John T. Willis

Monday, December 20, 2010

Conniving Family, Friends, and Neighbors--Jeremiah 9:2-16

We live among people who are deceitful, conniving, fraudulent, hypocritical, scheming, two-faced, counterfeit, beguiling, untrustworthy. Unfortunately, many such persons and groups present themselves as "true Christians," "true people of God." Jeremiah was surrounded by just this type of people, and he addressed their duplicity, their falseheartedness. Previously, we discussed this issue dealing with Jeremiah 3:1-11. Now, once again, Jeremiah continues to discuss this problem in Jeremiah 9:2-16. This paragraph falls into three parts:

I. Jeremiah is distraught because God's people living around him daily live a deceitful life. Jeremiah 9:2-9.
a. Jeremiah wants to leave far away to avoid interacting with God's people each day. Jeremiah yearns to go deep into the desert, find a nice Holiday Inn[he calls this "a traveler's lodging place"], turn off all his phones and text-messages, and be alone with God. He can no longer stand the lifestyles of God's people: they are "all adulterery," "a band of traitors," full of "falsehood" and not for "truth." Each day, they manage to be more and more evil. They do not "know" [have an intimate, daily, personal relationship with] God [note that this word appears in
9:3, 6, and throughout Jeremiah and the entire Hebrew Bible]. 9:2-3.
b. Jeremiah warns everyone he meets to "beware" of their neighbors, "put no trust" in their kin; because all their family members and friends and neighbors are "supplanters," "slanderers," "liars." The Hebrew word for "supplanter" is ya`aqob, that is, "Jacob." This term goes back to the story of the birth of Jacob recorded in Genesis 25:26. Hosea uses this same term about the people of Israel=Jacob in Hosea 12:2-3. Jeremiah is simply borrowing this term from Genesis and Hosea, who greatly influenced his message. The people of God continue to increase their sins daily: "oppression upon oppression, deceit upon deceit." 9:4-6.
c. Yahweh through Jeremiah declares that he will punish such people who are so deceitful and hypocritical. People like this "speak friendly words" when they are in your presence, but "on the sly," when they are alone with their friends, "are planning to lay an ambush." 9:7-9. YOU may know people like this. Unfortunately, I have been among people like this and trusted them, only to learn they are very scheming and destructive. This message is so applicable today.

II. Yahweh through Jeremiah calls his audience to weep on the mountains because Yahweh is about to overthrow Jerusalem. Jeremiah 9:10-11.
a. When Yahweh's punishment comes, this will devastate not only the sinful people of God, but also the cattle, the birds, and the animals. There is a close connection between human beings and the rest of God's creatures and all creation. 9:10.
b. Yahweh through Jeremiah announces that he will make Jerusalem "a heap of ruins." Micah had made the very same announcement approximately 100 years earlier--Micah 3:12. Jeremiah borrows this language from Micah. 9:11.

III. The reason Yahweh will soon punish the people of God in Jerusalem is because they have forsaken Yahweh. Jeremiah 9:12-16.
a. Like all human beings, when punishment comes, many will try to "figure out" WHY this happened. Jeremiah declares that "the wise" cannot comprehend the reason. 9:12.
b. God often punishes sinful people for "theological," "spiritual," "religious" reasons. God's people have "forsaken God's law," "not obeyed God's voice," "stubbornly followed their own hearts," and "gone after the Baals" [other gods] rather than Yahweh. 9:13-14.
c. Therefore, Yahweh will "feed" his people "wormwood" and "poisonous water." Jeremiah borrows this very same language from Amos in Amos 5:7; 6:12 to communicate the idea of God's punishment when God's people sin against him. 9:15.
d. Yahweh declares that he will "scatter" his people into Babylonian exile, and "send the sword" to kill many of those who resist him through the Babylonians. 9:16.

This is a powerful, relevant, motivating message for God's people through time. May we listen to this message from God carefully and prayerfully.

Share YOUR insights and concepts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis

1 Comments:

  • This is a great summary of Jeremiah 9:2. I often see my faults and my reality within this text. By searching for more insight, this allows me to more honest to help others over come such faults. Thank you, for expressing the desire of Jeremiah to lone for God in the mist of social termoil.

    Walter Herron

    By Blogger Walter, at 1:31 PM  

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