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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Jeremiah 30

 

 


Verses 1-24

CRITICAL AND EXEGETICAL NOTES.—Chronology of the Chapter.—Though without a date, yet the probability is that it was "written in a book" (see Jer ) in the tenth year of Zedekiah; and that this date [given at the head of chap. 32] applies to the four chapters, 30 to 33 inclusive. But it is open to dispute whether the prophecies contained in chapters 30 and 31 were not delivered at a considerably earlier date. Naegelsbach dates these two chapters as "the oldest part of the whole book" of Jeremiah; and, carefully comparing their subject-matter with the prophecies of chapters 3-6, declares that their correspondence, "both in general and in particular," fixes them as belonging to "the same period;" specially pointing out that the absence of all mention of the Chaldeans, and the use of the early indefinite phrase, "the north country" (Jer 31:8). "is a sure sign of its composition before the fourth year of Jehoiakim." Vide Chronological Notes on chaps. 3 and 7. Also same references for Contemporary Scriptures, National Affairs, and Contemporary History.

Literary Criticisms.—Jer . "For thus saith the Lord;" rather, "Surely thus," &c. "Of fear and not of peace;" of "fear and no peace."

Jer . "Therefore fear thou not," to end of Jer 30:11, are omitted by the LXX., Hitzig, Movers, and Kuenen, and regarded as an interpolation from chap. Jer 46:27-28.

Jer . "Correct thee in measure:" "in justice," vide Jer 10:24.

Jer . "Bound up: healing medicines." The verse, more correctly punctuated and rendered, may read thus: "None undertakes thy case to heal thee; for binding thy wounds, healing-plaister thou hast none."

Jer . "Thine affliction:" thy breach. "For the multitude," &c.; rather, "Because of the greatness of thine iniquity, because thy sins are innumerable," &c.

Jer . "Her own heap:" תֵּל, elevation, mound, specially of ruins; it may refer to the city, heap of ruins. "And the palace shall remain:" rather, "be inhabited." "After the manner thereof;" i.e., with suitable splendour.

Jer . "And their nobles shall be of themselves." An important alteration necessary. Both אַדִּיר and משֵׁל refer to one person, and is here described as "their Glorious One" and "their Ruler." Further, He is "to draw near and approach unto Me;" a phrase distinctively used of one in the priestly office (Exo 19:22; Lev 21:21). Yet more, it is asked as in wonder, "Who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto Me?" and should read, "Who is He that hath pledged His heart," &c.; i.e., that hath risked His life in the daring approach; for death sealed that action (Num 8:19). The combination of these qualities—"Glorious One and Ruler," priestly approach to God; and exposure of His very life in His zeal for His people;—all this points to none other than the Person and ministry of THE MESSIAH.

SURVEY OF CHAPTERS 30 AND 31

THE GLORIOUS FUTURE OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL AT THE END OF DAYS

I. GENERAL THEME, Jer .

II. THE DELIVERANCE OF ENTIRE ISRAEL, Jer .

1. The great day of judgment for the world and deliverance of Israel, Jer .

2. The turn of affairs: Jevovah for the chastised against the chastisers, Jer .

3. The consummation of salvation, Jer .

III. THE SPECIAL DISTRIBUTION OF SALVATION TO THE TWO DIVISIONS OF THE NATION, Jer .

A. Ephraim's share—

1. The decree of restoration, Jer .

2. The execution, Jer .

3. The threefold turn, Jer .

B. Judah's share—

The blessing of the sanctuary, Jer .

IV. THE ENTIRE-RENEWAL, Jer .

1. The new life, Jer .

2. The new covenant, Jer .

—Naegelsbach in Lange.

HOMILIES AND OUTLINES ON CHAPTER 30

Jer . Theme: GOD'S MESSAGE IN WRITING. "Write thee all the words which I have spoken to thee in a book." This was in distinction from messages in speech—oral prophecy.

I. Written words travel farther than spoken. Absent ones—Israel scattered abroad—were to receive it; as well as Judah, who was within the hearing of Jeremiah's voice. The prophecy could not reach them unless copies were distributed in the different countries wherein they were dispersed.

II. Written words are preserved better than spoken.

1. In their exactness. Not a jot or tittle falls. But memory might let some items fail if left unwritten.

2. In their entirety. Hearers only gather half, or fractions, of a message.

3. In their significance. Words of vast meaning require to be studied to see all their suggestiveness; and for this the "book" is best.

III. Written words fulfil a more enduring ministry than spoken. These "words" were—

1. For every nation and age: having a spiritual purport and universal value.

2. And they would, if written, prove a monument to prophetic veracity. This would strengthen the faith and assure the hearts of God's people in every emergency.

IV. Written words fill a sphere which spoken cannot reach.

1. They go into privacy, for meditation.

2. Into scenes of banishment and affliction and sorrow, for comfort.

3. Into despised and neglected scenes, where none would expect to find interested hearers, carrying light and hope to the abandoned and despairing.

As the people went into exile, they could carry these words of Jeremiah with them to be their consolation and strength amid coming distress and trial.

Jer . Theme: EXILES RESTORED. Comp. on chap. Jer 16:15, &c., and Jer 24:6. Specially see Sectional Treatment of chap. 3. pp. 58 to 60 supra. Also see on Jer 4:31.

Jer : Theme: CONSTERNATION OF THE GUILTY. Comp. Sectional Homily on Jer 6:18-26, pp. 120, 121, and on Jer 6:22-26, p. 133. Also Homily on chap. Jer 22:20-23, Hastening Desolations.

Jer . Theme: THE GREAT DAY. "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it." The day of judgment for the world: "none like it." For it will be—

I. A day of anxiety and terror for all the world.

II. A day of deliverance from distress for the children of God.

III. A day of realisation of all the happiness set in prospect before us.—Naegelsbach.

Jer . Theme: DELIVERANCE FROM TROUBLE. "It is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it."

Bacon has magnificently remarked of some of the PROPHECIES of Scripture that they have "springing and germinant accomplishment, throughout many ages, though the height or fulness of them may refer to some one age." This is true of many of the prophecies concerning the Jews; for though many of them were fulfilled in their ancient captivities, they still continue to be fulfilled in their present dispersion.

But what is true of the prophecies is eminently true of the PROMISES of Scripture—they have a springing and germinant accomplishment. They are framed with such an exquisite knowledge of human nature, and so accurately accord with the principles of the Divine government, which are the same in every age, that they are adapted to all the circumstances in which Christians can be placed, and receive a distinct fulfilment in the history of each individual believer. Thus, "instead of the fathers are the children." As the troubles of God's people are similar, so the supports they enjoy are similar—they are identical—and the deliverances of one age form the hope and consolation of all. "It is even the time," &c.

I. It is a part of God's merciful dispensations that they endure trouble.

II. It is equally so that they should be supported in and delivered from it.

I. It is a part of God's merciful dispensations that they should be called to endure trial. Like their Lord, they must expect to be made acquainted with grief; and like Jacob, in the text, they must expect to have their time of trouble.

It is a part of God's dispensation; for "trouble does not spring from the dust." Is there evil in the city and the Lord hath not done it? And it is a part of God's merciful dispensation, however oppositely it may appear to us; "for He doth not afflict willingly."

Every season of life, and every period of the Christian's life, has its trouble.

1. The time of conversion is a time of Jacob's trouble. He goes forth weeping. Sorrow for sin is real sorrow; doubts of his acceptance and fears of his rejection often fill him with dejection and alarm, and he says, "Oh, that I knew," &c. But there is a balm for his sorrow, there is a remedy for his grief: "He shall be saved out of it," by looking to the cross. "Yea, he wept; he found Him in Bethel."

2. The time of spiritual dejection, and darkness, and disconsolation, is a time of Jacob's trouble. This is sometimes produced by consciousness of sin, without sufficient apprehension of the power and willingness of Christ to save, sometimes by distrust, sometimes by neglect of duties, sometimes by a constitutional tendency to gloom and despondency; but, from whatever cause arising, it is often difficult to bear. David found it so when he said, "Hath God forgotten?" &c.; and Hezekiah when he said, "I shall go softly all my years;" and Daniel when he ate no pleasant bread; and Jonah when he said, "I am cast out." yet, "he shall be saved out of it;" "I have seen his ways and will heal;" "He that walketh in darkness," &c.

3. The time of worldly perplexities and disappointments—cares, anxieties, vexations, reproaches, are the Christian's lot here; losses in business, domestic grievances, straitened circumstances, actual poverty, are the means which God employs to teach the Christian this is not his rest, to draw off his mind from the vanity of life, and to teach him that his final hope must be in God. What was true of Israel is true of us: "God led them by the right way." We know it was not the shortest way, nor the smoothest, but it was the right way. And God leads His people still in those paths best adapted to try character, to develop principle, to promote sanctity of spirit and spirituality of mind. "By these things," says Hezekiah, "men live, and in all these things are the life." Every one has his trial fitted to his state of mind.

(a.) Some have a resolute, independent, self-willed spirit. God suffers them to be wounded with reproach, to suffer with the scourge of tongues, and chastens them with the rod of men; or they are wasted with disease and visited with strong pain.

(b.) Some are ambitious, and aspiring, and sanguine, and given to enterprise; but as they climb, so they fall. God unravels their schemes, breaks up their plots and purposes, advances them to poverty, and feeds them with the bread of tears. Why all this? Was it to ruin them? No; but to save them from ruin.

(c.) Others fix their affections too deeply upon the creature, upon the smile of friends, the love of parents, the endearments of family connections. God removes these to bring them nearer to Himself. They are afflicted in the creature, and the time of their trouble is the time in which they witness the sorrows of those they love.

4. The time of death is the time of Jacob's trouble.

II. Whatever their calamity, they shall be supported in it, carried through it, delivered from it. They have always a Resource; the Arm that upholds the universe upholds them; the Wisdom that ordains the trial guides and guards them through it. The irreligious has no refuge, no tower, but "the name of the Lord is," &c. Every creature hath a retiring-place: the conies the rocks, the lion his den; the foxes have holes and the birds nests, but the wicked no hiding-place.

God is your friend. His character is your hope; His promises your security; His heaviest chastisements are your encouragements.

1. What He has said to others He says to you: "Fear not, Abram;" "I am God all-sufficient; "I will not leave."

2. What He has done for others He will do for you.

3. What He has already done for you and yours should warrant hope: "delivered in six troubles."—Rev. S. Thodey, A.D. 1824.

On Jer . For similar themes, see on chap. Jer 17:17, "The Soul's Hope in the Time of Terror;" and chap. Jer 23:6, "A Bright Era for Mankind."

Comments—

The partial deliverance at the downfall of Babylon prefigures the final and complete deliverance of Israel, literal and spiritual, at the downfall of mystical Babylon (Rev ).—Jamieson.

The day of restoration is contrasted with the day of destruction. "In that day" the yoke of Babylon, which Jeremiah had symbolised by his own act, at God's command (Jer ), will be broken from the neck of Judah; and this phrase, "that day," doubtless, is to be extended, in a larger sense, to the day of Christ's coming, when all Israel would be delivered from a worse yoke than that of Babylon. Comp. Isa 10:27; Eze 34:27.—Wordsworth.

Jer . Theme: SLAVERY EXCHANGED FOR SERVICE. "Strangers shall no more hold him in servitude (Henderson's rendering), but they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them."

I. Tyranny rules over men with grievous severity. "Yoke" and "bonds" are symbols of despotic oppression.

1. National and political despotism; its iron-handed and iron-hearted government.

2. Ecclesiastical and spiritual despotism; its usurpation of all natural relationships, social ties, and religious liberties.

Note.—The shameful selfishness which prompts despotism, "serve themselves of him;" for greed of power, delight in securing abject submission, spoliation of possessions, &c., are the lust of all tyrants over the lives or souls of men.

II. Liberty unbridled will prove no special advantage even to its possessor. "If all "yokes" are gone and "bonds" broken from men, without any healthful control being substituted, men would become furious, victims of their own passions and self-will.

1. Liberty from tyranny is an advantage only when the control of God is substituted and accepted in its stead, e.g., "They shall serve the Lord their God," &c.

2. This subjection to God is better and safer than all human government and rule. It is a guarantee of good when God becomes our Governor, to rule us and care for our safety.

III. Divine rule is exercised through the kingship of Christ. "Serve the Lord their God and David their king."

1. God will not govern otherwise than by His Son. Rejecting Him as "king,"—Him whom God has set over us, and by whom God would have us governed—we shall be rejected by God. It is not God's intention to rule us directly, without the mediation of His Son. We must therefore obey Christ, and thus serve God.

2. It is in the sway of Jesus that this promise is fulfilled. David was dead when Jeremiah wrote, he never lived again to rule, yet God promised to perpetuate David's throne; but no king ever rose subsequent to this prophecy to rule the nation. Zerubbabel only held a fleeting and precarious dignity; and only Christ has realised and fulfilled this promise. But Jesus does rule—"the King of saints"—and blessed are they that serve Him.

IV. All our gracious liberty in Christ must be traced to God. "Whom I will raise up unto them."

1. We must rejoice in Christ's kingship as God's gift of grace to us.

2. Christ, and all blessings which flow to us in Him, must be viewed as the outflow of God's great goodness to us. "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son."

Jer . Theme: RECOVERY OF LOST ISRAEL. See Homilies indicated under Jer 30:3 of this chapter; also see Topic, Recovery of the Lost Ten Tribes, chap. Jer 33:8, on pp. 458, 459.

On "He shall return, and be in rest, and be quiet," see Homily on chap. Jer .

Jer . Theme: NATIONS OBLITERATED ISRAEL PRESRVED. "A full end of all nations, yet not a full end of thee."

We have here ocular proof of prophecy accomplished in an instance without parallel. It was repeatedly foretold, both in the Old and New Testaments, that, for the rejection and murder of their Messiah, the Jews should be dispersed into all the countries; yet that they should not be lost and swallowed up among their conquerors, but should still subsist, to latest times, a distinct people. By Jeremiah God declared "He would make an end of all nations," their oppressors, "but He would not make an end of them." It cannot be said this prediction was written since the event; and certainly an occurrence more singular, or improbable, could not have been predicted. In the course of human affairs, who hath heard such a thing? Yet so it is. The mighty monarchies of Assyria, Persia, Greece, and Rome are vanished like the shadows of the evening, or the phantoms of the night. Their places know them no more. Nothing remains of them but their names. Whilst this little despised people, strangely secure, without a friend or protector, amidst the wreck of empires, oppressed, persecuted, harassed always, by edict and executioners, by murders and massacres, have outlived the very ruins of them all. "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." Behold, then, a sign and wonder: the accomplishment of prophecy is a standing miracle. Contemplate the sight as it deserves, and be not faithless but believing.—Bishop Horne.

"NOT MAKE A FULL END OF THEE." See on chap. Jer ; Jer 5:18.

Also for Theme: LENIENT CORRECTION: "I will correct thee in measure," &c. See chap. Jer .

Jer . Theme: FAITHLESS HEALERS AND VAIN REMEDIES. On—

"Bruise incurable," see Jer ; also Jer 17:9.

"Wound is grievous, see Jer ; Jer 14:17; Jer 15:18.

"No healing," see Jer ; Jer 8:11; Jer 15:18.

"All thy lovers have forgotten thee," see Jer ; Jer 4:30; Jer 22:20; Jer 22:22; Jer 27:3.

"Thy sins are increased," see Jer . I. Helpless: "Incurable;" "wounds grievous," Jer 30:12.

II. Hopeless: "None to plead;" "no healing medicines," Jer .

III. Deserted by man: "Lovers have forgotten thee; seek thee not," Jer .

IV. Smitten by God: "Wounded thee;" "chastised thee," Jer .

V. Justly suffering: "For the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins are increased," Jer .

VI. Rejected outcries: "Why criest thou," &c., Jer .

VII. Sins' woes: "Because sins—I have done these things unto thee."

VIII. Remedy implied: Cease sins and escape their doom.

Jer . Theme: HEALING MEDICINES. "Thou hast no healing medicines." Doctors abound who undertake the cure of souls; but they heal not their maladies. "Ye are physicians of no value."

I. There are healing medicines adapted to heal all the maladies of the sin-stricken soul. Though "thou hast them not," yet such there are!

1. They are found in Christ. "Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."

2. There are none besides. Though professed spiritual healers offer other remedies, they have "no healing medicines," if they offer aught else but what the Gospel offers.

II. There are cruel delusions practised. By priests and ministers of the sanctuary, who flatter themselves that they have effected a cure, and deceive their patients. "They have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace." Who are these?—

1. Teachers of the confessional abominations.

2. Teachers of the baptismal regeneration fallacies.

3. Those who administer the Lord's Supper to the dying as a means of peace with God.

4. Preachers of self-reliance and self-righteousness for salvation.

It is one thing to deaden a pain, another to heal a wound!

III. For mourners over sin there is efficient healing. On no other truth can there be explained—

1. The angels' joy over penitent sinners.

2. The Saviour's gladness in reclaiming the guilty.

3. The remonstrances of Scripture over the unhealed (chap. Jer ).

4. The assurance of the blessedness following true sorrow. "Blessed are they that weep, for they shall be comforted."

Jer . Theme: IF GOD'S PEOPLE SUFFER, SHALL HIS FOES ESCAPE? "Therefore all that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity," &c.

I. Though evil men seem now to prevail against Israel, their day of woe is coming.

II. Though God may use our adversaries for our chastisement because we sin, they shall bear the iniquity and punishment of their deeds.

III. Though for a while the judgment of God spares the wicked while afflicting the righteous, yet the very afflictions of His people are a prophecy and guarantee that the heavier woes pronounced against the guilty will in due time fall on them.

IV. Though mercy rules the afflictions of God's people, softening their sorrows, and working all for their good, judgment without mercy shall sweep down on "every one" of God's and His people's adversaries.

V. Though from the "devourer," the "captivity," and the "spoil," there will be sure escape for banished Israel, yet from the doom coming upon the foes of God and Israel there shall be no alleviation or escape.

Jer . Theme: How GOD REGARDS THE TREATMENT SHOWN TO THE JEWS. "This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after."

Was man justified in despising them, because they were under chastisements from an offended God? Though the Jews were the authors of their own misery, the contempt poured upon them by their adversaries He will punish.

I. What is the treatment almost universally shown to the Jewish people? The historic view of the conduct of different nations specially since their dispersion by the Romans.

Cruelties inflicted upon them by different potentates of Europe, not excepting those of our own country. Cite, in example, the clamour raised throughout our land against the Act for removing Jewish disabilities. Nor is this civic intolerance all: their religious interests are disregarded and neglected.

The serious fact is, not that we persecute them, or even neglect them, but this—the self-vindication which we cherish in the midst of this neglect, and the eagerness with which we catch at anything by which we may justify that neglect.

II. The light in which such conduct is viewed by God. This contempt of others leads Him here to declare, by way of recompense, that He would restore to His favour the people so contemned.

1. Mark the inhumanity of it. Jews, no less than ourselves, have immortal souls; yet we make no effort for their salvation! Note Deu . Yet we hold from them the Bread of Life, &c.

2. The injustice of it. Gospel to be preached to "every creature," beginning at Jerusalem (see Rom ). We are debtors to them (Rom 15:26-27).

3. The ingratitude of it. Jews—the Apostles—laboured for Gentiles; should not we, in return, for them? (Php .)

4. The impiety of it. Christ became "a curse" for us; surely it is our reasonable service to do all we can for His glory. Alas! Eze .

III. The explanation of this sinful negligence towards the Jews.

1. Ignorance of the prophetic writings which so generally prevails.

2. Indifference to all spiritual interests which prevails—even about your own souls. Too many of us have never sought salvation for ourselves; how, then, be concerned for others?—Rev. C. Simeon, M.A.

See Comments, &c., on chap. Jer .

Theme: HEALING PROMISED.

i. Statement of our case: "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint; there is no soundness in us," &c. (Isa ).

ii. Prayer of the consciously sick: "Lord, be merciful unto me, heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee" (Psa ).

iii. Promise from God: "I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds" (Jer ).

Believe in your sickness. Believe in the Divine Physician. Believe in His promise, and pray.

Jer . ZION REPEOPLED. See on chap. Jer 17:25-26.

Jer . Theme: ISRAEL'S OWN GLORIOUS KING. See Lit. Crit. on verse.

The words should read: "And his Glorious One shall spring from himself [Israel]; and his Ruler shall go forth from his midst; and I will cause Him to draw near, and He shall approach unto ME for Who is this that hath pledged His heart to draw near unto Me?"

1. This verse emphatically repudiates a foreign and alien kingship; for, after the return from exile, Israel's Glorious Ruler is to be a native Prince springing "from the midst" of the people themselves.

2. Next, Jehovah will cause Him to draw near, i.e., to Himself; in like sacred access to that exclusively permitted to consecrated priests in the fulfilment of their solemn office. So that He is to fulfil a Sacred Office as well as to possess personal Royalty.

3. Then, He pledges His very life in approaching God, i.e., He will carry His life, His "heart," into the effort of mediation with God. And Messiah alone has made His life responsible as a Surety (Heb ; Heb 9:11-15), in order to gain access, not only for Himself, but for us to God. "Heart" is here put for "life," in order to express the courage, the intense purpose required, to undertake so tremendous a suretyship. This question therefore implies admiration, astonishment at One being found ready and competent for the task.

I. In origin: Messiah's humanity, and His affiliation with us.

He springs from "our midst;" is a native, born of us and amongst us.

II. In Person: Messiah's dignity, and His superiority over us.

He is indeed of Israel, but far transcends man in His own natural majesty. He is Israel's "Glorious One." Standing alone in His dignity; the Crown of humanity; the "One" who is "Glorious."

III. In office: Messiah's royalty, and His priesthood for us.

He is our "Ruler;" and He "draws near" God as a priest.

IV. In suretyship: Messiah's self-devotion; His approach to God for us.

And who but He; who, in nature Divine, "thought it not robbery to be equal with God," yet made Himself of no reputation, could possess "the heart"—of courage, consecration, and love—to approach God as man's Representative and Redeemer?

Comments—

Lowth says: "The Hebrew word is in the singular number, and literally signifies their "Mighty One," a title given to God Himself (Psa ), and to a mighty Angel (Isa 10:34), probably the WORD, or Son of God. He shall have near attendance upon Me (‘I will cause Him to draw near'); for I will make Him a Priest to Me as well as a King, according to the prophecy concerning the Messiah (Psa 110:4). ‘For who is this,' &c.,—who is there but the Messiah that is so entirely devoted to My service? See Psa 40:8; Joh 4:34; Joh 14:31."

Henderson remarks: "Who this illustrious Governor is, has been disputed. Michaelis and Scholz think it may have been John Hyrcanus; Grotius and others, Zerubbabel. But with neither of these will the predicates properly agree. That the person spoken of was to be a priest is generally allowed; but though Hyrcanus was hereditarily high-priest and ruler, yet there was nothing so peculiar about him or his office to call for the declaration that he should ‘approach unto' Jehovah; for this all his predecessors had done in the way which he did; or to warrant the pointed and emphatic interrogatory, ‘But who is he?' &c. The question is put as something altogether unique. Such an approach had never been made before."

Diedrich (in Lange): "This Church of God will own a Prince ‘from its midst'—Jesus, of our flesh and blood through the Virgin Mary. And He ‘approaches God' as no other can; for He is God's image, God's Son; and at the same time the perfect, holy in all His sufferings, the only obedient Son of man. This King is Mediator and Reconciler with God; He is also High-Priest, and fulfilled all righteousness, as was necessary for our propitiation. What glory to have such a King, who brings us nigh to God! And this is our glory."

Jer . Theme: ENGAGING THE HEART IN RELIGIOUS SERVICE. "For who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto Me, saith the Lord?"

The promises of God in times past become the encouragement of the Church in times to come.

Because these promises are ratified in Christ. "Yea, and Amen."

Because the dispensations of God proceed upon fixed and settled principles.

The promises here respect recovery from Babylon.

The immediate reference of the text may be to NEHEMIAH.

I. The nature of religion described.

II. The motives that it suggested.

I. The nature and requisites of religion described.

"Engaging the heart towards God." Without this all profession is false and all worship vain.

It supposes the free choice of God's service, and a full and heartfelt consecration to it. God's service chosen—

i. Deliberately, without rashness. "If the Lord be God, serve Him;" "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord;" "CHOOSE ye this day."

God will not accept a blind faith. Aaron was to light the lamps before he offered incense. Solomon first prescribes, "Know thou the God of thy fathers," and then adds, "Serve Him." God made the heart that He might dwell in it.

ii. Sincerely, without hypocrisy. Serve Him with a perfect heart; because you choose such a Master as is at once the Heart-Maker and the Heart-Searcher. Now therefore, as Joshua tells Israel, "Fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and truth." As if he had said, If you intend to serve Him, you must serve Him in uprightness, or you do not serve Him at all. God requires good aims as well as good actions; and He abhors that service, though ever so costly, if the aim of him who serves Him be not good. This is the difference between the service of God and of man. Man can but see the outside, and can only punish outward disobedience and defects; but God unveils motive. "God is a spirit."

iii. Cheerfully, without constraint. Serve the Lord with "gladness." A bad omen when the victim struggled at the altar. God loves a cheerful giver and a cheerful worshipper (2Ch ).

iv. Constantly, without end. In all things, in all places; in private as in public; in all times, prosperity and adversity, life and death; and with all faculties. As the Dutch minister said to Œcolampadius, Let God speak, and though we had six hundred necks, yet we will make them all stoop in obedience to Him.

II. Motives to induce this choice of God's service.

i. From God's rightful claim to it. God made man to serve Him and to seek his own happiness in God's service; his own honour in God's glory. We are His workmanship, and it becomes us to improve our gifts and capacities to Him from whom we receive them, as all rivers return to the ocean whence they come. As Aulius Fulvius said to his son, when he found him in conspiracy with Catiline, You were not born for Catiline, but for your country "(Non ego te Catilin genui, sed patri").

So God says, I did not give thee soul and body to serve the world and sin, but to serve Me withal.

Consider the infinite excellences which reside in God, as a motive to His service. The lustre of His perfections fills heaven and earth.

Consider the rich mercies you receive. So many mercies, so many motives. In creation, in providence, in redemption. We are therefore "delivered out of the hand of our enemies, that we should serve Him without fear." God makes the deliverance from Egypt a motive for keeping the ten commandments: "I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, therefore thou shalt keep holy the Sabbath." Much more may we argue from redemption: "Ye are not your own."

"Render to Cœsar the things that are Cœsar's, and to God the things that are God's." If service be not due, do not give it Him; but if it be, it is sacrilege to withhold it.

ii. From His gracious acceptance of it. "Who is willing?" He speaks with wonder and delight, shewing that God notices all hearts. There is no service any man does or desires to do, but God marks and registers it. God noticed Abraham's willingness to offer Isaac. Christ noticed every circumstance connected with Mary's anointing His head and washing His feet. God holds up the obedience of Job to Satan: "Hast thou considered?"

iii. From happiness consequent upon it. "His service perfect freedom." "A day in Thy courts." "Ethiopian went his way," &c. God's service is a type of heaven. We have communion with the "God of all consolation"—with the Spirit, the Comforter.

God alone can fill the heart. In His service you have encouraging promises, examples, providences, experiences, prospects.

iv. From consequences of not serving Him (Jer ).

III. Hints of direction.

i. To those who have engaged their hearts to God. Walk worthy.

Study to attain a temper of mind more and more spiritual.

Strictly guard the avenues of the inward man.

Bear yourself as the inhabitant of a better country.

Comprehend the entire frame of that holy rectitude in which the image of God consists.

Converse with the Word of God. Occupy your thoughts with God.

"Delight thyself in Him."

ii. To those who have not. Take care you do not carry the controversy into another world.

By how much nature revolts, by so much seek grace.

Jer . "Ye shall be My people, and I will be your God." Comp. chap. Jer 24:7.

Jer . "The whirlwind of the Lord." Comp. chap. Jer 23:19; Jer 23:29, and Jer 25:32.

Jer . Theme: CONSIDERATION. "In the latter days ye shall consider it."

After denouncing the Lord's judgments upon a people laden with iniquity, and looking beyond to a time of restoration and peace, Jeremiah rebukes their present carelessness and indifference by assuring them that, in that better time to come, they will look back with very different feelings upon their present conduct as a nation.

I. There comes a closing period of a course of action or conduct, when it can all be looked back upon, and the effects are seen and the results experienced.

The great practical point is to urge upon us—

1. The necessity of closely examining our own heart and life, with especial reference to the light in which they will appear even to ourselves hereafter. For

2. The crisis will arrive when we shall reap that which we have sown; or, above all, when we shall come to cast one long look behind, as our feet totter on the borders of the grave.

II. It may seem difficult thus, by due consideration, to realise at one time of life, or at one station in the course of action, the point of view which seems to belong to another. But the attainment is not difficult.

1. It is, in fact, easy to those who wish for it and strive for it. It is simply the true point of view.

2. Our case would be hard if the Lord had not provided for our guidance into all truth, not only of doctrine, but of life and conduct, at every period of our course.

3. We have in the Scriptures a sure and certain light unto our path; and he who has been careful to store his mind with its holy teachings, will never be at a loss to decide upon his conduct, or upon any course of conduct he contemplates.

4. If a man hears these words, whether, at the time, he heeds them or not, receives them or not, they fail not to judge him in his own consciousness (Joh ), not only at the last day, but in his "latter days"—those great days of decision.

III. Such a standard of invincible truth should be erected in the mind, constraining man to become his own judge, and enabling him to decide between the accusings and excusings of his conscience.

1. Therefore, minds should be filled with a knowledge of Scripture, even though, at the time, those minds entertain no adequate impression of its saving power.

2. The mind, earnestly desirous of realising this most true latter-end view of things, may obtain them through the gentle teachings of the Divine Spirit, who has never yet denied them to any who sought them in singleness of heart.

IV. With these essential and sure guides to wise consideration, we are without excuse if we neglect the duty, and brutal if we despise the privilege.

1. Who is there, looking back, but can discern grievous stains, fearful short-comings, distressing faithlessness—dishonouring to Christ, defiling to his own soul, and burdensome to his conscience—and compelled to exclaim, "Oh, that I had considered, that I had given one thought to God and the latter end, before I took this burden on my soul!"

2. The longer this habit of "consideration" is postponed, the more burdensome it becomes. There is much in a heart-searching retrospect, over the earliest and most innocent period of life, to awaken compunction and regret; but if the wholesome check, which the habit of considering the latter end imposes, be not found in good time, the blackening horror of the later and more advanced period makes that early time seem bright in the comparison, and gives birth to feelings which have found expression in such words as these—

"Lost days of youth! Oh, holy days,

When joy was blest with prayer and praise—

When this sad heart, now deeply dyed

With many a thought unsanctified,

Trembled at every venial stain,

And shrunk from sin as now from pain.

Oh, not that even in that hour

Of early reason's dawning power,

My soul was pure from thoughts of sin;

But now so dark the past has been,

That those first stains from young offence

Bear the bright hue of innocence."

—Kitto.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Jeremiah 30:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/jeremiah-30.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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