Jeremiah 4 - 6 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
Jeremiah's second message, which started in ch. 3, continues in these chapters.
The theme (or key phrase) of the first part of this message was "Return thou backsliding Israel" (3:12).
The theme of the second part is "The fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us" (4:8b).
Because Israel had not responded from their hearts to the Lord's invitation to turn back to Him (3:10), He would not turn back His judgment from them.
I. The Call of the Lord for Israel to Turn Back to Him. (3:6-4:4)
(Review: read 4:1-4)
II. The Anger of the Lord is not Turned Back from us. (4:5-6:30)
A. The Enemy from the North (4:5-31)
  1. The coming woes seen in three assignments-
    1. A Lion: the Destroyer from among the Gentiles wastes the Government (4:5-10), cp. 50:17
      v.10 - Thou hast greatly deceived... cp. Eze 14:9; 2Thes 2:10-12
      God allows those who reject His Truth to be swallowed up by the error which they prefer.
    2. A Hot Wind: the same Destroyer wastes the livelihood of the people (4:11-13)
      v.11 -...not to fan {ie., winnow}, nor to cleanse {ie., purge}...
      The time for removing impurity passed. The time for removal of the impure had come.
    3. Watchers from a far country: Examining the weakness of the Land to take advantage (4:14-18),
      while the eyes of the Lord discern the wickedness of their hearts for judgment.
  2. The coming woes seen in Jeremiah's anguish (Jeremiah's heart reflects the Lord's grief) (4:19-26)
    • v.22 - They have not known Me... they are wise to do evil. cp. 2Tim 3:7
    • v.23 was without form and void {HB, tohu vo bohu}-
      This phrase is used in Gen 1:1,2 of the earth, before God made it habitable.
      Here, it emphasizes the severity of judgment: the earth is wasted. cp. Isa 24:1
  3. The coming woes seen in the unalterable purposes of God (4:27-31)
    • v.27 - The Lord's purpose in judgment is not "to make a full end," but to cause His people to see that the lovers, which they had sought, are their undoing.
B. Exposure of the Enemies within -
   (The destruction by enemies from without was due to the spiritual destruction within.)
  1. The Search for a Righteous Man (5:1-19)
    1. The Common Men refuse to receive correction (5:1-4). cp. Jer 7:28; Zeph 3:2
    2. The Great Men have broken away from the Lord's way (5:5-11)
      • v.5 - Those with responsibility were in rebellion against the Lord. cp. Mic 3:1; Psa 2:2,3
      • v.8 fed horses everyone neighing after their neighbor's wife (cp. 2Tim 3:6).
        The nation's political and religious leaders were obsessed with sexual indulgence.
    3. The Prophets have become wind (5:12-19)
      • v.12 - The people had rejected the message of God's prophets (eg., 2Chr 36:16).
        The prophets, to whom they did listen, brought empty words. cp. 2Tim 4:3,4
        Their preferred prophets, who promised peace and prosperity, would be proven false.
      • v.14 - Yet they would be judged according to God's Word in Jeremiah's mouth.
        That Word prescribed loss of life and property, and captivity in a foreign land,
        to allow them to serve their preferred gods in their lands (v.15-19).
  2. The Disregard of Limits set by God (5:20-29)
    • Even the roaring sea cannot escape bounds set by God (5:20-22)
      v.21 -...eyes that see not... cp. Isa 6:9,10
    • The general rebellion of the people (5:23-25)
      As the Lord withheld the staples of life, to warn them of their ways, they did not observe the cause of their troubles and pressed their rebellion against His limitations.
    • The excesses of the rich and powerful (5:26-29)
      The rulers leverage their legal positions to illegally enrich themselves, at the expense of the downtrodden.
      v.27 - Houses full of deceit... In such homes, young people turn away from their parents and the faith they profess.
    • Summary: Prophets... Priests... People love to have it so (5:30,31)
      When the moral and spiritual condition of God's people is "wonderful {ie., appalling} and horrible", so will be their 'end' {the aftermath, the consequences which will overtake them}.
C. The City to be Visited [see 5:9,29] (6:1-30)
  1. A Forewarned City (6:1-8)
    • v.1 -...flee... blow the trumpet... set alarm fires - The enemy is approaching.
    • v.8 instructed... lest I make thee desolate - The city will be besieged and destroyed.
      Yet, here again, He offers opportunity to turn back, before the judgment falls.
    • v.6,7 - The reason for judgment... (continues through next section)
      Within and from her flows 'oppression' {extortion}... wickedness {evil}... violence {cruelty, injustice}... spoil {ruin, ie., through social sins}. She has brought upon herself 'grief' {ie., sickness} and wounds {beatings, slaughter}.
      These words, directed toward Israel in Jeremiah's day, are also descriptive of our nation and society.
  2. An Abominable City (6:9-21)
    • v.9-12 - Unreceptive to God's Word of warning... their judgment is unavoidable.
    • v.13 - Unrighteous - Covetousness... false dealings... cp. 2Tim 3:1-5; 2Pet 2:3,15
    • v.14 - Unhealed - Healed the hurt (bruise, wound) of my people slightly... 2Pet 2:18-21
      Josiah's reforms improved their external religious appearance, but the inner corruption remained.
      They were still under God's judgment, though their ungodly leaders and false prophets promised peace.
    • v.15-18 - Unashamed - They remained unmoved or convicted by the God's Word through His prophets.
Refusing God's way of truth and life, they proudly persisted in their own ways.
  • v.19 - Unavoidable judgment - I will bring evil upon them because they have rejected my Word. (also vs.10, 17)
    "The Reader's Digest published an article quite some time ago entitled 'The Book Almost Nobody Reads.' Of course they were referring to the Bible. I agree with that title. But notice what was said: 'In short, one way to describe the Bible, written by many different hands over a period of 3,000 years and more, would be to say that it is a disorderly collection of 60 odd books which are often tedious, barbaric, obscure and teeming with contradictions and inconsistencies. It is a swarming compost of a book, an Irish stew of poetry and propaganda, law and legalism, myth and murk, history and hysteria.' Now that is a lie, my friend! The man who wrote that article knows nothing about the content of the Word of God."
    [From J.V.McGee, Thru the Bible Radio study on Jeremiah]
    Yet, the Lord calls all nations and the earth itself, to bear witness to His Word.
    He will keep His promises for good, and He will execute the judgment which He has declared... though all refuse to listen. v.18,19
  • v.20,21 - Unavailing religious ritual... Unacceptable prayer - Refusing the Lord's assessment of their condition,
    they stumble over their perception of self-righteousness, to their own destruction. Isa 59:2
  • A Mourning City (6:22-26)
    Jerusalem would be surrounded by an enemy from the north. It would become unsafe to leave the city walls to work the fields. The siege would bring untold sorrows upon those within and without the walls.
  • A Tried City (6:27-30)
    If they would have truly returned to Him, they would not have been removed (4:1). But they had not returned. It would be little more than 20 years before Jeremiah would describe the woes, foretold here prophetically, from the perspective of history (Lam 1:8).
    Yet, even in the pronouncement of judgment, there is a thread of hope. For the Lord says, "Yet will I not make a full end of them." (4:27; 5:18)... and until the judgment fell, He continued to show them the way of escape (eg. 6:16-17), as He does today, for all who will hear and turn to Him (Isa 55:3; Mat 11:28).

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