Jeremiah 16-17: Trust in God and Be Like a Sturdy Tree on the Riverbank

Jeremiah had one of the toughest jobs of all the Old Testament prophets. He oversaw God’s judgment on Judah and Jerusalem. God warned the people over and over again to turn away from worthless idols and false gods and trust in Him and Him ONLY. But, no, the people went their own way and they suffered the consequences. Israel, a nation born out of bondage in Egypt was sent to bondage in another foreign land — Babylon. Let’s dig in…

Jeremiah 16

The Lord gave me another message. He said, “Do not get married or have children in this place. For this is what the Lord says about the children born here in this city and about their mothers and fathers: They will die from terrible diseases. No one will mourn for them or bury them, and they will lie scattered on the ground like manure. They will die from war and famine, and their bodies will be food for the vultures and wild animals.”

Judah’s Coming Punishment

This is what the Lord says: “Do not go to funerals to mourn and show sympathy for these people, for I have removed my protection and peace from them. I have taken away my unfailing love and my mercy. Both the great and the lowly will die in this land. No one will bury them or mourn for them. Their friends will not cut themselves in sorrow or shave their heads in sadness. No one will offer a meal to comfort those who mourn for the dead—not even at the death of a mother or father. No one will send a cup of wine to console them.

“And do not go to their feasts and parties. Do not eat and drink with them at all. For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: In your own lifetime, before your very eyes, I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in this land. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard.

10 “When you tell the people all these things, they will ask, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such terrible things against us? What have we done to deserve such treatment? What is our sin against the Lord our God?’

11 “Then you will give them the Lord’s reply: ‘It is because your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me and did not obey my word. 12 And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land and send you into a foreign land where you and your ancestors have never been. There you can worship idols day and night—and I will grant you no favors!’

Hope despite the Disaster

14 “But the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ 15 Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors.

16 “But now I am sending for many fishermen who will catch them,” says the Lord. “I am sending for hunters who will hunt them down in the mountains, hills, and caves. 17 I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 18 I will double their punishment for all their sins, because they have defiled my land with lifeless images of their detestable gods and have filled my territory with their evil deeds.”

Jeremiah’s Prayer of Confidence

19 Lord, you are my strength and fortress,
    my refuge in the day of trouble!
Nations from around the world
    will come to you and say,
“Our ancestors left us a foolish heritage,
    for they worshiped worthless idols.
20 Can people make their own gods?
    These are not real gods at all!”

21 The Lord says,
“Now I will show them my power;
    now I will show them my might.
At last they will know and understand
    that I am the Lord.

Jeremiah 16 NLT

Can people make their own gods?

"Can people make their own gods? These are not real gods at all!” Jeremiah 16:20 Many, man-made statues of Mary.
Many, man-made statues of Mary.

Yes, they can and they do. All the time. The problem is that they don’t see it that way. Yet, they are sinning every time they light a candle, bow to it, bring it flowers, rub the ceramic foot for good luck, or drop a coin in the box in front of the statue. It’s a man-made thing. It has no power. It cannot help you! Turn away from such things!

The Coming Judgment

God tells Jeremiah not to marry. What Judah and Jerusalem ended up becoming was not a place to raise a family. This is different than taking a vow of celibacy, which no healthy human being can do without a genuine, surrendered heart to God. God is sparing Jeremiah the pain of losing his family.

Additionally, God tells Jeremiah to not mourn or feel sorry for these people. They made their beds, now they have to lie in them. They chose to sin even though they knew better.

Going on…

Jeremiah 17 – Judah’s Sin and Punishment

“The sin of Judah
    is inscribed with an iron chisel—
engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts
    and on the corners of their altars.
Even their children go to worship
    at their pagan altars and Asherah poles,
beneath every green tree
    and on every high hill.
So I will hand over my holy mountain—
    along with all your wealth and treasures
    and your pagan shrines—
as plunder to your enemies,
    for sin runs rampant in your land.
The wonderful possession I have reserved for you
    will slip from your hands.
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.”

Wisdom from the Lord

This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,
    who rely on human strength
    and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,
    with no hope for the future.
They will live in the barren wilderness,
    in an uninhabited salty land.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
    and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
    with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
    or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
    and they never stop producing fruit.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,
    and desperately wicked.
    Who really knows how bad it is?
10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts
    and examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards,
    according to what their actions deserve.”

Jeremiah’s Trust in the Lord

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid,
    so are those who get their wealth by unjust means.
At midlife they will lose their riches;
    in the end, they will become poor old fools.
12 But we worship at your throne—
    eternal, high, and glorious!
13 O Lord, the hope of Israel,
    all who turn away from you will be disgraced.
They will be buried in the dust of the earth,
    for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.

14 O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;
    if you save me, I will be truly saved.
    My praises are for you alone!
15 People scoff at me and say,
“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?
    Why don’t your predictions come true?”

16 Lord, I have not abandoned my job
    as a shepherd for your people.
I have not urged you to send disaster.
    You have heard everything I’ve said.
17 Lord, don’t terrorize me!
    You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.
18 Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,
    but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.
Bring a day of terror on them.
    Yes, bring double destruction upon them!

Observing the Sabbath

19 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates. 20 Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. 21 This is what the Lord says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 23 but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline.

24 “‘But if you obey me, says the Lord, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 25 then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. 26 And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord’s Temple.

27 “‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”

Jeremiah 17 NLT

Getting What They Deserve

Imagine getting a very special gift. Like a teenager getting his or her first car. It’s not just any car. It’s a really nice sports car. The first weekend, the teen gets a ticket for speeding. Dad gives him or her a stern warning, but he or she gets to keep the car. A while later, it’s an arrest for drunk driving. The teen didn’t heed dad’s warning. Dad had no choice, but to take away the keys.

That’s what’s happening to Judah and Jerusalem. Over and over again they were warned. Nevertheless, they did not turn away from the paganism. Hence, God is taking them away from the Promised Land.

Their sin was inscribed in their hard hearts.

Right now, sin is inscribed in the hard hearts of the majority of people in this world. Yes, even many of those who profess to be “Christian” or “religious” or even “spiritual”. You can’t hide ANY sin from God. Sin runs rampant in the world today, just like it did back then. Judgment Day is coming for the Whole World.

People stopped listening to God and only listened to men — false teachers. If we rely on our own strength and knowledge, we will not be blessed by God. We cannot rely on humans. We must trust ONLY in God.

Ask God to search your heart to see if there’s anything that offends Him. Pray this…

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24

Sin is engraved in our hearts and nature. A whitewashing will not be enough. To receive a NEW HEART, you must be BORN AGAIN. With Salvation, we are not repaired, but made NEW. Is YOUR name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

Listen to the very first Psalm…

Psalm 1

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!
    They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
    Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
    but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Psalm 1 NLT
Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff.
Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff. Image by Good News Productions International from
(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

John the Baptist told us both in Matthew and in Luke, that Jesus “…is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

“Never-ending fire” — that’s hell, friend.

What about the Sabbath?

Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

Keeping the Sabbath was a reminder to the Jews of God’s creation and covenant. The Sabbath originated at creation (God worked six days and rested on the seventh.) And the Sabbath was codified in the covenant, or in the Law given to Moses. Thus, in the OT keeping the Sabbath was acknowledging God as your Creator and Redeemer. It was an integral part of pledging your allegiance to Him…

God says obey me, and I’ll establish My kingdom forever….

Notice, the beautiful terminology, “sacrifices of praise.” This is what God desires today. Now that Jesus, the true Lamb of God, has been offered up for the sins of the world, God no longer desires animal sacrifices, but “sacrifices of praise.” God loves it when we sing of His greatness and shout of our gratitude. Hebrews 13:15 commands us, “Let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”

Sandy Adams

Jesus sits in his mighty throne in Heaven. If you are born again, your citizenship is with Jesus in Heaven. We’re just passing through earth. A faithful, servant of Jesus Christ trusts in Him completely. With each passing day, we get closer and closer to our heavenly home.

Note this… Anywhere you go AWAY FROM God is downhill. The further away you go, the harder it will be to come back. Thankfully, it’s not to late — YET. When you die, if you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal savior — knowing HIM in your heart — you are going to hell. Even if you think you’re too far gone, Jesus can still save you. No heart is too hard for Jesus!

If the Rapture happens before you die, you will be left behind if you are not a born-again believer. Period. Believe me, you don’t want to get left behind to face the Great Tribulation. You will have a second chance to submit to God, but you’re stuck here until His second coming. Figure at least another 7 or more years of watching the world’s judgment happening around you. Don’t believe me? Check out the Book of Revelation! Jesus was nice enough to give us coming attractions!

It’s Your Choice! And it’s a choice you’d better make now before your die and while you’re still coherent.

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.
  • 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 Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Left Behind After the Rapture Series

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