Drought. Living in the Southwestern United States, you quickly learn to appreciate rain (and snow for the “high country”). Every living being needs water to survive. Yesterday, the National Drought Mitigation Center released the current U.S. Drought Map. (You can see it at the bottom.) It seems the summer monsoon helped Arizona quite a bit. It’s still in the “abnormally dry” to “moderate drought” status. California, however, where wildfires take advantage of the drought, is in far worse shape.
In today’s chapters, God explains to Jeremiah why He’s holding back the rain. Which should make us stop and think, how much of our “climate crisis” is our doing in the sense that God is punishing us or holding back His protective Hand from us? Let’s dig in…
Pastor Sandy Adams has an intro to this chapter…
In both Mesopotamia and in Egypt, Abraham and his descendants, lived in a land that was fed by great rivers – the Nile in Egypt and the Euphrates in the East. But when God brought the Hebrews into the land He’d promised them, He knew they would have to rely on Him for water. Canaan relied on rains – both the former and latter rains – or the spring and fall rains. When the people obeyed God, He sent rain. When they disobeyed, God closed up the heavens. The Lord used drought conditions to get His people’s attention, and humble them, and bring them back to Himself. I read somewhere that the Bible speaks of thirteen famines and all were the result of God’s judgment. The drought spoken of here is no exception.Sandy Adams
Jeremiah 14 – Judah’s Terrible Drought
This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord, explaining why he was holding back the rain:
2 “Judah wilts;
commerce at the city gates grinds to a halt.
All the people sit on the ground in mourning,
and a great cry rises from Jerusalem.
3 The nobles send servants to get water,
but all the wells are dry.
The servants return with empty pitchers,
confused and desperate,
covering their heads in grief.
4 The ground is parched
and cracked for lack of rain.
The farmers are deeply troubled;
they, too, cover their heads.
5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn
because there is no grass in the field.
6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills
panting like thirsty jackals.
They strain their eyes looking for grass,
but there is none to be found.”
7 The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, Lord,
but help us for the sake of your own reputation.
We have turned away from you
and sinned against you again and again.
8 O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble,
why are you like a stranger to us?
Why are you like a traveler passing through the land,
stopping only for the night?
9 Are you also confused?
Is our champion helpless to save us?
You are right here among us, Lord.
We are known as your people.
Please don’t abandon us now!”
10 So this is what the Lord says to his people:
“You love to wander far from me
and do not restrain yourselves.
Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people.
Now I will remember all your wickedness
and will punish you for your sins.”
The Lord Forbids Jeremiah to Intercede
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore. 12 When they fast, I will pay no attention. When they present their burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. Instead, I will devour them with war, famine, and disease.”
13 Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The Lord will surely send you peace.’”
14 Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! 16 As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them. 17 Now, Jeremiah, say this to them:
“Night and day my eyes overflow with tears.
I cannot stop weeping,
for my virgin daughter—my precious people—
has been struck down
and lies mortally wounded.
18 If I go out into the fields,
I see the bodies of people slaughtered by the enemy.
If I walk the city streets,
I see people who have died of starvation.
The prophets and priests continue with their work,
but they don’t know what they’re doing.”
A Prayer for Healing
19 Lord, have you completely rejected Judah?
Do you really hate Jerusalem (Zion)?
Why have you wounded us past all hope of healing?
We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.
20 Lord, we confess our wickedness
and that of our ancestors, too.
We all have sinned against you.
21 For the sake of your reputation, Lord, do not abandon us.
Do not disgrace your own glorious throne.
Please remember us,
and do not break your covenant with us.
22 Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain?Jeremiah 14 NLT
Does it fall from the sky by itself?
No, you are the one, O Lord our God!
Only you can do such things.
So we will wait for you to help us.
Rely on God Only
In 2 Chronicles, there’s a passage that’s been quoted a lot recently…
13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.2 Chronicles 7:13-14 NLT
- We MUST trust God ONLY in every step of life: work, business, family, community, everything. You will never be disappointed!
- For the 3rd time, God tells Jeremiah not to bother praying for the people. They are too far gone!
- If you have sinned — and we ALL have — we must REPENT. Each of us needs to get right with God. No one can repent for someone else. We can’t be sorry for the sins of the rest of the people in our country. Each person is on their own. It’s between them and God. Sure, we can intercede for anyone, through Jesus — and JESUS ONLY!
- It’s still not too late for us today! After the Rapture, there the people left behind will have a chance to repent and follow Jesus. However, after the Great Tribulation, that’s it. No more chances! Also, once you die, there are no 2nd chances! There is no such thing as purgatory! It’s either Heaven or hell and you must make the choice before you die and while you’re still coherent.
- You do not need fake gods, or useless, man-made idols to help you. Cry to Jesus! He is the Living God and He hears the honest, sincere and fervent prayers of those who belong to Him. (Are YOU a Child of God?)
- The Hebrews were in a “backsliden” state. Too far gone. God warned them over and over and over again. Yet, they did not listen. They kept sinning with the worthless, pagan gods.
- Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet”. Billy Graham once said…
“Tears shed for self are tears of weakness, but tears shed for others are a sign of strength.”Billy Graham
There is still HOPE!
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”John 14:12-14 NLT
Jeremiah 15 – Judah’s Inevitable Doom
Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight! 2 And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘Those who are destined for death, to death;
those who are destined for war, to war;
those who are destined for famine, to famine;
those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’
3 “I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the Lord. “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left. 4 Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
5 “Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem?
Who will weep for you?
Who will even bother to ask how you are?
6 You have abandoned me
and turned your back on me,”
says the Lord.
“Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you.
I am tired of always giving you another chance.
7 I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities
and take away the children you hold dear.
I will destroy my own people,
because they refuse to change their evil ways.
8 There will be more widows
than the grains of sand on the seashore.
At noontime I will bring a destroyer
against the mothers of young men.
I will cause anguish and terror
to come upon them suddenly.
9 The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath;
her sun has gone down while it is still day.
She sits childless now,
disgraced and humiliated.
And I will hand over those who are left
to be killed by the enemy.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
10 Then I said,
“What sorrow is mine, my mother.
Oh, that I had died at birth!
I am hated everywhere I go.
I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose
nor a borrower who refuses to pay—
yet they all curse me.”
11 The Lord replied,
“I will take care of you, Jeremiah.
Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf
in times of trouble and distress.
12 Can a man break a bar of iron from the north,
or a bar of bronze?
13 At no cost to them,
I will hand over your wealth and treasures
as plunder to your enemies,
for sin runs rampant in your land.
14 I will tell your enemies to take you
as captives to a foreign land.
For my anger blazes like a fire
that will burn forever.”
15 Then I said,
“Lord, you know what’s happening to me.
Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors!
Please give me time; don’t let me die young.
It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
16 When I discovered your words, I devoured them.
They are my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
17 I never joined the people in their merry feasts.
I sat alone because your hand was on me.
I was filled with indignation at their sins.
18 Why then does my suffering continue?
Why is my wound so incurable?
Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook,
like a spring that has gone dry.”
19 This is how the Lord responds:
“If you return to me, I will restore youJeremiah 15 NLT
so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
do not let them influence you!
20 They will fight against you like an attacking army,
but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.
They will not conquer you,
for I am with you to protect and rescue you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
21 Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men.
I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”
Judah Was Too Far Gone
Moses and Samuel were powerful intercessors. Here, God says that even if they came back and pleaded for Judah, He would still sentence them to exile. We read in Psalm 99…
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests;Psalm 99:6 NLT
Samuel also called on his name.
They cried to the Lord for help,
and he answered them.
Though there was still no hope for Judah, there is still hope for us!
God was sending 4 “destroyers”…
- the sword to kill
- the dogs to drag away
- the vultures to devour
- and the wild animals to finish up what is left
- Manassah was the worst of the kings of Judah. You can read about him here.
- God told Judah that they’ve gone backward. Have YOU gone backward?
- Jeremiah devoured the Word of God like it was the only nourishment there was. It IS the ONLY nourishment for our thirsty and hungry souls.
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
From the moment that scroll was found Jeremiah read it, studied it, devoured it. He digested every word. He chewed on it, and mulled it over, and devoured it. The Bible became his bread. God’s truth fed his soul. The Scriptures created in Jeremiah “a joy and rejoicing.” It’s been said, “When a hungry spirit feeds on holy Scripture a sweetness fills the soul.”
When you read your Bible you see across time into eternity. You eavesdrop in on the thoughts of God. Your attention is snatched from things on earth and focused on things in heaven. When a hungry heart reads the Bible, God’s presence rises from the sacred page.
Yet, Jeremiah not only read God’s Word, he put it into practice. He followed its precepts, even though it alienated him from others, and made his way more difficult.Sandy Adams
Jeremiah was called to preach a hard message. It required boldness, strength and a soul and spirit deeply rooted in Faith and in the Word. Today, we’d call that “on fire for Christ”. Unfortunately, many self-proclaimed “Christian” preachers, as well as Catholic priests don’t preach the Word of God.
The message clearly is to READ THE BIBLE! Rely on God ONLY!
Jesus is the only one who SAVES!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.