The Sin of Judah
17 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”
Thus says the LORD:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
“I the LORD search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch,
so is he who gets riches but not by justice;
in the midst of his days they will leave him,
and at his end he will be a fool.
A glorious throne set on high from the beginning
is the place of our sanctuary.
O LORD, the hope of Israel,
all who forsake you shall be put to shame;
those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth,
for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water.
Jeremiah Prays for Deliverance
Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
save me, and I shall be saved,
for you are my praise.
Behold, they say to me,
“Where is the word of the LORD?
Let it come!”
I have not run away from being your shepherd,
nor have I desired the day of sickness.
You know what came out of my lips;
it was before your face.
Be not a terror to me;
you are my refuge in the day of disaster.
Let those be put to shame who persecute me,
but let me not be put to shame;
let them be dismayed,
but let me not be dismayed;
bring upon them the day of disaster;
destroy them with double destruction!
Keep the Sabbath Holy
Thus said the LORD to me: “Go and stand in the People’s Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, and say: ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. Thus says the LORD: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. Yet they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck, that they might not hear and receive instruction.
“‘But if you listen to me, declares the LORD, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited forever. And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephelah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the LORD. But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.’”
Jeremiah 17 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Sometimes our trust seemingly rests on the government and its leaders. This has been going on since the beginning of such structures. Throughout the ages, people have looked to kings, presidents, pharaohs, Caesars, czars, and the like to be who would come in and solve their problems. We believe campaign promises. We take and live in the reality that these will do good for us. We perceive they have all the answers. We put our trust in someone elected.
But there’s a problem here with this thought. We have put our trust in man rather than God. We have put all our stock in someone rather than trusting God in the precarious times we live. This is nothing new. For centuries Judah had been placing all their hope in false gods, leadership, and military alliances. They thought this was the answer.
Sadly, it produced nothing but fruitlessness and turmoil. More on point, their lack of trusting God had done severe damage to their own relationship with Him. God makes quite a comparison between 2 such people in verses 5-8. When we depend upon our own wisdom or the wisdom of another; when we look toward our own strength and the strength of some leader – we become like that of a barren wasteland. It’s quite a picture.
By comparison, God speaks to those who trust in Him. As we dig our roots deeper into Him, there is confidence and trust that no matter what is going on around God has got this. He’s in control. I think we forget that all too often or at least don’t live like this. He compares those who trust as a tree with leaves and shade and beauty, bearing fruit even in a precarious climate.
The reminder is that in whatever scene of life this is taking place if our trust is in another we ourselves become spiritually weak and dry. There is no strength to draw on because we’ve put our hope in another rather than Him. Obviously, this doesn’t just deal with leadership but with our own outlook and relationship with God. When we are trusting in anything other than Him to help and strengthen and guide we will be fruitless and without hope.
And all of these actions begin within our hearts.
Jeremiah 17 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Does the Bible encourage us to “follow our heart?”
What we find in chapter 17 of Jeremiah is such a sharp contrast between the destiny of a man who follows his heart and the destiny of a man who follows God’s heart. Some would ask, “What’s the difference?” The whole reason obedience is required from a believer is because God is trustworthy. To disobey with our lives is to call into question His sovereignty and plan. The analogy in verse 8 reminds us of what it will be like for those who trust in the Lord…
He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit.Jeremiah 17:8 GNB
The very next verse, Jeremiah 17:9, brings light to the foolishness of the attitude opposite of what we see in verse 8.
“Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed.Jeremiah 17:9 GNB
The heart controls the character, attitude, will, and destiny of a person. It is easy to see how it can lead someone astray. God reminds us that the pursuit of personal gain will never be worth it in the end. It looks great on the outside, and we might even enjoy it for a time, but eventually, they will “prove to be fools.” Those who assume that our hearts are “naturally good” only further deceive themselves from the rescuing power of Jesus Christ. It’s not until we become completely fed up with our life of selfish behavior that we will recognize the sickness of our own heart. But all is not lost.
The bottom line, as it was for Judah, is a question of change. Will you turn from, acknowledge, and repent of your sin to join Him in His glory? …or will you follow your own ways to destruction?