Jeremiah 29

* Two letters to the captives in Babylon; In the first, they are

recommended to be patient and composed. (1-19) In the second,

judgments are denounced against the false prophets who deceived

them. (20-32)

1-7 The written word of God is as truly given by inspiration

of God as his spoken word. The zealous servant of the Lord will

use every means to profit those who are far off, as well as

those who are near him. The art of writing is very profitable

for this end; and by the art of printing it is rendered most

beneficial for circulating the knowledge of the word of God.

God's sending to the captives by this letter would show that he

had not forsaken them, though he was displeased, and corrected

them. If they live in the fear of God, they may live comfortably

in Babylon. In all conditions of life, it is our wisdom and duty

not to throw away the comfort of what we may have, because we

have not all we would have. They are directed to seek the good

of the country where they were captives. While the king of

Babylon protected them, they must live quiet and peaceable lives

under him, in all godliness and honesty; patiently leaving it to

God to work deliverance for them in due time.
8-19 Let men beware how they call those prophets whom they

choose after their own fancies, and how they consider their

fancies and dreams to be revelations from God. False prophets

flatter people in their sins, because they love to be flattered;

and they speak smoothly to their prophets, that their prophets

may speak smoothly to them. God promises that they should return

after seventy years were accomplished. By this it appears, that

the seventy years of the captivity are not to be reckoned from

the last captivity, but the first. It will be the bringing to

pass of God's good word to them. This shall form God's purposes.

We often do not know our own minds, but the Lord is never at an

uncertainty. We are sometimes ready to fear that God's designs

are all against us; but as to his own people, even that which

seems evil, is for good. He will give them, not the expectations

of their fears, or the expectations of their fancies, but the

expectations of their faith; the end he has promised, which will

be the best for them. When the Lord pours out an especial spirit

of prayer, it is a good sign that he is coming toward us in

mercy. Promises are given to quicken and encourage prayer. He

never said, Seek ye me in vain. Those who remained at Jerusalem

would be utterly destroyed, notwithstanding what the false

prophets said to the contrary. The reason has often been given,

and it justifies the eternal ruin of impenitent sinners; Because

they have not hearkened to my words; I called, but they refused.
20-32 Jeremiah foretells judgments upon the false prophets, who

deceived the Jews in Babylon. Lying was bad; lying to the people

of the Lord, to delude them into a false hope, was worse; but

pretending to rest their own lies upon the God of truth, was

worst of all. They flattered others in their sins, because they

could not reprove them without condemning themselves. The most

secret sins are known to God; and there is a day coming when he

will bring to light all the hidden works of darkness. Shemaiah

urges the priests to persecute Jeremiah. Their hearts are

wretchedly hardened who justify doing mischief by having power

to do it. They were in a miserable thraldom for mocking the

messengers of the Lord, and misusing his prophets; yet in their

distress they trespass still more against the Lord. Afflictions

will not of themselves cure men of their sins, unless the grace

of God works with them. Those who slight the blessings, deserve

to lose the benefit of God's word, like Shemaiah. The

accusations against many active Christians in all ages, amount

to no more than this, that they earnestly counsel men to attend

to their true interest and duties, and to wait for the

performance of God's promises in his appointed way.

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