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Lowell Brueckner

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No Compromise



Chapter 15

 A limitation to intercession

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. 

 2.      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." ' 

 3.       "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. 

 4.      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? 

 In chapter 14, we noted three ways, in which the Lord responds to prayer. The first and most important is a response, which brings positive results. The second response is one that we see applied from time to time in the Bible. When people insist on having their own way, God will eventually give them that,  which they have demanded, but it is to their own misfortune. The third response was the one that Jeremiah experienced in the last chapter… a refusal to even hear his prayer. This chapter begins by emphasizing that refusal.

 Jeremiah must be somewhat relieved to know that he is not the only one, whose prayer is rejected. He has company among some of the most reputable and powerful intercessors (1). The first is Moses. We often recognize, and rightly so, his wonderful intercession for Israel, when God threatened to eliminate the race.  Even so, I think sometimes we underestimate the scope of Moses prayer ministry. His intercessory prayers were set in motion in Egypt, long before that period in the wilderness. Beginning in Exodus 8:8, whenever Pharaoh asked for relief, Moses cried to the Lord and He answered. There is a recurrence in 8:28-30, 9:27-33, and in 10:16-18.

 Samuel was a continuous intercessor for the people of Israel.  After the people wanted to follow the nations around them by asking for a king to reign over them, the Lord consented, but manifested His anger. The people recognized their sin and begged Samuel to pray for them. Samuel answered, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 S.12:23).  


 Even great intercessors, such as Moses, Samuel, and Jeremiah himself, could not stop God’s judgment upon a willfully sinful people. Even the supreme sacrifice of Christ can’t save the one, who refuses His lordship, insisting on his own way. “He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (Jn.3:36).

 The Lord had determined a four-fold, irreversible decree upon the people. Some would die by a plague, some would be killed by the sword, some would starve to death, and some would be carried away into captivity (2). His judgment would not only cause their death by the sword, as stated in verse 3, but their death would be followed by the destruction of their body, dogs dragging them away, carnivorous birds and beasts devouring them. What a miserable fate awaited them!

 God attributed these judgments to the sins of Manasseh. Manasseh was the son of good King Hezekiah, who had done more to rid Judah of idolatry and turn them to the ways of the Lord, than any other previous monarch of Israel or Judah. His godly background accented the horror of Manasseh’s ways in restoring idolatry and promoting horrible sin and perversion in the land (4). It began when he was only 12 years old. Years later, the Lord is still punishing the people, who had learned from his sinful ways. Prophets foretold it: “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations… Behold, I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah, that who ever hears of it, both his ears will tingle” (2 K.21:11,12).

 However, something truly astounding took place in the life of this king: “When he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication… Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God… He took away the foreign gods… He also repaired the altar of the Lord, sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel” (Reading the entire story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 33, is well worth the time and effort.). Manasseh was thoroughly repentant, made restitution, and was totally forgiven by God.

 That brings us to a spiritual principle that all God’s people should know. Apparently, Manasseh served the Lord the rest of his life, but the consequences of the evil that he did, remained. This was true of David as well, when he sinned with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. When he recognized his sin and repented, he was immediately forgiven, but suffered grief the rest of his life, because of the deeds of his sons.

 The lesson is that God has made provision for our sins, so that we can find forgiveness, but some of the consequences of sin live on. Please keep this principle close to your heart to help you to resist the enemy’s temptations. It is not worth the suffering, which will surely come, if you fail to do so. Above all, do not fall before temptation with the excuse, “God will forgive me, as He forgave David and Manasseh.” That is open, premeditated sin against the light that God has given you and will bring forth mighty retribution.

 The judgment that Judah is experiencing generations later, finds it’s root in the reign of Manasseh. Other sins were added over the years by evil kings, but this is the root cause. Added to the pain, is the lack of sympathy from other nations (5). The old adage says, “Misery loves company.” It is pitiful that Jerusalem has no friend or companion in their suffering, no one to be concerned for their condition. They have forsaken their God, and now everyone forsakes them.


The plight of the male population

 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. 

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. 


There is an end to the Lord’s patience and now the time has come. Many, many Scriptures tell of His longsuffering and tender mercies. Do we understand that His patience and forbearance weary Him? “I am weary of relenting!” he says (6). Throughout the Old Testament, we have learned that His people provoked Him again and again. He punished them and they cried out to Him. He forgave them and brought deliverance. In spite of all their failing, they remained in the Promised Land. It was the land that connected them to all His blessings, but now, they were about to be exiled and the land would be desolate.

 God gives a picture of work with a winnowing fan. The winnower stands at the end of the harvested field, casting the chaff into the wind, blowing away from the field, and it is lost forever. The end of the field is called gates here, where justice was executed in ancient Israel. God’s righteous judgment in the winnowing process is totally merited. Children die by multitudes and there is little hope for the next generation. As always in the ways of God, He calls for repentance, but Judah is unwilling to turn to Him (7).

 The male population will be decimated in the battle against Babylon, and more fall as Nebuchadnezzar deals out punishment for Judah’s opposition to his conquest. Anguish and terror lie in the future for their wives and mothers (8). Those who have given birth to a number of male children, will only feel more pain, as they are eliminated. They experience a living death, sunset in the middle of the day. The pride and purpose of childbearing for the Hebrew women, now turns to shame and disgrace, as their sons are removed. Those left over after the siege, with its starvation and disease, and after many are carried away into captivity, will fall to the Babylonian sword (9).

 Jeremiah’s mother will watch him suffer for another cause… the cause of truth. For this cause, the prophets paved the way for John the Baptist. Jesus said, “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’”. How would parents feel towards a son that bore such a reputation among the elite of society? In his case, however, his parents could see beyond the estimation of mere men: “You will have joy and gladness… for he will be great in the sight of the Lord… and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God” (Lk.1:14-16). And there is nothing that the Jerusalem society can lay to Jeremiah’s charge. With nothing on his conscience before God, let the people think and say what they will (10).

 His mother had no reason to worry, because in his latter years, at the very worst time in Jerusalem, Jeremiah would have the backing of Nebuchadnezzar himself (11): “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying, ‘Take him and look after him, and do him no harm” (Jer.39:11,12).


The will of God cannot be broken

 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." 

   Apparently, the iron that was manufactured in northern Israel, was of particular quality for hardness, as was the fusion of metals to produce bronze. Among his many comparisons in this book, the Lord likens these metals to His will, concerning Judah's fate, against Judah’s resistance. Beyond that, the prayers of Jeremiah, as we have studied, cannot break the iron will of God to castigate the people (12).

 Sin has become very costly to Judah and serves mightily as a lesson to all people. The divine principle is upheld: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Gal.6:7). God’s people will be plundered and all that they have gained of wealth and treasures throughout the nation, they will lose (13).

 God warns and repeats, for emphasis, their exile, leaving behind all that is familiar, to go into the strange land of their enemies. They will yearn for friendly words in Hebrew, but only hear harsh words in a different language; they will look for a familiar landscape, but all will be unrecognizable. This is another product of the righteous anger of God, bringing emotional pain in their inner being (14).


The priceless word

 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’s relationship with the Lord is his recourse. The king and the entire population rise against him to the degree of imprisonment. There are those, many perhaps, who wish him dead. He pours out his heart before the Lord and expresses his inner yearnings. They are turned in God’s direction, he is jealous with His jealousy, and that brings him to publicly proclaim His word. As a result, the great majority persecute him. The opposition is due totally to his faithfulness to the Lord. He knows that God is well aware of his situation. Remember me and visit me, is to say, “Take my cause into account now and vindicate me.” 

 Enduring patience, as it stands in verse 15 in the NKJV, only needs one word for translation into Greek in the New Testament. The word is simply patience... hupomone, because enduring is contained in the definition of the Greek word. It means endurance, constancy. In the last months, this word is often in my studies. I find that it pertains only to an attribute of Christ, all Christians possess it in Him, and no one possesses it outside of Him. Various commentators help me to understand that Jeremiah has discovered it in the nature of God, as it concerns his adversaries. He asks, because the Lord’s nature always manifests patience towards the enemy, that He will remember that Jeremiah is a weak mortal, who needs immediate relief, or he will be taken away. In modern terms, we would say blown away. It is a desperate cry (15).

 See how precious are God’s words to Jeremiah, as Job told his miserable comforters, “I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). It is not an overstatement. Verse 16 and the next could easily take a dozen pages of comments.

It is a great reward to discover His words and then to digest them, so that they become part of us. If only all the world could know their supreme value: Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart! His plea for help is not for personal relief, it is in behalf of the divine nature within Him, which is in love with the word of God. He is His child, one with Him, carrying His name, as a child carries the family name of his father. This is a verse that is worthy of a place among the most beloved in the Bible (16).

 There is a similarity in Jeremiah’s statement to that of David in the first Psalm. David wrote of meditating continually on the Word and not listening to the counsel of the ungodly. He honored the man who did not sit “in the seat of the scornful” (Ps.1:1) and Jeremiah said, I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers.

 We are being treated to some evidence of a transformed nature, giving us wonderful understanding of the prophet’s motivation for his difficult ministry. You have filled me with indignation. The man is in a love relationship with his Lord. He might be lonely and longing for human companionship, but he lives alone in His presence. He feels the beating of God’s heart (17).  

 Considering what we have just learned, Jeremiah’s next statement is not really a complaint. It is a superhuman cry because of his proximity to God. In spite of the pain, this is a place of satisfaction and of tremendous worth. It is the perpetual pain, which his Lord feels for sin. It is the incurable wound of participating in the sufferings of Christ, centuries before the cross. An offer of earthly cure is like a mirage in the desert; it is like promising rain from passing clouds that leave the farmer’s field dry. Only God can relieve his pain.


No need for compromise

 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." 

 Can we use a verse in Job to explain the Lord’s answer to Jeremiah? “If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges His angels with error, how much more those who dwell in houses of clay…?” (Job 4:18). Jeremiah is not to entertain thoughts of complying to his enemies. All he needs is to stand upright in the presence of God, confident of His support. There can be no dross in the silver, no vile in that which is precious. Peter counseled his readers, “Gird up the loins of your mind… knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold… but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 P.1:13,18,19). No compromise is tolerated, as a servant of God. When you deliver His word, there is no need to seek reconciliation with those who reject it. You must not return to them. They are the ones, who must repent. Let every preacher be unapologetic, if he intends to be faithful to the Word (19).

 What makes the prophet’s position more difficult, is that he is dealing with his own people. In one chapter, he was speaking of trouble from the men of his own native city. Is the Lord’s approval enough? That, of course, is a foolish question that doesn’t need to be answered. Hear His promise: I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall… they will fight… but they shall not prevail… for I am with you to save you and deliver you. Put every misgiving aside, let every doubt flee, every temptation to conform be squelched, and let’s make a decisive stand for God. Nothing approaches the guarantee that He offers and no one comes anywhere close to giving unfailing promises like His, but the clincher for the Christian is the Person standing behind the promises (20). “I know WHOM I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 T.1:12).

 Oh, Lord Jesus, help us to be true believers in ministry and in practical living!  To doubt is to insult Omnipotence and to question is to deny Omniscience. I can’t think of a better way to end this chapter than simply to quote the final verse. I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grip of the terrible.







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