Jeremiah 23

* The restoration of the Jews to their own land. (1-8) The

wickedness of the priests and prophets of Judah, The people

exhorted not to listen to false promises. (9-22) The pretenders

to inspiration threatened. (23-32) Also the scoffers at true

prophecy. (33-40)

1-8 Woe be to those who are set to feed God's people, but take

no concern to do them good! Here is a word of comfort to the

neglected sheep. Though only a remnant of God's flock is left,

he will find them out, and they shall be brought to their former

habitations. Christ is spoken of as a branch from David's

family. He is righteous himself, and through him all his people

are made righteous. Christ shall break the usurped power of

Satan. All the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying

Jacob shall be protected, and shall be saved from the guilt and

dominion 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 our

Righteousness." He is so our Righteousness as no creature could

be. His obedience unto death is the justifying righteousness of

believers, and their title to heavenly happiness. And their

sanctification, as the source of all their personal obedience is

the effect of their union with him, and of the supply of this

Spirit. By this name every true believer shall call him, and

call upon him. We have nothing to plead but this, Christ has

died, yea, rather is risen again; and we have taken him for our

Lord. This righteousness which he has wrought out to the

satisfaction of law and justice, becomes ours; being a free gift

given 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 an

interest in it. "The Lord our Righteousness" is a sweet name to

a convinced sinner; to one that has felt the guilt of sin in his

conscience; seen his need of that righteousness, and the worth

of it. This great salvation is far more glorious than all former

deliverances 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 Israelites

into idolatries; yet the Lord considered the false prophets of

Jerusalem as guilty of more horrible wickedness, by which the

people were made bold in sin. These false teachers would be

compelled to suffer the most bitter part of the Lord's

indignation. They made themselves believe that there was no harm

in sin, and practised accordingly; then they made others believe

so. Those who are resolved to go on in evil ways, will justly be

given up to believe strong delusions. But which of them had

received any revelation of God, or understood any thing of his

word? There was a time coming when they would reflect on their

folly and unbelief with remorse. The teaching and example of the

true prophets led men to repentance, faith, and righteousness.

The false prophets led men to rest in forms and notions, and to

be quiet in their sins. Let us take heed that we do not follow

unrighteousness.
23-32 Men cannot be hidden from God's all-seeing eye. Will they

never see what judgments they prepare for themselves? Let them

consider what a vast difference there is between these

prophecies and those delivered by the true prophets of the Lord.

Let them not call their foolish dreams Divine oracles. The

promises of peace these prophets make are no more to be compared

to God's promises than chaff to wheat. The unhumbled heart of

man 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 be

long safe, or at all easy, who have a God of almighty power

against them? The word of God is no smooth, lulling, deceitful

message. And by its faithfulness it may certainly be

distinguished from false doctrines.
33-40 Those are miserable indeed who are forsaken and forgotten

of God; and men's jesting at God's judgments will not baffle

them. God had taken Israel to be a people near to him, but they

shall now be cast out of his presence. It is a mark of great and

daring impiety for men to jest with the words of God. Every idle

and profane word will add to the sinner's burden in the day of

judgment, when everlasting shame will be his portion.

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