Return to Me

Jeremiah 15:1–21 (NKJV)

15:1 Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth. And it shall be, if they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you shall tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord:

“Such as are for death, to death; And such as are for the sword, to the sword; And such as are for the famine, to the famine; And such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.” ’

“And I will appoint over them four forms of destruction,” says the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. I will hand them over to trouble, to all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.

5 “For who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem? Or who will bemoan you? Or who will turn aside to ask how you are doing?

6 You have forsaken Me,” says the Lord, “You have gone backward. Therefore I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am weary of relenting!

7 And I will winnow them with a winnowing fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children; I will destroy My people, Since they do not return from their ways.

8 Their widows will be increased to Me more than the sand of the seas; I will bring against them, Against the mother of the young men, A plunderer at noonday; I will cause anguish and terror to fall on them suddenly.

9 “She languishes who has borne seven; She has breathed her last; Her sun has gone down While it was yet day; She has been ashamed and confounded. And the remnant of them I will deliver to the sword Before their enemies,” says the Lord.

The Lord speaks to Samuel in tones that have not yet been heard in this book.  He states that even if Moses and Samuel stood before Him, two of His most powerful prophets and leaders, that He would not relent and forgive the people of Judah.  He promises them death, sword, famine, and captivity.  He will so destroy that the animals of the heavens and earth will pick over and eat their bodies.  Manasseh, the evil king of Judah, tipped the scales against them, and they are condemned.  He continues by using the imagery of the winnowing fan, separating the wheat from the chaff.  He also declares an increase in the number of widows, and the emptiness of mother’s homes.  He even, in this case, says that the remnant of them will be delivered to the sword.

10 Woe is me, my mother, That you have borne me, A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent for interest, Nor have men lent to me for interest. Every one of them curses me.

11 The Lord said: “Surely it will be well with your remnant; Surely I will cause the enemy to intercede with you In the time of adversity and in the time of affliction.

12 Can anyone break iron, The northern iron and the bronze?

13 Your wealth and your treasures I will give as plunder without price, Because of all your sins, Throughout your territories.

14 And I will make you cross over with your enemies Into a land which you do not know; For a fire is kindled in My anger, Which shall burn upon you.”

15 O Lord, You know; Remember me and visit me, And take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In Your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for Your sake I have suffered rebuke.

16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

17 I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers, Nor did I rejoice; I sat alone because of Your hand, For You have filled me with indignation.

18 Why is my pain perpetual And my wound incurable, Which refuses to be healed? Will You surely be to me like an unreliable stream, As waters that fail?

Jeremiah responds to God with a plea for Judah, even wishing he had not been born.  The Lord responds with a promise of the safety of the remnant, but also states that the armies of the north will not be stopped.  Judah will be plundered and captured, being taken into exile.  Jeremiah responds with a plea for vengeance on his persecutors.  He speaks of the sweetness of the Word of God, his refusal to sit with mockers, and the perpetual nature of his pain.  

19 Therefore thus says the Lord: “If you return, Then I will bring you back; You shall stand before Me; If you take out the precious from the vile, You shall be as My mouth. Let them return to you, But you must not return to them.

20 And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; And they will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you,” says the Lord.

21 “I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.”

The Lord promises Jeremiah that he will be protected from his enemies, and that Judah would be brought back if they returned to the Lord.  He will deliver them from the hand of the enemy.  The enemy may get the upper hand when we ignore the will of God and follow our own path.  However, returning to God and repenting from our sins will bring us back from our spiritual and emotional exile and thrive in the presence of the Lord.  Return, for the wastelands of your rebellion are tired and sad.  Return to the powerful presence of the Lord.  

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