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JEREMIAH 15:15-21

"TAKE FORTH THE PRECIOUS FROM THE VILE!"

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

"O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail? 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. And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and 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 15:15-21

 

LESSON 1, VERSE 15:

"O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke." Jeremiah 15:15

A Prophet of God is standing on solid ground when He lives by this maxim: "O Lord, Thou knowest!" The Name of God being used here is "Jehovah." He is the God of Salvation, the covenant keeping Lord of all! Jehovah means, at its heart, the God Who IS! Eternally the self existent One! The verb "knowest" is a perfect form of "yada." It in this context emphasizes God's never learning anything ... because He already possesses all the facts! "Yada" often can, and here does, mean complete knowledge, nothing lacking!

If I serve a God Who knows all, therein I find peace and joy!

"Remember" is an imperative! God is being asked to do something here, asked so strongly that it appears to be a demand! Nothing disrespectful is implied. The Hebrew language often expresses prayer in this fashion. It's earnestness being apparent! "To call to mind!" It's "heart" means "to mark" something, so that it might be recognized! Remembered!

"Visit" means "to look after or to number or to be concerned with" someone! "Paqad" can imply either a good visitation, or an evil one! God can come in blessing or judgment! It can also carry the idea of intervening on someone's behalf, to help them in a time of need!

"Revenge" translates "naqam," meaning to punish or execute revenge! Now in this line of three imperatives we stand amazed! Maybe, I'm not sure yet, Jeremiah is being a little "pushy" with God! The object of our verb is "persecutors." And "radaph" means those who are chasing or following you ... to do you harm!

Jeremiah was the Prophet of God who was called "to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down" ... before he could "build and plant." Such a ministry drew enemy fire! Retaliation! See Jeremiah 1:10.

God even told the Prophet that his words, his preaching, would be like "fire" and his hearers like "wood" and the rest of that story you can imagine! Ashes! See Jeremiah 5:14.

It got so bad that Jeremiah's own townspeople, citizens of Anathoth, sought to kill him! "But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered." Here's what they said to the Preacher: "Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand." (Jeremiah 11:19, 21) Then and there God promised Jeremiah: "Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine: and there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation." Now we can better understand why Jeremiah was so bold in his praying!

At times Jeremiah faced the stark possibility of death! Often in fact! After hearing his preaching the local ministerial association petitioned the King: "We beseech thee, let this man be put to death. Then Zedekiah the king said, Behold, he is in your hand: for the king is not he that can do any thing against you. Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire." This, taken from Jeremiah 38, is suffering!

Little wonder Jeremiah then prayed further: "Take me not away in Thy longsuffering." Lord, don't kill me! To "take away," in Hebrew "laqach," means "to lay hold of, to seize or to fetch!" To snatch away ... here in death! The verb is a Qal imperfect. Active voice ... constant possibility! And "longsuffering" employs two words. "Arek" means long as opposed to short. Then "aph" is one's nostrils! It pictures a man breathing hard! Doing so in extreme anger! However, in the Bible this term occasionally means "longsuffering" in the sense of forbearance! See Proverbs 25:15 for the example I have in mind. I think Jeremiah may be saying something like this. God, Thou hast graciously allowed my enemies so much time and space ... if things so continue they will kill me for sure! Do not let me die! Do not take me away! Let not Thy patience to them be the death of me!

Our verse again: "O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke." Jeremiah 15:15

The second "know" in this Text is "yada" again. Again it's an imperative too! It can mean to know or perceive in just about any degree ... mere acquaintance to intimate familiarity.

"For Thy sake" is "al" in Hebrew. It's a preposition and has the idea of "over or upon or against." Jeremiah has suffered because of his testimony for God!

"Suffered" is "nasa" and means to carry or bear or even lift a heavy load! It's an infinitive here, suggesting durative or constant action. This grief is a daily event for Jeremiah!

Then the final noun "rebuke" must be studied. "Cherpah" means scorn or taunt or shame or reproach. It's root verb means "to pull off" and likely has reference to stripping a person, exposing his shame!

What pressure and hatred this Man of God endured ... apparently for fifty or more years as he faithfully preached the Word of God!

Little wonder he prayed an imprecation in this verse, "Revenge me of my persecutors."

In fact, Jeremiah often did this! He might be the Bible Leader when it comes to imprecation, even ahead of the Psalmist! For example, Jeremiah 18:21-23. "Therefore deliver up their children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword; and let their wives be bereaved of their children, and be widows; and let their men be put to death; let their young men be slain by the sword in battle. Let a cry be heard from their houses, when thou shalt bring a troop suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit to take me, and hid snares for my feet. Yet, LORD, thou knowest all their counsel against me to slay me: forgive not their iniquity, neither blot out their sin from thy sight, but let them be overthrown before thee; deal thus with them in the time of thine anger." This is one Preacher with whom yu would not want to quarrel!

Do you think he's out of line? Let Isaiah set us straight! "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD."

Amen!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, VERSE 16:

Today we come to the great sixteenth verse!

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts." Jeremiah 15:16

We must remember the context of these precious truths.

Jeremiah is frustrated!

More than that, he is  being persecuted, relentlessly!

Because of His preaching, God's mandated Message to backslidden Judah!

Under such heavy pressure, any man of God might speak unadvisedly with his lips! Moses once did so according to Psalm 106:33.

Job did too!

Even John the Baptist as well!

Paul once called the High Priest of Israel a "whited wall," a hypocrite!

And Jonah, he made a career of rash speaking!

But, at least with Jeremiah, he often found encouragement in the midst of his frustrations.

And, as with so many of God's saints, that strength lay in the Word of God!

That's why verse 16 is where it is! "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

The noun "words" is "dabar" in Hebrew. It refers specifically to the content of a message, not its physical delivery. What God was saying uplifted Jeremiah! That's why we must study each noun or verb carefully! They are loaded with meaning!

The verb "found" translates "matzsa" which means something like "came forth" or even "appeared." It does no necessarily here denote a long and diligent search! God's Word found Jeremiah really ... in this case anyway. Several times Jeremiah experienced the written Word! He, under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit, even authored some of it! In Jeremiah 30:2 we read: "Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book." Then again, in Jeremiah 36:2, the Lord instructed the Prophet: "Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day." Lastly book-wise, "So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon." And later ... "And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah." These last two verses are from Jeremiah 51.

Wow!

Jeremiah was a book man!

No wonder he loved God's Word so much!

He even "ate" it! "Akal" means just that, to consume as food! To devour, to feed upon, to ingest for nourishment! Here we have a figurative meaning implied. Hunger for God's thoughts! Jesus used this idea to defeat the devil one day! "But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

The Bible is like milk ... or honey ... or meat ... or bread to a famished soul!

Have you folks had your spiritual manna yet today? Or is that what you're doing right now?

But what did the eaten Word do for Jeremiah?

Unlike John's "Patmos" experience ... "And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey" ... or Ezekiel's ... "Moreover Lord said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness" ... Jeremiah's "words" were joyful to his heart! Really, God's Words! "Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart," he proclaimed!

"Joy," the noun, means gladness or exultation! "Sason" in Hebrew has a root that means "cheerful," especially in the sense of "welcome!"  This trait, used of Jesus in the superlative degree, is lovely! Psalm 45:7 prophesies: "God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Here "gladness" is "sasoon."

The Psalmist experienced the same sensation from God's Word! "Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart." Psalm 119:111

"Rejoicing," a synonym here, is "simchah" in Hebrew and means literally "to brighten up!" This quality too is associated directly with God. Psalm 16:11 states: "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." I've underlined our word.

The verb "called" is "qara" and means "to cry out loud!" It also carries the idea of nearly accosting a person, confronting him or her directly! The day each of us was saved, God's Word so met us!

"Name" here, "shem," means reputation or fame or glory as well as merely a name! It's the Essence of God! His Name is What He is, Who He is! I also am wondering if here the Word of God written is not being equated with the Word of God living! After all, the Psalmist said to the Lord: "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." Psalm 138:2

Then comes the specific Name Jeremiah accented: "O LORD God of Hosts!" The noun "hosts" is literally "armies!" It's "tzsaba" in Hebrew. Jehovah Elohim of all the armies! The real Commander! These could be the armies of heaven ... or earth! Jesus is Lord of both! And, if you notice carefully, the Name "Lord of Hosts" is usually associated with people when they have drifted away from God! It's the Name for a cold hearted population ... one about to face God's Hand of judgment!

Certainly this was the case in Jeremiah's day!

Encouragement in the midst of sorrow!

That's Jeremiah 15:16!

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts."

If this God ordained strategy worked for Jeremiah ... and it did ... it will also do the job for you and me!

Amen!

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, VERSE 17:

Jeremiah is so transparent in the Biblical Book that bears his name! He opens his heart again and again! Many of Scripture's human writers do not do this. In fact, we  know virtually nothing about some of them.

But, look at this. It's from the pen of Jeremiah through the leadership of the Holy Spirit. "I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation." Jeremiah 15:17

Let's learn what this verse is telling us about the great weeping Prophet.

To "sit" is to "remain" or even "dwell" in a place. To "sit" regularly, habitually, maybe even permanently! "Yashab" here informs us of Jeremiah's lifestyle to a certain extent.

Jeremiah refused to attend the "assembly" of the mockers. "Sod" means a council, a noun, which had gathered to offer "counsel," to give advice! To "counsel" as a verb even carries the idea of sharing secrets! To "mock" translates "sachaq" and means "to laugh or to make fun of or to deride" someone or something! To make sport of it! It's even "scorn" three times in the King James Text. Here it is also a Piel participle. Ongoing action ... with great intensity!

Jeremiah here obeys Psalm 1:1 beautifully! He will not "walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful."

Really, God had forbidden Jeremiah a number of activities. He was not allowed to marry! "Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place." Jeremiah 16:2

He was not to participate in funerals either! "For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies." Jeremiah 16:5

Neither could he enjoy their social occasions of gladness! This is separated living! "Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride." Jeremiah 16:8-9

In fact, the verb "rejoiced" as used here in verse 17 is "alaz" and means "to jump" in excitement and exultation! Twice in Scripture it is translated "triumph!" This is the way the people of Judah were acting, reveling, even when their Nation faced imminent doom!

Sound familiar?

The verb "alaz" also has reference to Jeremiah's prohibition concerning occasions of gladness! It is no time to party!

Since no funerals or feasts or weddings were allowed, naturally Jeremiah, unmarried and misunderstood, sat "alone!" In Hebrew "badad" means "solitary." Its verbal root means "to divide," hence all alone! Separated from everybody!

Conditions were so ungodly in Judah, and ruin so near, that such behavior became necessary. Partly perhaps for Jeremiah's own sake, his spiritual purity, but also to set an example, to teach the Israelites! They did not however seem to heed the warning!

It is God's "Hand" that has caused Jeremiah so much sorrow, or so it seems! That's what he is hinting anyway! "Because of Thy Hand!" The noun "hand" is "yad" and means "an open hand" usually. Not at this time filled with bounty!

Then Jeremiah almost "charges" God with an offense it appears! "For Thou hast filled me with indignation." Again, Jeremiah 15:17.

To be "filled" is "male" (maw-lay') as a Piel perfect verb. To be brought to the point of overflowing! Vigorously so! God is being blamed here. There's a lack of respect, temporarily so, in Jeremiah's demeanor.

Filled with what? God has dispensed what? "Indignation" is the answer! "Zaam" means "rage" actually! Its basic word picture is "to froth at the mouth!" That's right, "to foam at the mouth!" To be enraged! Fury!

One of two things could be indicated here. Least likely is the possibility that God has saturated Jeremiah with holy anger, pointed at the sin and rebellion of his day! Righteous indignation! More likely is the fact that Jeremiah, quite emotional anyway, is as mad as he can be! Upset! Like Jonah would later be! Or maybe even the prodigal's son's older brother! One time our Bible translates "zaam" as "defy!"

A bit angry at God!

And this would not be the only godly individual in Scripture who fell into that scheme of Satan!

So, the weeping Prophet is now the seething Prophet!

Really, there's only one way to see if our interpretation, as carefully based as it is on the rules of hermeneutics and the presumed leadership of the Holy Spirit, proves accurate. And that is to study the next verse or two, the context of our Passage.

Tomorrow, we shall see Jeremiah making even more charges, frightening ones, at God Himself!

But, don't worry, the Lord will soon correct this dear Prophet, in no uncertain terms! Just like He yet today chastens and disciplines and child-trains and whips us, if we are indeed His children!

We had best leave the Preacher alone now! He's in no mood for fellowship anyway!

This is one of his low points!

Yet he, like most Believers, certainly has more victories than defeats to his record! More mountain peaks than valleys!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, THE FIRST HALF OF VERSE 18:

The Prophet Jeremiah gets a little out of line here!

None of us should judge him too harshly however. We have not walked in his shoes. The Lord will properly handle His servant! We will sit and listen and learn!

The first part of verse 18, our Text today, just "hints" at the coming problem. Jeremiah is just about what we would call "fed-up!" He is near his limit! All he can take!

Indeed he has suffered for years, been imprisoned time and time again, endured hatred and scorn and misrepresentation repeatedly!

Listen: "Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?" Jeremiah 15:18a

The noun "pain" translates "keeb" which means grief or sorrow as well as pain. Its root verb is "kaab" and means "to feel pain." Here is Job using "keeb," which is rendered "grief" on this occasion. "Though I speak, my GRIEF is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?" Job 16:6

Obviously we are here confronting emotional pain as well as physical discomfort and suffering.

The verb "perpetual" means permanent and prominent too! At least here it does! "Netzsach" is derived from a root verb that means "to glitter from afar!" Always in view ... with no end in sight!

Jeremiah is at times tormented by his situation!

The noun "wound" is "makkah" and implies a blow or a strike or stripes. This graphic word is also used 11 times in the King James Bible for "plague." Jeremiah was actually physically assaulted on occasion! "Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD." Jeremiah 20:2

But here it's likely that Jeremiah is thinking that God has smitten him!

His wound is "incurable" as well! "Anash" means desperately sick or frail and weak ... to the point of being irreversible! When "pointed" differently, the vowels being altered, we get "enosh," one noun for "man" ... weak and frail as he is!

Once Jeremiah gets his depression under control ... he will use this word in his preaching! "Anash" will be capitalized in the following sermon quotes:

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

Listen to this personal, and beautiful, illustration: "Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now. As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil." Jeremiah 17:14-17

Now again directly preaching to Judah: "For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines. All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased." This is Jeremiah 30:12-14. The Prophet here nearly uses his own words of grief, expressed in our verse today, to rebuke Israel for her sins!

Finally Jeremiah 30:15 thunders: "Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee." He's really preaching now!

And all these sermon themes grew from Jeremiah's own suffering ... and complaining! He learned and profited from his mistakes!

The verb "refuseth," ... in "why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which REFUSETH to be healed" ... every one of the 41 times it is utilized in Scripture means "to refuse utterly!" Here we additionally have a Piel stem verb, the action being intense and sharp!

"Healed" is "rapha," a picturesque verb meaning "to mend by stitching!" Hence, "to cure as a physician!"

A downcast Prophet!

So human today, concentrating on himself!

We have all done so!

Only Jesus lived totally to please His Father!

And did so constantly! Listen to our Lord: "The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him." John 8:28

Always!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, THE SECOND HALF OF VERSE 18:

The Bible is such a brutally honest Book!

Jeremiah's caustic words here could have been omitted without damaging the overall narrative. But the Holy Spirit chose to include them, even at the risk of acknowledging such doubt!

Talking to God, Jeremiah asks: "Wilt Thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?" Jeremiah 15:18b

To say the least, Jeremiah is disappointed! To say more, he has fallen into sin, although momentarily.

We know this whole verse is a question because of the little word "mah." It opens the verse in Hebrew. The emphasis must be placed here! Jeremiah is questioning God. His depression has yielded to doubt!

"What, how, why," all are common and legitimate meanings for this particle.

"Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? Wilt Thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?"

Therefore the second clause of the verse, "wilt Thou be altogether ...," continues the interrogation!

"Wilt be," the initial verb, translates a form of "hayah." It means "to exist, to come to pass, to be" in that sense. It's an "imperfect" in Hebrew, telling us that the action here is incomplete. Jeremiah is accusing God of being consistently unfaithful! He does NOT mean what he is saying, folks! This is a temporary low point, for which the Lord rebukes him sharply!

I once read a Preacher who said something like this. This is not a quote, but it's the essence of his meaning. "No man is as bad as his worse day! And no man is as good as his best day!" In other words, we live somewhere between those two extremes. Well, for Jeremiah's sake, I mention that saying! He is not as bad as this looks! He's a godly Prophet, one who is having a temporary siege of weakness!

"Altogether" is derived from "hayah," the verb. Here are our King James translators clarifying the "tense" of our verb, I believe. "Altogether" completes the meaning of "hayah" in its durative sense, as an imperfect.

Then Jeremiah uses the word we all wish he had not spoken! He compares God to a "liar!" I would not even write this if it were not in the Word of God! "Wilt Thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail?"

The noun "liar" translates "akzab" and means one who is "deceitful." Perhaps one who is "disappointing" is a better rendering here. Yet neither is true of Almighty God!

Once in the King James text, the root verb for "liar" is translated "to fail." However, as a noun, this specific word only occurs twice in the whole Bible, here and in Micah 1:14. Yet its derivatives occur numerous times. In English the noun "liar," both singular and plural, occurs nearly two dozen times in Scripture, but using a number of different Hebrew or Greek words. "Akzab" is often associated with vanity and emptiness also.

Do remember here that God cannot lie! That's what Titus 1:2 says! It's impossible for God to lie in Hebrews 6:18. And Jesus is "The Truth" according to John 14:6.

Jeremiah next uses a word picture, a backslidden one! God is like "waters that fail." The noun "waters" is "mayim" and indicates a flowing stream or maybe even a vibrant river ... but suddenly, it "fails!" This verb is one that utilizes two Hebrew terms, "lo aman." This means "not true!" Or "not faithful!" Or "not firm!" Or "not steadfast!" Or "not trustworthy!"

Talk about a preacher being in trouble!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we shall see God's response to this outrage!

The humanity and weakness, even of God's choice servants, is allowed to bleed through their writings in Scripture!

Again, it is an honest Book!

Written by a forgiving God!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

Postscript ... After I had finished with today's Lesson the Lord reminded me of something. This is not the first time Jeremiah has spoken rashly, "unadvisedly" the Psalmist would have said! "Bata" = rash and angry speech, babbling! See Psalm 106:33, referring to Moses' outburst.

In Jeremiah 20:7 the Prophet, understandably shaken, cries: "O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me." Of course the Man of God had just been assaulted by an apostate priest. "Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the LORD, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD." Jeremiah 20:1-2

The verb Jeremiah uses of God, "Thou hast DECEIVED me," is spelled "pathah." It literally means "to open wide." When a definition is that unrelated to its usage, one can only search the Scriptures and see how the Holy Spirit of God employs it elsewhere. With "pathah" we have 28 possible examples to enjoy. In its first appearance, Genesis 9:27 God has "enlarged" Japheth! That's in perfect keeping with "wide open." But in its second occurrence, Exodus 22:16, a man is "enticing" a young woman, a maid! Jeremiah has just accused God of enticing him, misleading him! Then by its third Bible usage, Deuteronomy 11:16, "pathah" becomes "deceived!" Here is the whole verse: "Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them." So, the Bible is an excellent commentary on itself!

In fact, Jeremiah is so discouraged here that he resigns his ministry! "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His Name." Jeremiah 20:9

But thank God, he could not stay "quit!" Listen! "But His Word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."

To Jeremiah's credit let me add this. All these harsh reactions may not have been as much due to his personal suffering and inconvenience as to the way God was being treated in Judah! Jeremiah was battling for God's honor! Here's why I say so. "For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily." Jeremiah 20:8 records the Prophet's own words, mind you.

God's Word was being shamed, "cherepah," a graphic word in Hebrew.

A "derision" is a laughing-stock! It is from the verb "to ridicule."

So even in discouragement, Jeremiah exhibits some admirable traits! And be sure of this. If we can see them, God certainly could!

 

 

lesson 6, verse 19, first clause:

Three different phases of this nineteenth verse need to be examined. God here is correcting Jeremiah, who got a little discouraged and said some things he really did not mean! Things about God primarily!

Jeremiah may not have known so immediately, but he quite near disqualified himself from the Ministry! He just about became a "castaway," as Paul would have termed it.

Not the loss of his salvation, the loss of his usefulness and his power and his service to the Lord!

"Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me." Jeremiah 15:19a

Jeremiah may have been in "the gall of bitterness" at that time. Accusing God of lying is serious business!

He was nearly troubled by a root of bitterness, which says Hebrews 15:15, will defile its victims!

Whatever the exact spiritual malady the Prophet possessed, he needed to repent! And that's exactly what God is telling him here!

By the way, God did not have to say this but one time! "Saith" is "amar" as a perfect verb, action completed! And the Name of God used is Jehovah, not Elohiym! Jeremiah is dangerously near God's "wood-shed!" A whipping is on the way! Jehovah is God's relational Name, the covenant making One!

Prophet of God, "return," says the Lord!

"Shub" translates the basic Hebrew word that means "to turn back" or "to restore" or even "to recover!" It's a "repentance" term in the Old Testament! If Jeremiah continues on his doubting loud-mouthed way, God can no longer fellowship with Him! He has recently been walking away from the Almighty!

And this "turning" is to be an on-going durative thing! Repentance is not a one-time event for the Believer. It is nearly a way of life! A good spiritual habit to develop, confessing one's sins daily!

Jeremiah, if you will repent, turn, come home ... then I will do the same, says the Lord! "If thou return, then will I bring thee again." The verb "bring again" is "shub," but this time as a Hiphil imperfect. It is causative in nature! There is a cause motivating God to accept Jeremiah back! That is God's Love and Grace I am sure, but specifically here it's Jeremiah's expected humble repentance!

If Jeremiah changes his ways ... God will change His Mind and take the Prophet back and put him right back in the pulpit!

Here it is in the New Testament: "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4:8

Jeremiah had lost his "standing" before God! Not with his eyes or his hands or his feet ... such sinning is still bad mind you ... but with his mouth! He talked his way out of sweet communion with the Lord!

He, in New Testament terms again, grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit!

The verb "stand" is "amad" and means stand in this sense: to abide, to remain, to endure!" Using King James Bible translations of our word, Jeremiah is "appointed" again! Or "established" again!

The Lord did the same thing with Peter, you will remember! He denied three times ... the Lord reinstated him three times, "Lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep!"

God also tried to do the same thing with Jonah, that most stubborn of Prophets! Perhaps with less success!

What a lesson today on getting right with God!

Let's keep it in mind.

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, VERSE 19, SECOND CLAUSE:

The Lord, while chastening Jeremiah, still says: "And if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth." Jeremiah 15:19b

This clause is the "heart" of our Text. It is the catalyst that drove me to study this great Paragraph.

What does it mean to take the precious from the vile?

"Vile," in Hebrew "zalal," means that which is worthless or insignificant! Its root verb suggest something shaking, as in a strong wind! One source says it means "to quake," physically perhaps but spiritually too! Figuratively, it has come to mean that which is unstable. In our King James Text "zalal" is used for "gluttons, riotous eaters, riotous men, and flowed down!" Jeremiah, quit going "downhill" in your spiritual life! In Lamentations 1:11, Jeremiah has the whole Nation described as "vile" in her sins and rebellion. Do not be like the world, like this backslidden people of your city, Jeremiah!

Then "precious" means valuable or prized or rare, even weighty! "Yaqar" only appears three dozen times in Scripture. Here are some King James Version renderings of the word: excellent, costly, brightness, reputation, clear, fat and honorable! The root verb apparently means "to be heavy!" Here's the first time "yaqar" is used in the Bible: "And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision." 1st Samuel 3:1

To "take forth" is a translation of "yatzsa" and means "to go out, to carry out, to come out!" Ten times in our Bible it is rendered as "depart!" Here our verb just means for Jeremiah to leave his grumbling behind and glean or mine from his trials a few precious things that will last forever! The verb action being depicted is constant or durative. Keep on bringing the precious out of that vile situation, Jeremiah!

Then IF you do this, a big "if" here, God says to His Prophet, "thou shalt be as My mouth." Really, be as God's mouth again! Jeremiah had been God's spokesman for many years ... until he went on his tirade! He nearly was displaced too! But if he can extract the precious from the current mess ... and repent of his sins ... God will still use him! This is the great God of the second chance speaking! "And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time." Jonah 3:1

The noun "mouth" translates "peh," actually a letter of the Hebrew alphabet! Its background is thought to flow from "paah," to puff, to blow, to scatter!" Preaching here is nearly spreading the very breath of God! To be God's mouth is an honor indeed!

"Shalt be" is "hayah," to become or to exist or to be established. It is framed here as an imperfect, telling us that the "being" is a constant thing. Jeremiah will speak for God the rest of his days! And the Prophet had a long ministry!

This is nearly like a second call to preach!

"Thou shalt be as My mouth!"

Amen!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8, VERSE 19, THIRD CLAUSE:

God gave Jeremiah a valuable piece of advice one day, just as the Prophet was repenting from a rare lapse in judgment. These instructions still apply today!

The pressures and trials of life, Jeremiah being a special target of persecution, had so impacted Jeremiah that he was depressed. He even began saying things that were very uncharacteristic for him, stalwart of faith that he was! Things he really didn't mean, not down in his heart!

Hear the Lord now, speaking of the apostate rebellious people to whom Jeremiah had been preaching for years, "Let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them." Jeremiah 15:19c

"Let return," the verb, translates "shub" again! Four times in this single verse we've had this little word! It opens and closes the Text! "Inclusio," they call it! The Holy Spirit no doubt has placed it here for emphasis. God is a God Who can "turn" the hearts of people! God in fact is the only One Who can "give" repentance! See 2nd Timothy 2:25. Of course that repentance must be obeyed, put into practice! Man must positively respond to it!

"Let them return unto thee." To "turn again" or simply to "return" or even to "turn back" are often used meanings for "shub." The Lord says something like this: Jeremiah, these unbelieving people, these sinful stubborn souls have influenced you too much! Forget about them! Don't even pray for them any more! They have contributed to your discouragement and nearly cost you your ministry! Stand strong in these last days of your Nation's pre-captivity! If any changing is done, let them do it! Let them return to obey God!"

Then we come to the last section of the verse, "But return not thou unto them." Here again is "shub." Having repented, do not change your direction, Jeremiah! The verb "return" in both instances here at the end of the verse is framed as a Qal stem imperfect. That's just a simple active voice verb which depicts completed movement. God is serious about these instructions.

One way of putting these maxims is: "Do not let these hoodlums influence you, Jeremiah! You influence them!"

Otherwise, their days are just about done!

And ... these hard-hearted Israelites did not repent, and God did send them into slavery, captivity, for seventy years! Most of them never returned home!

Ah, the wages of sin!

                                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

A few verses I need to add, explaining some things I've said in the Lesson. God did tell Jeremiah to pray no longer for those people! Three times "pray not" is recorded. Jeremiah 7:16 says: "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee." Add Jeremiah 11:14, "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble." And Jeremiah 14:11, "Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good." A Nation can go so far from God that their condition becomes hopeless! Yet God, in His Grace and Mercy, still has future plans for Israel!

Then let the Proverbs give us a classic statement about God being able to "turn" hearts to His Glory. "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." Proverbs 21:1

The best commentary on Scripture very often is the Bible itself!

 

 

LESSON 9, VERSE 20:

After Jeremiah made his distinct "turn" back to the Lord, carefully responding to the instructions God gave him, the blessings began to flow!

Here are the Lord's words to Jeremiah now. "And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and 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." Jeremiah 15:20

The verb "will make" translates "nathan," a key Hebrew verb basically meaning "to give!" God's great boon upon His Prophet is "protection!" And protection is a gift! Listen to Isaiah. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD." Now that, Isaiah 54:17, is protection!

The noun "wall" is "chomah" and comes from a root verb meaning "to join." This is not just a piece of a wall, but one that encircles the whole man! Joined apparently at four corners! Complete protection!

No harm can dome his way!

Also notice it's a "fenced" wall! "Batzsar" originally means "to clip off" or to "cut" away! It was a grape gatherer's term! It suggests separation from the enemy! Isolation if necessary!

And "brass" adds to the image of strength! "Nechosheth" rules out a rock wall or a brick wall! Also mud, dirt, wood, or thorns are insufficient! Solid metal! Impenetrable!

Oh, the battle will rage! The Jews who hate the Preacher and lean toward help from anywhere but Babylon will "fight" still! "Lacham" means "to make war!" That's not just one battle, mind you! A state of hostility! You might notice that "lacham" here has closeness to the Hebrew word for bread, "lechem!" An alternate meaning is "to feed upon" something! The enemies want to "eat Jeremiah alive!"

But they will not "prevail!" Now "yakol" implies "enduring or overcoming." The root idea is "ability" or "power!"

Why will they be so powerless?

Because God promises, "I am with thee!" Literally the verb is supplied, the King James Version's italics prove that. God says verbatim, "I WITH THEE!" The personal pronoun is not simply expressed here either, it is present, "aniy." And "with thee" translates "eth," meaning "nearby or together." It's a relationship word!

And God's presence will do two things, promised! He will "save" the Prophet! "Yasha" means "to be open, to be wide or to be free." It became the Hebrew verb for salvation! It surely does not sound "exclusive," does it? This word is actually the "root" for such words as Joshua and Jesus, both of which mean "deliverer or saviour!"

Jeremiah will not be fatally harmed!

He will furthermore be "delivered." This verb, "natzsal," means "rescued, snatched away, recovered or even escaped!" Both "save" and "deliver" are Hiphil infinitives, depicting action that is constant and causative. God habitually made Jeremiah safe! God constantly rescued him!

And what is the authority behind these promises?

"Saith the Lord."

This is Jehovah! And the verb "saith" is "neum," to whisper! See the intimacy here! "Neum" is associated with the oracles of God! This interesting word is born from the Latin "orare," to pray or plead! An oracle is a message straight from God!

Do remember that Jehovah is God's covenant keeping Name! It's a promise, Jeremiah!

You're safe!

By the way, this is not the first time God has so reassured His Prophet! As far back as Jeremiah chapter one we can read the Lord's words to Jeremiah in this regard: "For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee."

Amen!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

God nearly had to to this for Jeremiah, protect him in such a powerful manner! He was at risk again and again! Here are a couple of many examples:

Verbally he was attacked: "Then said they, Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words." Jeremiah 18:18

Then physically: "Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. Then spake the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears." But Jeremiah still did not relent! He boldly continued preaching God's Word! "Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears." Now, watch the "brass wall" promise take effect as these men's hearts are "turned" by the Lord! "Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God. Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spake to all the assembly of the people, saying, Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spake to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls." God certainly keeps His Word!

 

 

LESSON 10, VERSE 21:

When God promises protection, He means it! Two classes of people are particularly mentioned. The Lord says to Jeremiah: "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 15:21

The wicked are represented by the Hebrew word "ra," pronounced "rah." This is evil in its most malignant form, spreading and killing as it infects! It is derived from "raa," to spoil or to make good for nothing! To break to pieces literally!

And the "terrible" are "ariytzs," a new word to me. It means violent and oppressive! Its root idea is "dread," or simply "harassing" someone! However, the word can be used in a good sense too, meaning "to prevail!" Bad: "And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." This is a vain and proud crowd according to Isaiah 13:11. Then in a good sense, even of the Lord: "But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten." Jehovah is Victor says Jeremiah 20:11.

To "deliver" is "natzsal" and indicates a rescue, a "snatching away!" An escape! It's a "causative" verb! God does this for a reason! He is keeping His promises to Jeremiah, about protection!

Then to "redeem," using the Hebrew "padah," means "to sever," hinting at one being "set free" from something like prison! Twice in the Bible it's "ransom."

The enemy will not be able to "touch" Jeremiah, not fatally! And here the enemy surprisingly is NOT Babylon, but the leaders of Judah, his own Nation!

Yes, Jeremiah suffered a great dead! Perhaps one must face great danger to realize God's protecting Presence!

The Prophet was also very lonely. But that only made him treasure God's company more than ever!

No one wanted to fellowship with this Preacher either, except maybe Baruch his "secretary." But God loved to commune with His man, and did so regularly, nearly constantly!

What I'm saying is this, with every valley there was a mountain, at least one! Come to think of it ... a valley really requires two mountains! With every burden there came a host of blessings!

With every new batch of "vile" circumstances ... Jeremiah, if he looked and tried, could extract much "precious" ore with which to praise the Lord!

So, we leave him today, a protected Prophet of God!

One whose ministry perhaps spanned more years than any other man of God in the Bible! Some say fifty or sixty years! That's based on the Kings under whom he served and preached, Jeremiah 1:2-3. From Josiah to Zedekiah is quite a while!

God protected His Preacher!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

THIS IS A CLASSIC TEXT FROM SCRIPTURE ... AT LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO HANDLING THE HARD TIMES OF LIFE! WE PRAY YOU HAVE ENJOYED STUDYING THESE SIX VERSES.

 

Additional Note:  God often had to "correct" Jeremiah! For example, Jeremiah 12. Listen to the Prophet first: "Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins. But thou, O LORD, knowest me: thou hast seen me, and tried mine heart toward thee: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end." Then God, preparing Jeremiah for even more hard times, says: "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" Jeremiah, if you can't handle these "light" problems, what will you do when the "heavy" things arrive? Jeremiah 12:1-5 provide for us a pattern of divine "child training" as God "toughens" Jeremiah for the battle!

 

 

                                                                          

 

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