the sinner's, James 1:13 ; Ezekiel 14:1-11 .
Under those strong images, of a dry wind and a full wind, and a whirlwind, are set forth the judgments of the Lord. But under all, I pray the Reader to observe, how the Lord fully proves, that the evil is in his people, the remedy is in the Lord. Hosea 13:9 .
I hope the Reader will pause over these verses, and remark the concern of the Prophet. And when he hath done this, let him ask himself what ought to be the concern of the Lord's prophets: I mean his ministers in the present hour, over the coming, and to come, distresses of our Zion. Was there ever a period in history, so much like the one Jeremiah here complains of, as the present? Did ever Jeremiah's prophecy suit the Church more than now? And is it not a pity, yea, a sad concern, that so many are at ease in Zion, while her best interests, and the glorious gospel of Jesus, are so little regarded. See Joel 1:13 ; Amos 6:1-6 .
There is somewhat uncommonly solemn and striking, when the Lord by his servants, as in many parts of scripture, calls upon the heavenly bodies, and the inanimate parts of nature, to lament by their appearances, the degeneracy and rebellion of his people. The weeping of the clouds, and the blushing of the sun, are strong figures to this amount. Isaiah 1:2 ; Deuteronomy 32:1 . What a gracious and affectionate appeal, the Lord makes in the close of this Chapter. When thou art spoiled what wilt thou do? Oh! for grace, that sinners in the present hour would lay this question of the Lord's to the heart, until the same cry as the man of Tarsus issued from the heart; Lord! what wouldst thou have me to do? Acts 9:6 .
STAND still my soul, and ponder over this Chapter, and look up for the divine teachings of God the Holy Ghost, that none of the words here contained may fall to the ground. Were there ever more striking evidences given of the grace and long-suffering of the Lord? Were there ever more decisive testimonies manifested, of the obduracy and impenitency of man? May we not take up the Lord's own words, and say: What could have been done more to his vineyard, that he did not unto it? Precious Lord Jesus! oh for some gracious accompaniments of thy Holy Spirit, with thine holy word in the present hour, that thine Israel now, may never despise the riches of thy goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, but know and feel that the goodness of God leadeth to repentance.
Ye ministers of my God! learn from this statement of sorrow in the Prophet, to put on bowels of mercies, and to feel true soul concern for the present desolations of the Church of Jesus. Blind Watchmen, and blind Guides cannot become interested for the saving knowledge of Christ, in others, who are destitute of it themselves. But do ye who know Jesus, unceasingly tell of his preciousness to all around. Let Zion which is so dear to Jesus, be dear to you. And as you know that her name is engraven on the palms of his hands: let her interests be always uppermost in your heart. Hath Jesus taught you? oh commend him as a Teacher to all that are ignorant. Hath Jesus saved you from your sins? commend him as a Saviour to other poor sinners. Hath Jesus made you willing in the day of his power? pray to Him that the day of his power may be manifested in many a heart. Zion will again flourish in the church of Jesus if the love of Jesus, and a regard for the interests of his Church, flourisheth in the hearts of his ministers and people. Compassionate Redeemer! let it no longer be said of any of those who call themselves ministers of the gospel: all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13