Skip to main content
19th June

Jeremiah 14-17; Psalm 15

Bible in a Year
7 minutes
In this article
19th June

Jeremiah 14-17; Psalm 15

Bible in a Year
7 minutes


So far in Jeremiah we’ve started the book, looking at Jeremiah’s calling and accusation against Judah. The book of Jeremiah is a collection of messages and poems by the prophet Jeremiah, who was a prophet to Judah immediately before their exile. We read as God called Jeremiah to be his mouth pieces to Judah to weed out corruption and idolatry in Judah. The people would not listen to him, but his teachings would serve as a foundation for the people after they’d been exiled.

Jeremiah then started off focus on the people’s relationship with God. God had been the one who led them out of Egypt, but they quickly forgot that. The Israelites instead chose to worship other gods, essentially committing adultery against God. God pointed out that Deuteronomy made it clear if a man divorces his wife and she goes off with another man, she can’t then return to her first husband. In the same way, God couldn’t accept Israel back as his wife after all that she’s done.

Jeremiah then reflected on Israel after the split into two kingdoms; Israel in the north and Judah in the south. He used the metaphor of them being sisters who were both married to God. Israel continued to have affairs and chase after other gods, so God sent her away. But Judah didn’t learn from her sister’s mistakes. Instead, she started doing the same. So God gave her a warning. If she repented and turned back to him, he would restore her. If not, he would bring her to shame.

We read as Jeremiah tried to lead the people to repentance, but they would not listen. He grieved the destruction he knew was coming to Judah, likening it to decreation. Returning the land to it state before God created it. God even sent out Jeremiah to find anyone righteous that would make Judah worth saving, much like Abraham with God in Genesis 18. But Jeremiah found no one.

Again, Jeremiah warned the people that a foreign nation would come from the north, but they did not listen. They continued in their wickedness, so God calls for Judah's enemies to come and cut her down. Again, Jeremiah calls the people to repent, but God tells Jeremiah not to pray for them. Their opportunity to change has gone. The era of wise men is gone. It's time for the women who mourn to lead.

We read through a warning against idolatry, and then we saw the first few cracks for Jeremiah. He's being persecuted and sometimes it looks like wicked people are flourishing. God encouraged Jeremiah that punishment is coming. He then used five images to depict Judah's corruption and oncoming destruction.

Jeremiah 14-17

There was presumably a drought at some point during Jeremiah's life, and God comes to speak to Jeremiah about this drought. God is pointing out how bad this is getting for the people of Judah. Droughts were part of the curses for disobeying the covenant they had made with God. It served as evidence for their wickedness. But while they mourned and wept and went thirsty, at no point did they repent.

So Jeremiah responds to God to intercede for the people, even though God had told him before not to pray for them. Jeremiah repents on behalf of the people and asks God to not take his presence from them. God responds only to remind Jeremiah not to pray for these people. They have gone too far. They have repented too many times, only to go straight back to their wickedness. This time, there is no saving them from the consequences of their actions.

Jeremiah highlights other prophets of Judah that are speaking of peace and prosperity. But God points out that these other prophets have prophesied lies. They have told the people that everything is fine and that there is no army coming to destroy them. God is making a point of destroy these prophets with war and taking away all the people they have lied to.

So God tells Jeremiah to prophesy this destruction over the people of Judah, but also to then lead them in repentance. This prophecy of repentance they can hold on to after they've been taken into captivity and use it to turn back to God.

God then doubles down on the destruction he is going to send. He will send them pestilence, famine, sword, and captivity. He will destroy them with sword, dog, bird, and beast. Judah has rejected God time after time, and like a carpenter, he has tried chipping away to create something beautiful, but these people are rotten to the core. And so God will destroy and bring them to shame.

Jeremiah pipes up in complaint again. This time, he complains about the job God has given him. Even though Jeremiah seeks to do only good, because of the message of destruction he brings, everyone hates him. God points out that this is for the good of the people, and that he already put things in place that will protect Jeremiah when the northern army comes. God then continues to speak destruction over Judah.

But Jeremiah isn't done. He continues to plea to God to defend him and justify him before his enemies. Jeremiah has been faithful to God's word, listening to them and enjoying them. He has refused to sit with wicked people and be influenced by them. Yet still he is hurting, because the people mock him and hate him and he lives a lonely life.

God challenges Jeremiah in this. He tells Jeremiah to repent of this way of thinking, to focus on speaking God's words of truth and not give in to his own pain. In turn, God will build up and protect Jeremiah against the people that would hurt him. They might continue to try, but he will make Jeremiah like a wall made of bronze, strong and immune to their attacks.

God calls Jeremiah to tell him about the standards and rules he expects Jeremiah to follow. Jeremiah is not to take a wife or have children, because this is not a good time to have children. It would be bringing a life into the world only to face destruction and pain. Jeremiah is not to mourn or weep with the people. They deserve the pain they are about to get and so Jeremiah is not to comfort them. He is also not to celebrate and feast with them, because God will soon do away will all celebrations.

If the people ask Jeremiah why he's always prophesying their destruction, he is to tell them that it is because they and their ancestors have continually rejected God. They have lived wickedly, so God is going to chuck them out of the land. But then God gives Jeremiah a glimpse of the future hope.

Currently, the people talk about how God brought them out of slavery in Egypt. But soon will come a time where the people will talk about how God brought them out of slavery from this northern nation. He will restore his people.

But before that point, he will send his fisherman and hunters to make sure no person slips through the net of destruction. First, he needs to repay the people for their wickedness. But after that, he will cause them to see the error of their ways, to see the worthlessness of their idols and repent. God will make them know his power through the destruction, but then they will return to him and they will know him personally again.

All of this is because of the people's sin. Their sin is so engrained in them now, even their children have been shaped by it. So God is going to hit the reset button and send them into slavery. Those who trust in themselves and their own strength will be cursed, but those that trust in God will be blessed.

The human heart is wicked and inclined to pursue wickedness. But God can see into all hearts, and so will give each person exactly what they deserve according to what is in their heart. Divine justice will prevail, because God's throne has been established.

Jeremiah once again complains to God, asking for help, to heal him and justify him. Whenever he prophesies to the people, they mock him. Jeremiah points out his faithfulness and so asks God not to forsake him. May God justify him before those who would mock him.

Then God send Jeremiah off with another message of repentance. This time to honour the sabbath. The people have forsaken the Sabbath, the day of rest that is to be focused on God. If they were to repent and honour the Sabbath again, then God will prosper them and bless them. But if they continue to dishonour the Sabbath, God will bring their destruction.

Psalm 15

This psalm is attributed to king David, and calls into the category of liturgical psalm, read out as part of a worship service. It was most likely used at the beginning of a service as God’s people entered his presence.

Psalm 15:1 - Questions concerning the Lord’s dwelling place

Psalm 15:2 - Positive requirements of dwelling with the Lord

Psalm 15:3 - Negative requirements of dwelling with the Lord

Psalm 15:4 - Positive requirements of dwelling with the Lord

Psalm 15:5a - Negative requirements of dwelling with the Lord

Psalm 15:5b - A promise that those who pursue these requirements may dwell with the Lord

The psalm opens asking the question, ‘who can enter God’s presence?’ (my paraphrase). This is an important question to ask yourself as you go to enter God’s presence. The rest of the psalm seeks to answer that question.

The first three traits offered are that a person should walk blamelessly, do right, and speak the truth. This is mirrored by three things a person should avoid, there should be nothing false in their talking, they should do no evil, and they shouldn’t go around accusing others.

Then come the next set. A person must despise wickedness and honour those who fear God, and they should swear to do good and hold to their word.

Finally, are two more things a person shouldn’t do. They shouldn't loan out money and expect interest. This could trap someone in an oppressive spiral of dept. Nor should they accept bribes and oppress innocents.

The promise of this psalm is that if a person holds to all these things, they are able to stand in God’s presence and not be removed. We see in this psalm that there are things in life we should be working towards, and things we should be avoiding.

This psalm seeks to remind us that we are able to enter God’s presence, but not to take it lightly. It should require a preparing of our hearts and appropriate reverence to God’s holiness.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

Share this article