I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
This is our God. We are too sinful to have a relationship with Him, so He provides salvation for us. We are of little faith, so He provides the faith for us to believe and to receive that salvation. Our hearts are hard and wicked beyond measure, so he removes our heart of stone and gives us a new heart with which we can know Him and then desire Him with all of our new heart.
They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully for what has straw to do with grain””, declares the LORD
Those of us who belong to God through the blood of His Son will not forget His Name or the truth of His Word. That is why it is important to read and to study the Word of God. When others try to share with us what they THINK is the truth, we will know if it does not match the truth of the Word of God. If given the opportunity, We can share what is true, and correct what is false.
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.
This is a recurring theme throughout Scripture: God’s heart for the poor and needy. Here, He says that defending the cause of the poor and needy is what it means to know Him. That is a powerful statement. Aligning with God in the case of the poor and needy is to understand the heart of God, Who knowing mankind was lost in sin, poor in spirit, in need of love and mercy , with the greatest of all kindness sent His son to rescue us. As God shows us those in need and gives us the means to meet that need, we draw from the compassionate heart of God, and reach out to help.
I myself will fight against you with an outstretched hand and a mighty arm in anger and fury and great wrath.
This is a terrible judgment. The Lord Himself will fight against them. In the past, the Lord Himself has been Israel’s protector and guardian. Now, He has pledged to be their destroyer, yet even in this pledge we catch a glimpse of the unearned grace, the abundant mercy of God. vs. 8 and 9 Furthermore, tell the people, “This is what the LORD says; See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life.
This chapter reminds me of some of the Psalms of David. Jeremiah vacillates between deep despair and praise to God. He is suffering for doing what God commands him to do. He is desperate, depressed and overwhelmed. But look at verses 11, ad 13b But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fall and be thoroughly disgraced, their dishonor will never be forgotten. vs. 13b He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. This is where we need to rest. In the struggle, in the desperation, we cry out to God for help in finding this place of rest: “The LORD is a Mighty Warrior. He rescues…”
This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.
This is the message of Chapter 19: stubbornness toward God leads to disaster.
See also Proverbs 29:1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes, will suddenly be destroyed without remedy.
Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does”? declares the LORD “Like clay in the hand of the potter so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
What is the message God gave to Jeremiah? First it is about God’s sovereignty over Israel, and all nations, like the potter’s sovereignty over the clay. Second, it is about the disaster God has planned for Israel if she does not repent. The Bible says there are some who will never change their hearts. I don’t want to be like that. If God shows us sin in our lives, purpose now to repent and embrace God’s love and forgiveness. Be prepared to choose that which leads to blessings.
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does no fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
As I read this, my mind went back to Psalm 1. vs 1-3 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
In each of these sections of Scripture we read “blessed is the man”. The first is blessed because he trusts His confidence is solely in God. The second one delights in the law of the Lord, meditating on it, finding sustenance for every day living. In each case, they are blessed (AMP version reads “happy, fortunate, prosperous and enviable”) Do we want a happy, prosperous, resourceful life? Put trust and confidence in God alone no matter what the circumstances of your life and hold His Word close no matter what the circumstances of your life.
Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.
Not only is he asking that they pray for the spread of the gospel quickly, but also, that the Gospel would be honored and not rejected. When I have been involved in prayer for various evangelistic crusades – Billy Graham, Luis Palau, Bob Cryder – I prayed for the Gospel to go out with power, and for many to be saved. This verse calls us to pray that the Gospel will be honored as well.
Just out of curiosity, I looked up the Greek for the word “honored” It is DOXAZO – the honor resulting from a good opinion.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
I often think of God giving us eternal life, but here, Paul reminds us that God has given us eternal encouragement and good hope. So, if we are feeling discouraged or discontented, we should not stay in that state of mind, but instead, look to God for His promised encouragement. The pages of Scripture are full of messages to us that include encouragement and good hope.