Jeremiah 23* The restoration of the Jews to their own land. (1-8) Thewickedness of the priests and prophets of Judah, The peopleexhorted not to listen to false promises. (9-22) The pretendersto inspiration threatened. (23-32) Also the scoffers at trueprophecy. (33-40)1-8 Woe be to those who are set to feed God's people, but takeno concern to do them good! Here is a word of comfort to theneglected sheep. Though only a remnant of God's flock is left,he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their formerhabitations. Christ is spoken of as a branch from David'sfamily. He is righteous himself, and through him all his peopleare made righteous. Christ shall break the usurped power ofSatan. All the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and prayingJacob shall be protected, and shall be saved from the guilt anddominion of sin. In the days of Christ's government in the soul,the soul dwells at ease. He is here spoken of as "the Lord ourRighteousness." He is so our Righteousness as no creature couldbe. His obedience unto death is the justifying righteousness ofbelievers, and their title to heavenly happiness. And theirsanctification, as the source of all their personal obedience isthe effect of their union with him, and of the supply of thisSpirit. By this name every true believer shall call him, andcall upon him. We have nothing to plead but this, Christ hasdied, yea, rather is risen again; and we have taken him for ourLord. This righteousness which he has wrought out to thesatisfaction of law and justice, becomes ours; being a free giftgiven to us, through the Spirit of God, who puts it upon us,clothes us with it, enables us to lay hold upon it, and claim aninterest in it. "The Lord our Righteousness" is a sweet name toa convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of sin in hisconscience; seen his need of that righteousness, and the worthof it. This great salvation is far more glorious than all formerdeliverances of his church. May our souls be gathered to Him,and be found in him. 9-22 The false prophets of Samaria had deluded the Israelitesinto idolatries; yet the Lord considered the false prophets ofJerusalem as guilty of more horrible wickedness, by which thepeople were made bold in sin. These false teachers would becompelled to suffer the most bitter part of the Lord'sindignation. They made themselves believe that there was no harmin sin, and practised accordingly; then they made others believeso. Those who are resolved to go on in evil ways, will justly begiven up to believe strong delusions. But which of them hadreceived any revelation of God, or understood any thing of hisword? There was a time coming when they would reflect on theirfolly and unbelief with remorse. The teaching and example of thetrue prophets led men to repentance, faith, and righteousness.The false prophets led men to rest in forms and notions, and tobe quiet in their sins. Let us take heed that we do not followunrighteousness. 23-32 Men cannot be hidden from God's all-seeing eye. Will theynever see what judgments they prepare for themselves? Let themconsider what a vast difference there is between theseprophecies and those delivered by the true prophets of the Lord.Let them not call their foolish dreams Divine oracles. Thepromises of peace these prophets make are no more to be comparedto God's promises than chaff to wheat. The unhumbled heart ofman is like a rock; if not melted by the word of God as a fire,it will be broken to pieces by it as a hammer. How can they belong safe, or at all easy, who have a God of almighty poweragainst them? The word of God is no smooth, lulling, deceitfulmessage. And by its faithfulness it may certainly bedistinguished from false doctrines. 33-40 Those are miserable indeed who are forsaken and forgottenof God; and men's jesting at God's judgments will not bafflethem. God had taken Israel to be a people near to him, but theyshall now be cast out of his presence. It is a mark of great anddaring impiety for men to jest with the words of God. Every idleand profane word will add to the sinner's burden in the day ofjudgment, when everlasting shame will be his portion.
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