Today’s Passage – Jeremiah 14 – 17 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31
Read the “0818 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.” (Jeremiah 14:1)
“Dearth” – now that’s a word that has almost gone completely out of use. When is the last time that you heard somebody talking about a “dearth.” What does it mean? In a physical sense, it refers to a drought, similar to the one pictured above from the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s that decimated much of the Great Plains. The same Hebrew word for “dearth” (בַּצֹּרֶת – baṣṣōreṯ) is translated “drought” in Jeremiah 17:8. That is certainly the case here in Jeremiah 14:
“And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads. Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads. Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass. And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.” (Jeremiah 14:3-6)
Symbolically, it can refer to a time of great economic depression where jobs and resources are very scarce. Spiritually, it speaks of a time when God’s people forsake the Lord, resulting in God’s judgment, which in the case of the nation of Judah during the time of Jeremiah meant that they would be oppressed and eventually conquered by the Babylonians. God’s judgment in this case included all three, however, physical consequences and economic consequences were included in addition to the invading army.
God had warned His people many times in the past and had even sent smaller judgments to try to get their attention and get them to repent and turn back to Him. However, they had ignored all of God’s warnings, and now it was too late. God even tells Jeremiah to stop praying for the people’s “good.” In other words, God is telling Jeremiah that “good” will not get the people to return to Him. If they were going to repent, it would require God’s judgment:
“Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.” (Jeremiah 14:11-12)
Notice also that God uses “pestilence,” or disease to get His people’s attention.
Jeremiah stated that God was a stranger (v. 8) in His own land. Complicating matters was the fact that there were “prophets” among the people who were telling them that everything was good, there would be no judgment from God. These were false prophets, the kind that tell people what they want to hear instead of what God said. They are like the ones that Paul warns us against in 2 Timothy 4:3:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;” (2 Timothy 4:3)
Though the story we have here is about Jerusalem and Judah way back to almost 600 BC, I think we can make the leap and see how this could apply to America today. As a nation, we have almost altogether forsaken the Lord, and we are completely ignoring God’s warnings. It may in fact be too late for us as a nation, but it is never too late for you (or I) to confess our sins to the Lord and turn back to Him in repentance, faith, and obedience to His word. Though there may be dearth all around you, you can still have the tremendous blessing of the Lord on your life.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.