In a burst of faith and prophetic joy, Jeremiah saw not only the gathering of the Jewish remnant but also the coming of the Gentile nations from the ends of the earth to worship the true and living God of Israel. Isaiah had this same vision (Isaiah 2:1–5; 11:10–16; 45:14), and so did Zechariah (Zech. 8:20–23). The Gentiles will confess their sin of idolatry and admit that the idols were worthless. Then they will be taught to know the Lord.
Meanwhile, the church’s task today is to spread the message of the Gospel to the ends of the earth so that sinners might abandon their false gods, whatever they may be, and trust in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
What or who are the false gods that keep us distracted from really knowing God—I AM? There are many gods that keep us moving away from God. Time and thought spent amassing wealth, time spent alone to forget about the pressures we put on ourselves, time to achieve to please others, and other time factors to name a few that have become gods to us.
Our time is guarded and has become even more important than our money. We would rather give money than take someone to eat a meal. We want the brightest, newest, most powerful gadget so we can feel important. We want the illusion of a lot of friends but with little time spent with our best friend, Jesus who will lead us away from all the gods this world offers to a deeper, more challenging life with Him.
Are we close to the attitudes and lifestyles of the people Jeremiah is warning? Are we becoming like the “crowd” of apathetics and idol worshipers to whom Jeremiah is speaking, telling them God’s prophetic message of the outcome of living life this way with how it will affect generations to come?
Jeremiah 16, The Message
Can Mortals Manufacture Gods?
16 God’s Message to me:
2-4 “Jeremiah, don’t get married. Don’t raise a family here. I have signed the death warrant on all the children born in this country, the mothers who bear them and the fathers who beget them—an epidemic of death. Death unlamented, the dead unburied, dead bodies decomposing and stinking like dung, all the killed and starved corpses served up as meals for carrion crows and mongrel dogs!”
5-7 God continued: “Don’t enter a house where there’s mourning. Don’t go to the funeral. Don’t sympathize. I’ve quit caring about what happens to this people.” God’s Decree. “No more loyal love on my part, no more compassion. The famous and obscure will die alike here, unlamented and unburied. No funerals will be conducted, no one will give them a second thought, no one will care, no one will say, ‘I’m sorry,’ no one will so much as offer a cup of tea, not even for the mother or father.
8 “And if there happens to be a feast celebrated, don’t go there either to enjoy the festivities.”
9 God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says, “Watch this! I’m about to banish smiles and laughter from this place. No more brides and bridegrooms celebrating. And I’m doing it in your lifetime, before your very eyes.
10-13 “When you tell this to the people and they ask, ‘Why is God talking this way, threatening us with all these calamities? We’re not criminals, after all. What have we done to our God to be treated like this?’ tell them this: ‘It’s because your ancestors left me, walked off and never looked back. They took up with the no-gods, worshiped and doted on them, and ignored me and wouldn’t do a thing I told them. And you’re even worse! Take a good look in the mirror—each of you doing whatever you want, whenever you want, refusing to pay attention to me. And for this I’m getting rid of you, throwing you out in the cold, into a far and strange country. You can worship your precious no-gods there to your heart’s content. Rest assured, I won’t bother you anymore.’
* * *
14-15 “On the other hand, don’t miss this: The time is coming when no one will say any longer, ‘As sure as God lives, the God who delivered Israel from Egypt.’ What they’ll say is, ‘As sure as God lives, the God who brought Israel back from the land of the north, brought them back from all the places where he’d scattered them.’ That’s right, I’m going to bring them back to the land I first gave to their ancestors.
* * *
16-17 “Now, watch for what comes next: I’m going to assemble a bunch of fishermen.” God’s Decree! “They’ll go fishing for my people and pull them in for judgment. Then I’ll send out a party of hunters, and they’ll hunt them out in all the mountains, hills, and caves. I’m watching their every move. I haven’t lost track of a single one of them, neither them nor their sins.
18 “They won’t get by with a thing. They’ll pay double for everything they did wrong. They’ve made a complete mess of things, littering their lives with their obscene no-gods, leaving piles of stinking god-junk all over the place.”
19-20 God, my strength, my stronghold,
my safe retreat when trouble descends:
The godless nations will come
from earth’s four corners, saying,
“Our ancestors lived on lies,
useless illusions, all smoke.”
Can mortals manufacture gods?
Their factories turn out no-gods!
21 “Watch closely now. I’m going to teach these wrongheaded people.
Starting right now, I’m going to teach them
Who I am and what I do,
teach them the meaning of my name, God—‘I Am.’”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
- It breaks the heart of God to see us turn our backs on His love, mercy, grace along with abundant living with blessing upon blessing from Him.
- He is God—I AM. We are not. There is no one like our God.
- Believe Jesus redeemed us, repent of sins, be saved forever. Love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls. Love each other the way He loves us. Anything less is self-seeking idol worship. Find and follow Jesus.
I’m sorry for the distractions I fall for in seeking to please others and myself instead of you. Forgive me my sins as I forgive those who sin against me. Deliver us from the enemy along with his sly, evil ways meant to draw us away from you, bring us down, and count us out. Help us to overcome and be overcomers with you as we live this life on earth.
In Jesus Name, Amen
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace