The great promise of Israel in Jeremiah 13:11 “to be for me (the Lord) a people” has failed and the people are dispersed because they have not kept their covenant with the Lord. The Lord says in Jeremiah 16:18 “I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin because of their profaning my land” because in Jeremiah 16:17 “For my eyes are on all their ways”. But then, the Lord will restore, and bring Israel back and with them will come people of the nations and in Jeremiah 16:21 “they will know that my name is Yahweh.”
Why Have These Things Happened to Me?
Jeremiah begins with the pleasant picture of “the king and the queen mother” and “the beautiful crown”. We have all seen images of events of state or marriage in our times and they are done with great splendor. But this introduction is only to show us the fall, in Jeremiah 13:1 “your beautiful crown has come down from your head”. And now comes the lament, here is the ageless question that people ask, in Jeremiah 13:22 “Why have these things happened to me?”. Or, sometimes people say, “Why did God let this happen?” and the answer is never easy to face, because we don’t like to be corrected. The first answer, and the first place for us to check, is in Jeremiah 13:22 “Because of the greatness of your iniquity”. Have we followed after the Lord? And if we have erred, now is the time to turn around and make a correction, repent.
We also know that we are in a fallen world as we find in
John 9:2–3 And his disciples asked him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” 3 Jesus replied, “Neither this man sinned nor his parents, but it happened* so that the works of God could be revealed in him.
and also that there is an enemy that would destroy us
John 10:10 The thief comes only so that he can steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
so it is not always God’s action or our own that is the answer to the question, “Why have these things happened to me?”. But it is the Lord that is our deliverer, the one that offers in
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I am planning concerning you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for prosperity and not for harm, to give to you a future and a hope”.
I Have Taken Away My Peace From This People
I Am Going to Let Them Know
The Lord is God. And yet, people think they are free to do anything they want without any repercussion. But the Lord says in Jeremiah 16:17 “For my eyes are on all their ways, they are not hidden”. How would you behave if every action was seen by the Lord? Well, every action is seen by the Lord but that doesn’t prevent people from their abuse and oppression and deceitfulness and in Jeremiah 16:18 “the dead bodies”.
The Lord will repay, and here in Jeremiah 16:18 “I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin because of their profaning my land”. Sin will not go unpunished. Partly because the Lord is righteous and holy and partly because of the cries of those who have been sinned against. So, “In vv. 14 and 15 the prophet opens to the people a view of ultimate redemption from the affliction amidst the heathen, into which, for their sin, they will be cast”.1 This will occur as the people are expelled from the land in
Jeremiah 16:16 Look, I am sending for many fishermen,’ declares Yahweh, ‘and they will fish them out, and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and from the clefts of the cliffs.
This expulsion, as terrible and difficult as it may be, is followed by a great restoration and they are brought back in Jeremiah 16:15 “from all the lands where he had driven them”. And with this great return of God’s people to their land, “the nations will come” with them recognizing that there is “no profit” in the ways of their ancestors in
Jeremiah 16:19 O Yahweh, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of distress, to you the nations will come from the ends of the earth, and they will say, “Our ancestors have inherited only lies, vanity, and there is no profit in them.
Though the Lord desired to have Israel, in Jeremiah 13:11 “to be for me a people, and a name, and a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen”, he will use this restoration to demonstrate that he is “Yahweh”, the Lord in
Jeremiah 16:21 “Therefore look, I am about to let them know, this time I am going to let them know my power and my might, and they will know that my name is Yahweh.”
The Heart is Deceitful More Than Anything Else
Here is the way the Lord operates. He is not randomly or maliciously bringing judgement on nations of people because of one or two that do evil. The Lord says in
Jeremiah 17:10 I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart, and give to each one according to his way, according to the fruit of his deeds.
This is the hard part for us, evil is not judged by a thought, but by “the fruit of his deeds”. This means that someone was hurt, the environment damaged, oppression or deceit or theft happened. The fruit of evil is harm, just as the fruit of the spirit is good. In the end, the Lord will judge each with righteousness and good or evil, “their deeds follow after them” and, as it says in
Revelation 14:12–13 Here is the patient endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and the faith in Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “in order that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow after them.”
Heal Me, O Yahweh, and I Will be Healed
Declare Holy the Day of Sabbath
- Jeremiah 13:18–27 Why Have These Things Happened to Me?
- Jeremiah 16:14–21 I Am Going to Let Them Know
- Jeremiah 17:1–11 The Heart is Deceitful More Than Anything Else
- Jeremiah 13:18-27
- Jeremiah 16:1-21
- Jeremiah 17:1-27
- 1. Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 8, p. 168). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.