Famine, Sword, and Pestilence
14 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:
and her gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
Her nobles send their servants for water;
they come to the cisterns;
they find no water;
they return with their vessels empty;
they are ashamed and confounded
and cover their heads.
Because of the ground that is dismayed,
since there is no rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
because there is no vegetation.
“Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O LORD, for your name’s sake;
for our backslidings are many;
we have sinned against you.
O you hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
Why should you be like a man confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot save?
Yet you, O LORD, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not leave us.”
Thus says the LORD concerning this people:
“They have loved to wander thus;
they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the LORD does not accept them;
now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.”
The LORD said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.”
Then I said: “Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’” And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although I did not send them, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not come upon this land’: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, with none to bury them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.
“You shall say to them this word:
‘Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,
and let them not cease,
for the virgin daughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,
with a very grievous blow.
If I go out into the field,
behold, those pierced by the sword!
And if I enter the city,
behold, the diseases of famine!
For both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land
and have no knowledge.’”
Have you utterly rejected Judah?
Does your soul loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us?
We looked for peace, but no good came;
for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
We acknowledge our wickedness, O LORD,
and the iniquity of our fathers,
for we have sinned against you.
Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.
Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O LORD our God?
We set our hope on you,
for you do all these things.
Jeremiah 14 Commentary
by Hank Workman
In ancient times drought was often equated with judgment. People believed if the rain did not come, the land did not flourish it was God’s way of withholding Himself. And many times at least from Scripture that is the case and it is for certain what is happening here.
The people had been living in their own mindset and rebellion and when the drought came, their backs against the walls they cried out for rain. He refused. Such a picture of the human side today of matters, that people only want and cry out to God when they have need.
Person after person chooses to live their lives the way they want to. They pursue their own goals and own ways and live outside of any form of relationship with Jesus except by word. So, when tough times come along, or results of our own doing based on choices – that seems to be the only time a person will turn to Him. I’ve witnessed this time and again of people who are passe with their spiritual relationship and when some major situation hits – man, they are reading the Word, praying like never before. All good things but the human heart is revealed that when that situation resolves itself, they are back to how they used to be. God is relegated to the sidelines once again.
God uses spiritual droughts in our lives to get our attention. As with the people of Israel they’ve back-slidden. They only want Him to solve their current issue. They have no intention of changing their ways. If you are going through a spiritual drought of sorts and a circumstance has found God to be silent – maybe it’s time to really buckle down and look at yourself and your personal relationship with Jesus. He doesn’t want you in the hard times, He wants you in all times.
Jeremiah 14 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
So the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the welfare of this people.”Jeremiah 14:11 NASB
Don’t pray for these people. What???
If you read the blog a few weeks ago you know that this is not the only time in Jeremiah where God commands him not the pray for the people. It seems crazy, doesn’t it? However, this is not contrary to the character of God. Has God ever told you to step back and be silent? God knew his prayers would do nothing in the situation as their hearts were bent toward their own self-serving behavior. God was plainly telling Jeremiah to step back and let it happen. This is so tough!
It would be heartache that would bring the people of Judah to repentance. It would be through trials and hard times that they would remember the God of their nation. Many of us have experienced this personally as we go through seasons where the passion and zeal for the Lord is on fire, but also experience times of waiting, wondering and struggling. Sometimes the best lessons from God are experienced in silence.
Burdens can be draining and when the Spirit is bolstering us to continue in intercession toward others, He will empower us through it. However, when they are not receptive, that energy can be directed other places where He’s called us. I think we can become so caught up in pursuing burdens where He’s said to be silent that we miss other opportunities where He’s working and asking us to join Him there. Let me be clear – I don’t think that anyone is beyond our prayers. However, it really depends on how the Lord is speaking to you through His Word (here in Jeremiah) as well as personally through His Holy Spirit. The fact that we read this at least twice in Jeremiah shows that the Lord can and will draw us away at times.
Are there areas in your life where He’s asking you to be silent and begin placing your focus elsewhere?