Jeremiah’s Labor

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As a Jewish believer, I am saddened to meet Christians who could not care less about the Jewish roots of their faith or who see the Old Testament simply as a book of history with little or no relevance for them. Even worse, though, is when well-meaning Christians tell me, “Brother, you have become a Christian now— you are no longer a Jew.” No, I am still a Jew. Like those first believers, I have found the One our prophets spoke of, and He is the Messiah of Israel. Jews do not have to leave their ethnic heritage when they accept Yeshua. – Jonathan Bernis

Two more days of Jeremiah’s Lamentations… Here is Chapter Four of Jeremiah’s great poem…

How the gold has lost its luster! Even the finest gold has become dull.  The sacred gemstones  lie scattered in the streets! 2 See how the precious children of Jerusalem, worth their weight in fine gold, are now treated like pots of clay made by a common potter. 3 Even the jackals feed their young, but not my people Israel. They ignore their children’s cries, like ostriches in the desert. 4 The parched tongues of their little ones stick to the roofs of their mouths in thirst. The children cry for bread, but no one has any to give them (Lam 4:1-4 NLT).

The “precious children of Jerusalem” typified as the “sacred gemstones” and compared to “fine gold” have now been reduced to no more than a cheap “clay pot” of a “common potter,” which is easily broken and thrown away. These people had so lost their way that cruelty among them was the norm.  Their hearts had grown so hard and cold that they could see a child staggering in the street for want of food and show no concern.

The people who once ate the richest foods now beg in the streets for anything they can get. Those who once wore the finest clothes now search the garbage dumps for food. 6 The guilt of my people  is greater than that of Sodom, where utter disaster struck in a moment and no hand offered help. 7 Our princes once glowed with health— brighter than snow, whiter than milk.  Their faces were as ruddy as rubies, their appearance like fine jewels. 8 But now their faces are blacker than soot.  No one recognizes them in the streets. Their skin sticks to their bones; it is as dry and hard as wood (Lam 4:5-8 NLT).

The Prophet speaks of the Nobles of Jerusalem, once rich, but now scavenging the streets for a little food. All of this could have been avoided had they heeded the Word of God.  But Judah had sinned directly against the Light of God’s Word and had become worse than the surrounding pagans.

Jeremiah alluded to Judah and Jerusalem as they once were, when they lived for Jehovah God and His Torah and were consequently greatly blessed by Him. And, having thought back to the Jerusalem of the past, now portrays their present sad condition.

Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of hunger. Starving, they waste away for lack of food from the fields. 10 Tenderhearted women have cooked their own children.  They have eaten them to survive the siege. 11 But now the anger of the Lord is satisfied.  His fierce anger has been poured out.  He started a fire in Jerusalem that burned the city to its foundations. 12 Not a king in all the earth— no one in all the world— would have believed that an enemy could march through the gates of Jerusalem. 13 Yet it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the sins of her priests, who defiled the city by shedding innocent blood (Lam 4:9-13 NLT).

Moses, about a thousand years earlier, had prophesied that if Israel turned her back on Jehovah God, the people would sink to the level of eating their own children. And that’s exactly what happened.  The miraculous Acts of God among His People were legend among the nations of the world of that day.  Even though they would not serve Him, they knew of His great Power, but in their stiff-necked rebellion, God’s People were now destroyed by His Power.  And the blame is laid at the feet of the spiritual leaders of Jerusalem—her prophets who prophesied falsely and her priests who perverted the Law.

They wandered blindly through the streets, so defiled by blood that no one dared touch them. 15 “Get away!” the people shouted at them. “You’re defiled! Don’t touch us!” So they fled to distant lands and wandered among foreign nations, but none would let them stay. 16 The Lord himself has scattered them, and he no longer helps them.  People show no respect for the priests and no longer honor the leaders. 17 We looked in vain for our allies to come and save us, but we were looking to nations that could not help us. 18 We couldn’t go into the streets without danger to our lives.  Our end was near; our days were numbered.  We were doomed! (Lam 4:14-18 NLT).

“Defiled by blood” means that the blood of the people lost because of their false preaching would be required at their hands.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman unto the House of Israel; therefore hear the Word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me. When I say unto the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand (Ezekiel 3:17-18 KJV).

Judah had shown favor to the pagan priests and embraced their occult practices and idol worship when the foreigners came to Jerusalem, but now as they fled from the Babylonian horde, Judah’s Priests were shown no respect or favor by these pagans. They had made a deal with the devil, and the devil was showing himself to be no friend.

Egypt was the nation that could not save them. Vain was Egypt’s “help.”  It had no worth or value in time of need.

Our enemies were swifter than eagles in flight. If we fled to the mountains, they found us.  If we hid in the wilderness, they were waiting for us there. 20 Our king—the Lord’s anointed, the very life of our nation— was caught in their snares.  We had thought that his shadow  would protect us against any nation on earth! 21 Are you rejoicing in the land of Uz, O people of Edom?  But you, too, must drink from the cup of the Lord’s anger.  You, too, will be stripped naked in your drunkenness. 22 O beautiful Jerusalem, your punishment will end; you will soon return from exile. But Edom, your punishment is just beginning; soon your many sins will be exposed (Lam 4:19-22 NLT).

“Edom,” a neighbor of Judah, rejoiced when Judah fell. The Vision of Obadiah, which I went over in last Saturday’s blog, spoke directly to the Edomites.  The Prophet Jeremiah here states that they will suffer the same judgment that Judah suffered.  But for Edom, there is no promise of Restoration, just disclosure of her sins.  For Zion, a full judgment, but a covering up of her sin by Blood Atonement, which will ultimately result in a complete Restoration at the Second Coming.

“Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things.  Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.  Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.  For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets.  Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people’ (Acts 3:17-23 NLT).