God is angry. There’s no doubt about it! Like any parent, God gets angry when we disobey. If you’re good, you get rewarded. If not, you get punished. That’s a loving parent. Any parent who doesn’t correct and discipline a naughty child is bad parent. God loves us and He’d rather not see us mess up. He’d rather see us obey the 10 Commandments that Jesus so conveniently put into 2 great ones. Furthermore, Peter told us that God hasn’t judged the world yet because He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He’s giving us a chance to repent before the Judgement Day. The question is — are YOU right with God? Let’s dig in…
Jeremiah 24 – Good Figs and Bad Figs
After King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon exiled Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, to Babylon along with the officials of Judah and all the craftsmen and artisans, the Lord gave me this vision. I saw two baskets of figs placed in front of the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. 2 One basket was filled with fresh, ripe figs, while the other was filled with bad figs that were too rotten to eat.
3 Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
I replied, “Figs, some very good and some very bad, too rotten to eat.”
4 Then the Lord gave me this message: 5 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: The good figs represent the exiles I sent from Judah to the land of the Babylonians. 6 I will watch over and care for them, and I will bring them back here again. I will build them up and not tear them down. I will plant them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them hearts that recognize me as the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me wholeheartedly.
8 “But the bad figs,” the Lord said, “represent King Zedekiah of Judah, his officials, all the people left in Jerusalem, and those who live in Egypt. I will treat them like bad figs, too rotten to eat. 9 I will make them an object of horror and a symbol of evil to every nation on earth. They will be disgraced and mocked, taunted and cursed, wherever I scatter them. 10 And I will send war, famine, and disease until they have vanished from the land of Israel, which I gave to them and their ancestors.”Jeremiah 24 NLT
- God divided the Jews into 2 groups — good and bad. You’re in one or the other. This applies to us today.
- The good folks listened to God and submitted to the Babylonians and went with them to exile.
- They will be regathered, regenerated and re-established at some point. God will “give them hearts that recognize Him as the Lord.” They will return to Him wholeheartedly. That’s a keyword here.
- Daniel and his friends as well as Ezekiel were good figs. (We’ll meet them in their respective books.)
- The bad folks were scared and fled to Egypt, when they were told not to. They disobeyed. They angered God. They didn’t follow instructions.
Jeremiah 25 – 70 Years of Captivity (Exile)
This message for all the people of Judah came to Jeremiah from the Lord during the fourth year of Jehoiakim’s reign over Judah. This was the year when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon began his reign.
2 Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people in Judah and Jerusalem, 3 “For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened.
4 “Again and again the Lord has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. 5 Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever. 6 Do not provoke my anger by worshiping idols you made with your own hands. Then I will not harm you.’
7 “But you would not listen to me,” says the Lord. “You made me furious by worshiping idols you made with your own hands, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. 8 And now the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Because you have not listened to me, 9 I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy. I will bring them all against this land and its people and against the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. 10 I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your millstones will fall silent, and the lights in your homes will go out. 11 This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years.
12 “Then, after the seventy years of captivity are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and his people for their sins,” says the Lord. “I will make the country of the Babylonians a wasteland forever. 13 I will bring upon them all the terrors I have promised in this book—all the penalties announced by Jeremiah against the nations. 14 Many nations and great kings will enslave the Babylonians, just as they enslaved my people. I will punish them in proportion to the suffering they cause my people.”
The Cup of the Lord’s Anger
15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled to the brim with my anger, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink from it. 16 When they drink from it, they will stagger, crazed by the warfare I will send against them.”
17 So I took the cup of anger from the Lord and made all the nations drink from it—every nation to which the Lord sent me. 18 I went to Jerusalem and the other towns of Judah, and their kings and officials drank from the cup. From that day until this, they have been a desolate ruin, an object of horror, contempt, and cursing. 19 I gave the cup to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, his attendants, his officials, and all his people, 20 along with all the foreigners living in that land. I also gave it to all the kings of the land of Uz and the kings of the Philistine cities of Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and what remains of Ashdod. 21 Then I gave the cup to the nations of Edom, Moab, and Ammon, 22 and the kings of Tyre and Sidon, and the kings of the regions across the sea. 23 I gave it to Dedan, Tema, and Buz, and to the people who live in distant places. 24 I gave it to the kings of Arabia, the kings of the nomadic tribes of the desert, 25 and to the kings of Zimri, Elam, and Media. 26 And I gave it to the kings of the northern countries, far and near, one after the other—all the kingdoms of the world. And finally, the king of Babylon himself drank from the cup of the Lord’s anger.
27 Then the Lord said to me, “Now tell them, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Drink from this cup of my anger. Get drunk and vomit; fall to rise no more, for I am sending terrible wars against you.’ 28 And if they refuse to accept the cup, tell them, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: You have no choice but to drink from it. 29 I have begun to punish Jerusalem, the city that bears my name. Now should I let you go unpunished? No, you will not escape disaster. I will call for war against all the nations of the earth. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!’
30 “Now prophesy all these things, and say to them,
“‘The Lord will roar against his own land
from his holy dwelling in heaven.
He will shout like those who tread grapes;
he will shout against everyone on earth.
31 His cry of judgment will reach the ends of the earth,
for the Lord will bring his case against all the nations.
He will judge all the people of the earth,
slaughtering the wicked with the sword.
I, the Lord, have spoken!’”
32 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Look! Disaster will fall upon nation after nation!
A great whirlwind of fury is rising
from the most distant corners of the earth!”
33 In that day those the Lord has slaughtered will fill the earth from one end to the other. No one will mourn for them or gather up their bodies to bury them. They will be scattered on the ground like manure.
34 Weep and moan, you evil shepherds!Jeremiah 25 NLT
Roll in the dust, you leaders of the flock!
The time of your slaughter has arrived;
you will fall and shatter like a fragile vase.
35 You will find no place to hide;
there will be no way to escape.
36 Listen to the frantic cries of the shepherds.
The leaders of the flock are wailing in despair,
for the Lord is ruining their pastures.
37 Peaceful meadows will be turned into a wasteland
by the Lord’s fierce anger.
38 He has left his den like a strong lion seeking its prey,
and their land will be made desolate
by the sword of the enemy
and the Lord’s fierce anger.
- This is more or less the midpoint of Jeremiah’s career as a prophet.
- Here we get the first prophecy time-frame – 70 years. That’s how long the Jews were in Babylon. That’s a long time.
- God used a Gentile, Nebuchadnezzar to inflict judgment on the rebellious Israelites. He calls him “my servant“. Originally, that was a title given to the Hebrews.
- This was the end of the Jewish kingdoms.
- This began the Time of the Gentiles — which we are still in and will be until the “fullness of the Gentiles” or God sees fit to come and rescue His believers. (See Romans 11:25-27)
- God is angry with ALL the nations.
- The Lord will Roar from on High! That’s Jesus! The Lion of Judah! This is the End Times. Everyone will hear Him Roar!
- ends of the earth
- all flesh
- all the inhabitants of the earth
- You and I are included in that list! That doesn’t leave ANYONE out!
17 For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News?1 Peter 4:17 NLT
Continuing… however, keep in mind that this wasn’t compiled in chronological order.
Jeremiah 26 – Jeremiah’s Escape from Death
This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah. 2 “This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.
4 “Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, 5 and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them— 6 then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.’”
7 The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple. 8 But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. 9 “What right do you have to prophesy in the Lord’s name that this Temple will be destroyed like Shiloh? What do you mean, saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed and left with no inhabitants?” And all the people threatened him as he stood in front of the Temple.
10 When the officials of Judah heard what was happening, they rushed over from the palace and sat down at the New Gate of the Temple to hold court. 11 The priests and prophets presented their accusations to the officials and the people. “This man should die!” they said. “You have heard with your own ears what a traitor he is, for he has prophesied against this city.”
12 Then Jeremiah spoke to the officials and the people in his own defense. “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this Temple and this city,” he said. “The Lord gave me every word that I have spoken. 13 But if you stop your sinning and begin to obey the Lord your God, he will change his mind about this disaster that he has announced against you. 14 As for me, I am in your hands—do with me as you think best. 15 But if you kill me, rest assured that you will be killing an innocent man! The responsibility for such a deed will lie on you, on this city, and on every person living in it. For it is absolutely true that the Lord sent me to speak every word you have heard.”
16 Then the officials and the people said to the priests and prophets, “This man does not deserve the death sentence, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”
17 Then some of the wise old men stood and spoke to all the people assembled there. 18 They said, “Remember when Micah of Moresheth prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah. He told the people of Judah,
‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field;
Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins!
A thicket will grow on the heights
where the Temple now stands.’
19 But did King Hezekiah and the people kill him for saying this? No, they turned from their sins and worshiped the Lord. They begged him for mercy. Then the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had pronounced against them. So we are about to do ourselves great harm.”
20 At this time Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath-jearim was also prophesying for the Lord. And he predicted the same terrible disaster against the city and nation as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim and the army officers and officials heard what he was saying, the king sent someone to kill him. But Uriah heard about the plan and escaped in fear to Egypt. 22 Then King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan son of Acbor to Egypt along with several other men to capture Uriah. 23 They took him prisoner and brought him back to King Jehoiakim. The king then killed Uriah with a sword and had him buried in an unmarked grave.
24 Nevertheless, Ahikam son of Shaphan stood up for Jeremiah and persuaded the court not to turn him over to the mob to be killed.Jeremiah 26 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
Note verse 2. In the NKJV, it reads, ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to them. Do not diminish a word.’
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
God reminds Jeremiah of both the content and intent of His Word and the prophet’s preaching. Here’s the what to say and the why to say. First the content! Go back to the last line of verse 2, “Do not diminish a word…” The Hebrew word translated “diminish” means “to shave, or lessen, or hold back.” God is instructing Jeremiah not to soften what he’s been given to say – don’t water it down.
Often pastors let the fear of offending end up amending what God told them to say. They add to, or leave out, or just soften up God’s Word. They shave off an edge or lessen a truth. God wants me to tell it as is. It’s been said, “Some people water down the Word of God to the point where if it were a medicine it wouldn’t heal and if it were a poison it wouldn’t harm.” We shouldn’t mess with the content, and we should remember the intent. The intention of my preaching should be for folks to repent – “turn from their evil way.”
A pastor is not in the entertainment business. Sure, I’m wise if I can be entertaining, and hold people’s attention. My first step is to get them to listen. But that’s just the means to the ends. When they listen I hope they’re convicted by God’s truth and repent. It’s only if we repent that we escape God’s judgment.Sandy Adams
Jeremiah doesn’t back down. He stands on the truth given to him by God. Jeremiah’s experience here (verse 16) is similar to what Jesus faced. Sandy Adams explains…
The politicos come to their senses before the religious leaders. The priests want to kill him, but the politicians realize they have no grounds. And isn’t this what happened at the trial of Jesus? It was Pilate and Herod that wanted to release Jesus. The politicians agreed to His crucifixion only because the priests insisted. This is just one of many similarities between Jesus and Jeremiah. They both never married or had kids. They both were “men of sorrow.” This is why when Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” They said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah…” (Matthew 16) Jesus and Jeremiah had a lot in common.Sandy Adams
Here’s a commentary from one of the Bible study plans found in the free YouVersion Bible app…
God told the prophet Jeremiah to speak to the people of Israel about their sins and warned them that if they did not repent, judgment would come upon them. The consequences of sin are pain and suffering and it was not what God wanted to see happen to His people. The warning of the prophets brought about some behavior modification but it lacked the power for life transformation.
God sent His Son to finish what the prophets could not do. Jesus came to die on the cross to break the power of sin. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation and the old sinful self was crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our life. The message of the Cross is that Jesus has died for our sins and we now have the power to stop sinning.International Christian Assembly
In conclusion, God is angry a the world — everyone who doesn’t obey. That’s the majority of the people. The question is, are you a good fig or a bad fig? Have you done ANYTHING that would make God angry? Face it. We all have. The difference is that some of us have repented, vowed wholeheartedly to stop sinning, submitted our lives to Jesus Christ our Savior, got baptized (again), and are reborn into new lives in Jesus.