Jeremiah 29* Two letters to the captives in Babylon; In the first, they arerecommended to be patient and composed. (1-19) In the second,judgments are denounced against the false prophets who deceivedthem. (20-32)1-7 The written word of God is as truly given by inspirationof God as his spoken word. The zealous servant of the Lord willuse every means to profit those who are far off, as well asthose who are near him. The art of writing is very profitablefor this end; and by the art of printing it is rendered mostbeneficial for circulating the knowledge of the word of God.God's sending to the captives by this letter would show that hehad not forsaken them, though he was displeased, and correctedthem. If they live in the fear of God, they may live comfortablyin Babylon. In all conditions of life, it is our wisdom and dutynot to throw away the comfort of what we may have, because wehave not all we would have. They are directed to seek the goodof the country where they were captives. While the king ofBabylon protected them, they must live quiet and peaceable livesunder him, in all godliness and honesty; patiently leaving it toGod to work deliverance for them in due time. 8-19 Let men beware how they call those prophets whom theychoose after their own fancies, and how they consider theirfancies and dreams to be revelations from God. False prophetsflatter people in their sins, because they love to be flattered;and they speak smoothly to their prophets, that their prophetsmay speak smoothly to them. God promises that they should returnafter seventy years were accomplished. By this it appears, thatthe seventy years of the captivity are not to be reckoned fromthe last captivity, but the first. It will be the bringing topass 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 anuncertainty. We are sometimes ready to fear that God's designsare all against us; but as to his own people, even that whichseems evil, is for good. He will give them, not the expectationsof their fears, or the expectations of their fancies, but theexpectations of their faith; the end he has promised, which willbe the best for them. When the Lord pours out an especial spiritof prayer, it is a good sign that he is coming toward us inmercy. Promises are given to quicken and encourage prayer. Henever said, Seek ye me in vain. Those who remained at Jerusalemwould be utterly destroyed, notwithstanding what the falseprophets said to the contrary. The reason has often been given,and it justifies the eternal ruin of impenitent sinners; Becausethey have not hearkened to my words; I called, but they refused. 20-32 Jeremiah foretells judgments upon the false prophets, whodeceived the Jews in Babylon. Lying was bad; lying to the peopleof the Lord, to delude them into a false hope, was worse; butpretending to rest their own lies upon the God of truth, wasworst of all. They flattered others in their sins, because theycould not reprove them without condemning themselves. The mostsecret sins are known to God; and there is a day coming when hewill bring to light all the hidden works of darkness. Shemaiahurges the priests to persecute Jeremiah. Their hearts arewretchedly hardened who justify doing mischief by having powerto do it. They were in a miserable thraldom for mocking themessengers of the Lord, and misusing his prophets; yet in theirdistress they trespass still more against the Lord. Afflictionswill not of themselves cure men of their sins, unless the graceof God works with them. Those who slight the blessings, deserveto lose the benefit of God's word, like Shemaiah. Theaccusations against many active Christians in all ages, amountto no more than this, that they earnestly counsel men to attendto their true interest and duties, and to wait for theperformance of God's promises in his appointed way.
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