Jeremiah 22, 23, 26
The main lessons to learn in these 3 chapters above is God will judge all leaders and those in authority who lead his people if they do not warn them of their evil acts and sin and He will replace them with obedient Shepherds and leaders. I will now analyse each chapter below.
Jeremiah 22 makes a clear comparison between Joash a good King of Judah in Jeremiah 22:16 (NIV): “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord.”
God however was feed up of Kings of Judah that came after Joash like Jehoiachin’s and Jehoiakim. He was angry at their wickedness and their lack of sympathy for the poor while they amassed wealth they didn’t need for themselves. God had sent Jeremiah the prophet to them to spell out His judgment upon them and to highlight their iniquities in verses like Jeremiah 22:17 NIV:
“But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion.”
We see the consequences of these evil kings actions in
Jeremiah 22:8-9 (NIV)
“People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?’ And the answer will be: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods.’ ”
Part of their punishment from God was that they would be taken captive and go into exil in Jeremiah 22:25-26 (NIV) “I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die.”
In Jeremiah 23 God vents His anger on the false prophets and priest who led Judah and its people astray.
We can see that clearly in Jeremiah 23:1-2 (NIV)
“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord.
As they have failed in their responsibility to be God’s mouthpiece to direct and guide His people God’s plan is: “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.” Jeremiah 23:3 (NIV)
He also plans to replace both Prophets and Priest that have led his children astray as can be seen here in In Jeremiah 23:4 NIV-
” I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.”
God makes it clear that His people disobeyed Him and didn’t turn from their wicked ways because “I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.
Jeremiah 23:21-22 (NIV)
God proceeds to punish the false Priest & False Prophets by saying “Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your ancestors. I will bring on you everlasting disgrace—everlasting shame that will not be forgotten.”Jeremiah 23:39-40 (NIV)
Unfortunately the False Prophets and Priest and the King rose up against Jeremiah and decided he should be put to death because he delivered God’s judgement and condemnation for all their evil work.
This makes it obvious they were not repentant and did deserve God’s judgement in the first place.
This Psalm is about finding peace, assurance, trust and safety in remembering what God had done to rescue the Psalmist in the past. This is why in
Psalms 77:11-12 NIV he says: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
Remembering how God has delivered you in the past and how He has delivered others in the scriptures in the past brings peace and assurance that we are not alone and if He did it then, He can and will do the same now…let not your heart be troubled
Once again here God emphasise the importance of demonstrating love to the poor and needy in our actions and not just mere words or hiding behind a religious spirit that only offers to pray for them.
We also see God frowning at favouritism especially when it’s in favour of the rich because of their wealth.
God wants us to honour both the poor and rich and not to discriminate against the poor.
We must back up our spirituality with godly action because “faith without corresponding action is dead!!”