Jeremiah 11 - 12 - Outline of Jeremiah (Book Notes menu page)
Message on the Broken Covenant
I. The Words of the Covenant - 11:1-8
A. This Covenant (11:2,3,8)- is clearly defined as the Mosaic Covenant (11:4).
  • Israel had covenanted to obey God's Word, in Moses' day. Ex 19:5-8
  • But Israel, under the leadership of ungodly kings, had forgotten God's Word.
    During the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, the Book of the Law (the Torah, the five books of Moses) was rediscovered, in the process of Temple repairs. Josiah, taking God's Word to heart, had redirected the nation to serve the LORD. 2Kings ch. 22
  • Jeremiah delivered this message sometime after the nation had renewed 'this covenant,' in the days of Josiah. 2Kin 23:1-3
B. The Covenant consequences -
  1. Blessing, if you "obey... and do... all..." (11:4,5)
  2. Cursing, for disregard and disobedience of God's commands (11:3,8)
    Verse 3 is quoted in Gal 3:10, cp. Deu 27:26
    Jeremiah, agreeing with God's Word, said "Amen" {'So be it'} to these things (11:5b).
C. The Covenant responsibilities -
Hear and do (11:6)- cp. Rom 2:13; Jam 1:22
D. The Covenant peoples' response - (11:7,8)
Though the Lord had patiently reminded Israel of the Covenant, they had 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): ...among the men 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. (While Josiah served the Lord with his whole heart, the nation did not 2Kin 23:25,26; 2Chr 34:31-33.) 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 (11:9).
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. (11:14; cp. Jer 7:16; 1Joh 5:16)
  • Their sacrifices were not acceptable (11:15).
    The "holy flesh," which they offered, was unacceptable because their hearts were unclean. cp. Jer 7:21-23; Hag 2:11-14)
  • They were disconnected from the tree of life and blessing (11:16; cp. Rom 11:17; Psa 52:8)
  • Yet, though their sins forced Him to "pronounce evil against thee" (11:17), His heart still yearns for them, calling them "My beloved" (11:15).
III. The Conspiracy against Jeremiah - to silence the Covenant Preacher (11:18-23)
  • 11:18,19a - This conspiracy was also revealed to Jeremiah, by the Lord.
    The threat to the prophet suggests that King Josiah had died, since he would have protected the Lord's servant.
  • 11:19,21 - The goal of the conspiracy was to kill Jeremiah,
    or, through threat of death, to prevent him from proclaiming God's Word.
  • 11:21 - The source of the conspiracy was the men of Anathoth, a city of priests, 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 by his home town (Luk 4:16-30).
  • 11:20-23 - Jeremiah's prayer, for vengeance against his enemies, sought one purpose: 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, and of their conspiracy against Him and His prophet. The Lord would soon visit them with death and captivity, at the hands of an enemy. cp. Jer 9:9-11
IV. The Covenant Preacher's Question (12:1-6)
A. His Preface (12:1a) - 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 (12:1b-2) - "Why do the wicked prosper?"
(An age old question of godly men. cp. Job 21:7-15; Psa 73:3-7)
C. His Suggestions -
  • Judge my enemies as they were intending to judge me (sheep to the slaughter, 12:3, cp. 11:19).
  • Judge them for the distress they are bringing upon the nation (12:4).
    The land would suffer the consequences of the nation's wickedness, because they rejected the prophet's message... and thought that by eliminating the messenger, the outcome which he predicted would not appear.
D. The LORD's Answer (12:5,6) -
  • Brace yourself, things will get worse (12:5).-
    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. These increasing difficulties are compared to "the swelling of the Jordan" which refers either to the Jordan river at flood stage, or, to the flood plain as an uninhabited wilderness full of wild animals (eg., Jer 49:19; 50:44).
  • Your own family is leading the conspiracy against you (12:6).-
    The revelation of this detail emphasized the increasing depth of opposition that Jeremiah would face. (cp. Jesus' rejection, Psa 69:7-9; 41:9)
V. Covenant Consequences Applied (12:7-17)
In the remainder of the chapter, the Lord continues to answer Jeremiah.
Because the nation has rejected the Lord (not to mention His prophet), they will be rejected... but not forever.
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 (12:8).
    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).
    In 12:7, the Lord confesses His great love for Israel, and His great pain at her necessary punishment.
  • Israel had persecuted God's prophets for nonconformity.
    The nations would attack them as outcasts, who do not fit in among them. 12:9 (cp. Num 23:9)
  • Israel's pastors (tenders of God's flock and land) had destroyed them from within (because no man took God's Word to heart, 12:10,11).
    Therefore, God would send many outside 'spoilers' {harrowers} (the enemy nations), to plough the land until the destruction was complete. 12:12
  • 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 (12:13).
  • 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" (12:7).
    The pronouns "I, Me, My, and Mine" occur 16x, in 12:7-11, in regard to His need to punish His people. They occur at least 11x, in 12:14-17, in regard to His purpose to restore Israel, and to punish their enemies.
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. 12:14
  • Israel, which had been scattered among the nations,
    will be plucked (uprooted) out from among the nations, and restored to her land. 12:14b-15
  • The nations will learn the ways of the Lord from His restored people, Israel. 12:16,17
    • The gentiles, who believe and serve the Lord, will "be built in the midst of my people" (cp. Eph 2:8-22; 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 obedience to the Word of God which He committed to Israel, and also obedience to the Way of Salvation which He accomplished through the Seed of Abraham, Israel's Messiah (See Psa 68:20; Joh 4:22; Rom 9:4,5; Zech 9:9; Isa 2:3; 12:2,6). This salvation rests entirely upon the Person and Work of the living God, whom to know is life eternal (Jer 9:23,24; Joh 17:3).

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