Jeremiah 11 - 12 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
Message on the Broken Convenant

I. The Words of the Covenant- 11:1-8

A. This Covenant (v.2,3)- is clearly defined as the Mosaic Covenant (v.4).
Israel had covenanted to obey God's Word, in Moses' day. Ex 19:5-8
They had only recently renewed this covenant, in the days of Josiah. 2Kin 23:1-3
B. The Covenant consequences-
  1. Blessing, if you "obey... and do... all..." (v.4,5)
  2. Cursing, for disregard and disobedience of God's commands (v.3,8)
    v.3 is quoted in Gal 3:10, cp. Deu 27:26 (Jeremiah also said "Amen" to these things.)
C. The Covenant responsibilities-
Hear and do (v.6)- cp. Rom 2:13; Jam 1:22
D. The Covenant peoples' response- (v.7,8)
Though the Lord patiently reminded them of the covenant, they neither listened, nor obeyed. Therefore, they would suffer the consequences of breaking the covenant. God's Word is Truth, but man prefers to imagine his own "virtual reality" that cannot stand.

II. The Conspiracy against the Lord - to break the covenant (11:9-17)

A. It was national scope (11:9-13)... the house of Israel... the house of Judah... the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
During the reign of Josiah, the nation returned to serving the Lord, at least outwardly. The true extent of that revival was known to the Lord, who discerns the hearts (cp. Josiah and the nation 2Kin 23:25,26). It could be that this message was given shortly after the death of Josiah. The nation, although outwardly righteous, was about to turn to their old ways. Here, the Lord revealed their heart condition, to Jeremiah (v.9).
B. It was against themselves (11:14-17) - Sin injures the sinner.
  • Prayer would not be accepted in their behalf, even in time of trouble. (v.14; cp. Jer 7:16; 1Joh 5:16)
  • Their sacrifices were not acceptable (v.15, "holy flesh" cp. Jer 7:21-23; Hag 2:11-14)
  • They were disconnected from the tree of life and blessing (v.16; cp. Rom 11:17; Psa 52:8)
  • Yet, though their sins forced Him to "pronounce evil against thee" (v.17), His heart still yearns for them, calling them "My beloved" (v.15).

III. The Conspiracy against Jeremiah - to silence the Covenant Preacher (11:18-23)

  • v.18,19a This conspiracy was also revealed to Jeremiah by the Lord. The threat to the prophet again suggests that King Josiah had died, since he would have protected the prophet.
  • v.19,21 The goal of the conspiracy was to kill Jeremiah, or to prevent him from proclaiming God's Word.
  • v.21 The source of the conspiracy was the men of Anathoth, a city of priests and Jeremiah's home town (Jer 1:1). Like Jesus, Jeremiah came to his own and his own received him not (Joh 1:11), and he was first rejected first by his home town (Luk 4:16-29).
  • v.20-23 Jeremiah's prayer for vengeance was to the end that Truth would prevail in the conflict with error (cp. Gal 1:8; 1Cor 16:22). Jeremiah took no action except to commit the matter to the Lord (Rom 12:19). The Lord assured him that Anathoth would suffer the consequences of breaking the Covenant.

IV. The Covenant Preacher's Question (12:1-6)

A. His Preface- In light of the fact that the Lord is righteous (cp. 11:20),
Jeremiah could not understand the way He executes His judgments (ie., justice).
B. His Question- "Why do the wicked prosper?"
(An age old question of godly men. cp. Job 21:7; Psa 73:3)
C. His Suggestions-
  • Judge my enemies as they were intending to judge me (sheep to the slaughter, v.3, cp. 11:19).
  • Judge them for the distress they are bringing upon the nation (v.4).
D. The Lord's Answer (v.5,6)
  • Brace yourself, things will get worse (v.5). - In contending with the men of Anathoth, Jeremiah was dealing with men of relatively low power, and in familiar surroundings (his home town, which should have been a place of peace for him). But he would soon be contending with kings in the capital city, a place full of dangers. (The swelling of the Jordan may speak of Jordan at flood stage, or, more likely of the flood plain as an uninhabited wilderness full of wild animals. cp. Jer 49:19; 50:44)
  • Your own family is leading the conspiracy against you (v.6) -. The revelation of this additional detail served to emphasize the increasing depth of opposition that Jeremiah would face. (cp. Jesus' rejection, Psa 69:7,8)

V. Covenant Consequences Applied (12:7-17)

A. Cursing for Disobedience, 12:7-13; (cp. 11:3,8)
  • Israel (the Lord's heritage, house, vineyard, etc.) had turned against Him like a lion in the wilderness, (v.8), she would be turned over to her enemies. Note: The HB word "hate" here does not mean "to hate with malice", but rather "to love less" (cp. this word in Deu 21:15; Mal 1:2,3).
  • Israel had persecuted God's prophets for nonconformity, the nations would attack them because they do not fit in among them. v.9 (cp. Num 23:9)
  • Israel's pastors had destroyed from within (because no man took God's Word to heart, v.11). Therefore, many outside pastors (the enemy nations) would finish the job. v.10-12
  • The nation had exerted themselves in hard labor, toiling to bring prosperity according to the plan they had imagined (11:8), but they would be severely disappointed with the return (v.13).
  • Again, observe the sorrow and love in the Lord's voice: Those upon whom these judgments must fall are "the dearly beloved of my soul" (v.7). The words "Me" and "My" occur 15x in the last eleven verses of chapter 12 (and 12x in v.7-11).
B. Blessing for Obedience, 12:14-17; (cp. 11:4,5)
  • The nations which have afflicted Israel will be punished and plucked (uprooted) out of Israel's land. v.14
  • Israel, which had been scattered among the nations, would be plucked (uprooted) out from among them, and restored to her land.
  • Israel will teach the ways of the Lord, with fervor like that of their present devotion to false gods. v.14b-15
  • The nations will learn the ways of the Lord from them. v.16,17
    • The gentiles who believe will be built in the midst of my people (cp. Eph 2:20,21; 1Pet 2:25).
    • Those who refuse to obey will suffer total destruction (cp. Isa 60:9-12).
    The expression "the ways of my people" encompasses the way of salvation which was committed to Israel, and which rests entirely on the Person and Work of the living God. (cp. Psa 68:20; Joh 4:22; Rom 9:4,5; Zech 9:9; Isa 2:3; 12:2,6)

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