Jeremiah 20:11

“But the Lord is with me like a violent warrior. Therefore, my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. Since they have not succeeded, they will be utterly shamed, an everlasting humiliation that will never be forgotten.”

Jeremiah 20:11 HCSB

To fully get this verse, it helps to know what happens at the beginning of this chapter. Jeremiah is beaten and thrown in the stocks. Though even after that treatment, he still sees the Lord as a violent warrior.

Jeremiah 19:15

““This is what the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, says: ‘I am about to bring on this city — and on all its dependent villages — all the disaster that I spoke against it, for they have become obstinate, not obeying My words.’ ””

Jeremiah 19:15 HCSB

Jeremiah, like most of the Old Testament prophets, is devoted mostly to prophesy of coming punishment. But in this verse I see hope because he is telling why the Lords wrath is coming (though we already know). The thing is, it is easy to turn back. It would have been easy for the Lord to have held back His anger, all they needed to do was repent. Sadly, they were stubborn. Sadly, I see myself in this as well.

Jeremiah 18:18, 23

“Then certain ones said, “Come, let’s make plans against Jeremiah, for instruction will never be lost from the priest, or counsel from the wise, or an oracle from the prophet. Come, let’s denounce him and pay no attention to all his words.”

But You, Lord, know all their deadly plots against me. Do not wipe out their guilt; do not blot out their sin before You. Let them be forced to stumble before You; deal with them in the time of Your anger.”

Jeremiah 18:18, 23 HCSB,23.hcsb

Jeremiah was obviously a man of God, and as such he had enemies. I find it interesting here that he is asking the Lord for vengeance. He isn’t taking action himself, but what he asks for from the Lord (which I am leaving out here), is pretty rough.

I know that I am to pray for those who oppress me and forgive them, which is what Jesus tells me to do, but I am thinking that the difference here is that these people aren’t so much going against Jeremiah as they are going against the Lord.

But at the same time, I recall reading how David asked for the Lord to bring about His vengeance on David’s enemies. Perhaps because the Lord is just, it is OK for us to ask Him for justice when we are wronged, though we still need to forgive. Perhaps forgiveness and justice are two different things?

Jeremiah 17:5-8; 20-25

“This is what the Lord says: The man who trusts in mankind, who makes human flesh his strength and turns his heart from the Lord is cursed. He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives. The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:5-8 HCSB

“Announce to them: Hear the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, all Judah, and all the residents of Jerusalem who enter through these gates. This is what the Lord says: Watch yourselves; do not pick up a load and bring it in through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. You must not carry a load out of your houses on the Sabbath day or do any work, but you must consecrate the Sabbath day, just as I commanded your ancestors. They wouldn’t listen or pay attention but became obstinate, not listening or accepting discipline. “However, if you listen to Me, says the Lord, and do not bring loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day and consecrate the Sabbath day and do no work on it, kings and princes will enter through the gates of this city. They will sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses with their officials, the men of Judah, and the residents of Jerusalem. This city will be inhabited forever.”

Jeremiah 17:20-25 HCSB

I love the first set of verses because they speak so deeply to me personally. So much of Jeremiah, to this point at least, has been surrounding Israel’s following after worthless idols. Then I read this and think – trusting in my own hands, or others is on par with chasing after idols. In fact, it is coming to me – the Lord hates idols, and He warns against the love of money, because at the end of the day He wants us to seek after Him and Him alone. He is our provider. He wants to be our provider and He desires us to trust fully in Him for EVERYTHING.

The second set of verses – regarding the Sabbath feed into this as well. Observing the Sabbath is so important because it is showing that we trust in Him entirely. Working on the Sabbath, in those days especially, is a way of saying that we need to continuously work to build our wealth when in fact we just need to trust in Him.

Jeremiah 16:21

““Therefore, I am about to inform them, and this time I will make them know My power and My might; then they will know that My name is Yahweh.””

Jeremiah 16:21 HCSB

The book of Jeremiah, at least to this point, is essentially devoted to the coming punishment of Israel for turning against the Lord. When I read this, I am reminded of why the Lord is doing this – it is about punishment, sure, but it is more about ensuring that His name is known amongst the people. Had He let them continue to pursue worthless idols, they never would have called out to Him, and they never would have known that it is the Lord who redeems and who saves.

My question to myself is this: if/when I run into troubles, do I:

a) recognize that perhaps I got there by not leaning exclusively on the Lord? And

b) call out to Him so that He can be glorified in my redemption?

Jeremiah 15:11

“The Lord said: I will certainly set you free and care for you. I will certainly intercede for you in a time of trouble, in your time of distress, with the enemy.”

Jeremiah 15:11 HCSB

I find this passage comforting, but at the same time a part of me thinks that the Lord is referring to Jeremiah after His death. The Lord is complete big picture and for Him death is not the end.

Jeremiah 14:22

“Can any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Or can the skies alone give showers? Are You not the Lord our God? We therefore put our hope in You, for You have done all these things.”

Jeremiah 14:22 HCSB

Jeremiah is speaking of the folly of following idols. I look at this and feel a conviction for our current age: we put our hope in things like science, but science can’t bring the rain. Nothing against science, or the natural laws that the Lord put into place, we have just forgotten that the Lord actually put those natural laws in place.

Jeremiah 11:10-11

“They have returned to the sins of their ancestors who refused to obey My words and have followed other gods to worship them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah broke My covenant I made with their ancestors. “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am about to bring on them disaster that they cannot escape. They will cry out to Me, but I will not hear them.”

Jeremiah 11:10-11 HCSB

I find it interesting that the people, when they are afflicted, will remember the Lord. The problem is, it is going to be too late at that point…

Jeremiah 10:24

“Discipline me, Lord, but with justice — not in Your anger, or You will reduce me to nothing.”

Jeremiah 10:24 HCSB

There is a difference between discipline for correction, and discipline out of anger. Jeremiah is asking for guidance, disciple to move him closer to the Lord and what the Lord seeks, but not for the Lord to become angry because who can stand against the Lord’s anger?