Jeremiah – Chapter 10

Editor’s Note: We are posting chapter 10 of Jeremiah ahead of earlier chapters for two reasons. One is that Jeremiah in and of itself is not written in a chronological order. Second and most importantly is opportunity. We have just past the Christmas season and Jeremiah 10 is sometimes used as an anti-Christmas tree chapter. We want to explain the fallacy of such nonsense.

Jeremiah Chapter 10

This is the passage from which some so-called bible scholars claim that a Christmas tree in the home is significantly similar to a wooden idol. Specifically these men and women quote Jeremiah 10:3, 4 as their supporting bible evidence.

Jer 10:3  “Their [see v2] religion is worthless! They chop down a tree, carve the wood into an idol, [v4] cover it with silver and gold, and then nail it down so it won’t fall over.” 

“Chop down a tree? Cover it with silver and gold? Nail it down so it won’t fall over..?

This is a good example of OUT OF CONTEXT, highly spiritualized conclusion, and a slight of words. Every scripture must be taken within context. Verse 1 specifically calls to the attention of Israel to not be like their neighbors. Let’s take a quick look at the argument that Christmas trees are somehow included in this passage.julies-tree

If we put anything, yes, ANYTHING before God, it is called a god or idol in His eyesight. Most Christians have no problem separating a fictional Santa, Elves, and a form of decoration from the celebrated birthdate of Jesus. Fact is, He wasn’t even born on this date.

To chop down a tree… This in and of itself has no connection with the content and intent of this passage through the eyes of Jeremiah and many other prophets who discuss the wrongs of idol worship. The Ark of the Covenant was made from Acacia wood the covered with silver and bronze [Exodus 35:24]; massive amounts of cedar wood was imported from Tyre to construct Solomon’s Temple and parts covered with gold (1 Kings 6:19-21);

One researcher has noted, “This wood [acacia] is resistant to decay because the tree deposits in the heartwood many waste substances which are preservatives and render the wood unpalatable to insects making the wood dense and difficult to be penetrated by water and other decay agents.” (Source:

In one sense this would make for the ideal wood from which to make a longer lasting idol. It is resistant to rot, insects, strong and long-lasting. Much of the acacia, cedar, and juniper wood used to build the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant was covered with silver and gold. Did the priests of Israel bring Israelis to the wood, stone and jeweled Temple to worship the building itself? There is no scripture to support such a thought yet alone make it a supposition.

Cover it with silver and gold We have already discussed the extensive use of silver, bronze, and gold in the building of the Temple and the Ark of the Covenant. Putting silver tinsel and shinning ornaments on a Christmas tree is the same as a person wearing decorative jewelry. That does not make it or them an idol. Ezekiel, Proverbs, 1 Peter, Job, 1 Corinthians, Zechariah, Psalms, Matthew, Lamentation (another book written by Jeremiah) all discuss gold and its use.

Nail it down so it won’t fall over… How else does one keep a piece of wood standing upright? The last house I built was nailed and bolted to the ground, concrete, and wood framing. This does not make it an idol as described in Jeremiah 10:2 & 3. Even if one stands around the Christmas tree and sings the song “Oh Christmas tree” does not make it an idol. Only when and if that replaces God in one’s heart as an item of their affection and is first in their heart does it border becoming a Christmas idol and a worship song. Even if we “nail it down” in some sort of a tree stand in our house, what do we do after the season is over? Throw it out!!!! Who throws out an idol of worship?

We must ask here, where in the bible does God or Jesus say to set aside ONE DAY a year to celebrate his birthday? There is no such passage. We are to celebrate Him every day, in every way, with all of our might [Psalms 100:1, John 4:24, Matthew 22:37]. This is not to suggest that a given day of SPECIAL HONOR is wrong. What is wrong is limiting it to this one time a year.

Now, for the rest of the history and future prophecies found in Jeremiah 10…

V6 & 7 proclaims the greatness of God. This is in contrast with the idols the people of Judah is now guilty of worshiping. Idols are made by man, carried by man, taken care of by man, put in place by man, and they do not listen or speak. As Jeremiah describes it in verse 5… “They are like scarecrows in a cucumber field.” This passage is not understood by many as it is two-fold. The scarecrow part is obvious. This is the scary thing that flops according to the wind and keeps out the birds of opportunity. But, why did Jeremiah use the cucumber as the vegetable of choice? This is symbolic of fools who prostrate before the scarecrow; cucumbers bowing before a scarecrow; the cucumber represents the people of Judah; any who bow before a worthless manmade thing.

We have stated it before in our studies of Daniel and Revelation. Today’s church is too often similar. People celebrate the catchy song and lyrics; the dancing around in the building; self-emulation; the experience more than the worship; the beverage spill on the vestibule floor is of greater concern than is the soul of their neighbor; getting out of church on time; political correctness over truth; making god to their liking instead of fearing God who created them giving them life and breath.

The Coffman Commentary on Jeremiah 10 is simple and a good overview of Jeremiah 10 siply put in one sentence. “The true God contrasted with idols.” We could leave it at that if we didn’t need to have Jeremiah’s words from 2600 years ago explained. So we continue…

Jeremiah 10:11 is a mystery or enigma, not in its message but in how it is written. This is the one verse in the Book of Jeremiah written in Aramaic. This verse stands alone as a “one-verse paragraph” in the Masoretic text. True and well-intending bible scholars have debated the reason for this for years. This website will only add a thought. We call it JIV: Jim’s Introspective View. We report; you decide.

Sometimes in a given language it is difficult to express one’s point using their native tongue. In English we often hear the phrase “Quid Pro Quo.” Why? The English version of the message being conveyed would be much longer explaining what is meant by using this Latin term. It is a great pre-verse 12 statement and exenterates the radical and necessary reason for removing idols (disembowel the home of idols). These “things” did not create the world as we know it. Only God created all things. Even the idols themselves are made from things God created back in Genesis. Verse 11 and 12 are opposites but the Aramaic in in Jeremiah 10:11 helps to contrast Jeremiah 10:12. It may also be in Aramaic as it is a message to the world. Just as Daniel is written first half in Aramaic and second half in Hebrew; the intended audiences are different.

hand carving buddha's image.The CEV translation says in 10:14… People who make idols are so stupid! They will be disappointed, because their false gods are not alive. Other translations are just as brutal in translating verse 14. How can one believe that something s/he makes is somehow better or superior to the one who makes it? In a sense and if it is true, the Amish build fabulous furniture. No question here. However, they deliberately build a flaw into every piece. Why? No one is perfect but God. The sad irony or insincerity is… the Amish think they must include a man made flaw in their furniture. This means they must be under the false impression that they are capable of building something to such perfection it is greater or equal to what God creates.

Verse 17 begins a new paragraph but not a new chapter. Jeremiah is changing thoughts at this point. He is telling those inhabitants of Judah, mostly Jews but also some from other Tribes of Israel, to prepare to be moved… “…gather up your things as you are surrounded” and about to be take into your 70 year captivity in Babylon. In a very real way, the rest of chapter 10 is not only describing the fate of Judah but of all Israel. Below is the rest of chapter 10. Read it with the idea that there is more than just Judah being described. It speaks in the past-tense yet Judah has not yet been overrun by the Babylonians.

CEV (Contemporary English Version): 

Jer 10:19  The people answered, “We are wounded and doomed to die. Why did we say we could stand the pain?

Jer 10:20  Our homes are destroyed; our children are dead. No one is left to help us find shelter.”

Jer 10:21  But I told them, “Our leaders were stupid failures, because they refused to listen to the LORD. And so we’ve been scattered like sheep.

Jer 10:22  “Sounds of destruction rumble from the north like distant thunder. Soon our towns will be ruins where jackals live.”

Jer 10:23  I know, LORD, that we humans are not in control of our own lives.

Jer 10:24  Correct me, as I deserve, but not in your anger, or I will be dead.

Jer 10:25  Our enemies refuse to admit that you are God or to worship you. They have wiped out our people and left our nation lying in ruins. So get angry and sweep them away!

The past tense is the tell-tale sign that not only is this passage a change in thoughts, therefore a new paragraph, but a twofold prophetic application; i.e. a now and a future application. This is Jeremiah once again prophesying into a history that has yet to be fulfilled. This is also End Time prophecy per the Great Tribulation; Jacobs Trouble [Jeremiah 30:7].

Verse 25 is worthy of a short additional thought. “Our enemies refuse to admit you are God…” How ironic that those in Judah at this time are guilty of the same thing. We know this from reading the first few verses in Jeremiah 10 and the very first chapters already posted in this website. They meaning all of Judah to the person are GUILTY [Jeremiah 4:21]. This is what kindled God’s anger against his chosen people Israel. First it was the Northern Kingdom of Israel and now the southern Kingdom of Judah. In the coming End Time it will be global (anti-Christ).

“They have wiped out our people and left the nation in ruins.” [CEV; v25]. The ERV is more inclusive in this verse. It is the reason we encourage readers to use more than one translation and commentary in his or her bible studies. The English Standard Version puts verse 25 this way:

Pour out your wrath on the nations that know you not, and on the peoples that call not on your name, for they have devoured Jacob; they have devoured him and consumed him, and have laid waste his habitation.

Jeremiah is not speaking to the yet-to-be-captive people of Judah in verse 25, but to the world of haters or rejecters of God and anti-Semitists. Daniel and Revelation deal with this as will Jeremiah in later
chapters. We are headed that way in this study. An added thought to help one’s personal studies. Verse 25 is a reason to not take one translation as a stand-alone study bible. The CEV dminiJimoes not include the phrase “and upon the families that call not on thy name.” The phrase “and families” is better explained in Zechariah 14.

Rev Dr. Jstark

December 2016

Jeremiah – Chapter 4

“If thou wilt [KJV & the JPS; Jewish Publication Society]….” are the opening words of chapter 4. There is not a single covenant or promise in the bible not prefaced with something ifsimilar to “IF THOU WILT,” then the condition of what it is God expects in return for his extra blessings. If we commit, then God will commit. If we don’t commit, then God is not held to a different standard since it is HIM who sets the standards; not the other way around.

Jeremiah had the same message to both the dispersed throughout the known world Tribes of the Northern Kingdom and the still existing Kingdom of Judah. Although Jeremiah already knew the people, leaders, King and Synagogue members would not listen, he still carried the message. We are not called to save souls, but to share the Word of God and our testimony.

As the CEV translation puts it in 4:1… The LORD said: Israel, if you really want to come back to me, get rid of those disgusting idols.

The ESV translation says… “If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver,…”

No matter how it is translated it boils down to If we; then HE will…! But, Jeremiah 4:2 does not stop there. He explains the credentials of the Lord: swear to the Lord who lives, is truth, is just in judgment, and righteous, [then back up to the last sentence of verse 1] then shalt thou not [be] remove[d]. Judah is facing the fact that Babylon is on the move and conquering the nation-states around them. Once they were subject to Assyria but Nabopolassar, King of a re-established Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar’s father, defeated Assyria in 609 B.C. (secular records). Nebuchadnezzar later conquered Judah in two separate stages; 597 B.C. and 587 B.C. He reduced the population of Judah each time. People like Ezekiel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego went with the first deportation.

NOTE: Parts of Assyria and Babylon fall within and overlap modern day borders of Iraq. The reader should keep in mind that all Israelis are Semitic, but not all Semites are Israelis. Abraham had other sons through Keturah [Genesis 25:1] and we must not forget Ishmael. His descendants are also Semite but today we know them as Arabs.

shovel in the ground in the vegetable garden, on a background of green onions

Break up the fallow ground

Verse 3 of chapter 4 actually begins a new paragraph. Jeremiah changes thoughts. “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.”   The next several verses explain what Jeremiah is telling the leaders of Judah. At verse 7 he explains the consequences and prophecy of not “breaking up the fallow ground.” We might say in modern terminology in 7-9, the alarm clock has been set. Choice is still available for the people and leadership of the Kingdom of Judah but it is either/or and no neutral choice. In verse 7 we read that “the destroyer of the Gentiles” is about to descend upon Judah; i.e. Nebopolassar conquered the Gentile nations then his son, Nebuchadnezzar captured and deported Judea/Jerusalem.

Jeremiah, a true prophet of God, and those who called themselves prophets but were not of God and falsely tickled the ears of the king of Judah, had many run-ins and collision courses. We will learn more about these as we progress through Jeremiah. Jeremiah 4:10 sets the stage for this and is a point in history where Jeremiah himself challenges God… “LORD God. You have not told the truth to the people in Judah and in Jerusalem. You have told them, “You will have peace”. But soon the sword will kill us.’ Jeremiah is looking back at previous and historical promises (covenants) God made with His chosen people and to what the false prophets were saying (Jeremiah 6:13,14). Simply put and as already pointed out in our opening paragraph, Judah did not stay faithful to God, so God no longer was held to his promise of safety. In simple terms, it is similar to one breaking a treaty. Once an agreement is violated, then the other party is no longer held to his agreement or terms.

For the student of Middle East studies and bible history, this website gives a great brief perspective.

The circumcision of the heart referred to in verse 4 is explained in verse 14… (ESV) “wash (circumcise) your sins from your heart.” Verse 13-18 goes back 120 years; a reminder that what God did to the Kingdom of Israel, the ten northern tribes, is about to happen to Judah and the now absorbed Tribe of Benjamin. See verse 15 for the specific identity where often the Tribe of Ephraim is synonymous with an identity of the northern tribes.

At verse 19 we once again get a change in Jeremiah’s topics or paragraphs. This verse is a bit like one with a bad case of the flu and one’s abdomen is telling him or her there is cause for great alarm. No time remaining to consider alternative solutions. To carry this further, verse 20 where it reads “SPOILED” one could just as easily have used the analogy from the flu and insert “SOILED.” Gross? Yes, but the truth is not to be denied. “IN A MOMENT” (4:20b) says God through Jeremiah.

At verse 23, then continuing through verse 29, Jeremiah goes back to Genesis 1:2. With this retreat, he prophecies forward to Luke 21:5-38, the book of Revelation, and the Book of Daniel when the mountains tremble, the birds flee, Jerusalem being in total chaos. God uses a vision and example of this end time event back in Jeremiah 1:13-15. It happened in 587 B.C. and will repeat itself during the Apocalypse of the Tribulation.

Verse 27 is a one-way promise from God himself. It is true of this time in scripture and of End Time as also portrayed in scripture. Similar to Daniel 11 if one wishes to do a bit of self-study.

“This is what the LORD says,

‘I will destroy the country.

But I will not destroy the whole country.”

Verse 30 of Jeremiah 4 is very pronounced and profound. Both the Northern Kingdom of Israel (sometimes referred to as Joseph; i.e. Ephraim his eldest son from Egypt) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah are referred to as the “wife of God.” The website found at is a good source for additional information per Israel as a whole being identified as a wife (of sorts) to God. Exodus 19:5 (through 8) is sometimes referred to as the “wedding vows between God and Israel. Exodus 19:5 is God’s vow and Exodus 19:8 is Israel’s vow.

Exodus 19:5  “…you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples,…”  (husband’s vow

Exodus 19:8 “…All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” (a wife’s reply)

Also look back at Jeremiah 3:8.

We can summarize this portion of our study in Jeremiah 4 with the words of Hilda Bright, a blogger and studied individual. She uses the Easy English Bible and commentary. The following are her words commenting on verse 28 through end of this chapter (v31).

Verse 28 Jeremiah describes the earth as a person who is sad. The sky becomes black because the light has gone (verse 23).

Verses 29-31 The people in Judah heard the enemy coming nearer. So the people ran away. They were afraid of the arrows that the enemy used. The people in Judah tried to find safe places to hide. They went into the woods and into caves in the cliffs (Isaiah 2:19). Jeremiah describes how Judah tried desperately to be at peace with the enemy. He describes Judah like a prostitute. The prostitute puts on bright clothes. She paints on a black powder round her eyes. It makes her eyes look larger and more attractive. But it was no use for Judah to make herself look beautiful. Judah’s ‘lovers’ were Egypt and Assyria or Babylon. But they hated Judah and they wanted to kill her.miniJim

Rev. Dr. Jstark – December 2016




Source Date Events
2 Kgs 25:1; Ezek 24:1-2 10 Tebeth =
27 Jan 589 BC
Beginning of final siege.
Jer 34: 8-10 1 Tishri =
29 Sep 588
Release of Hebrew slaves at beginning of a Sabbatical year.
Jer 34:11-22; 37:5-16 Between Tishri 588 &
Nisan 587 = Oct 588 to Apr 587
Babylonians temporarily lift siege due to approach of Egyptian army. Slaves taken back. Jeremiah arrested as he attempts to go to Anathoth.
Jer 34:22; Ezek 30:20-21 7 Nisan =
29 Apr 587
Egyptians defeated. Siege resumes.
2 Kgs 25:2-4; Jer 39:2, 52:7;
Ezek 33:21, 40:1
9 Tammuz =
29 Jul 587
Wall breached. Zedekiah captured.
2 Kgs 25:8 7 Ab =
25 Aug 587
Nebuzaradan arrives at Jerusalem (cf. Jonah 3:3) from Riblah in Hamath and begins consultation with commanders in the field regarding the pillaging of the city.
2 Kgs 25:9-19; 2 Chr 36:18-19;
Jer 52:12-25
10 Ab =
28 Aug 587
Nebuzaradan leads forces into Jerusalem (cf. Jonah 3:4) to pillage, destroy, and burn the city and its temple.


Jeremiah – Chapter 3

This book tells us not only of the immediate future of Judah, but end time for all including the dispersed ten tribes of the northern kingdom. However, the first verse in Jeremiah 3 has an application per some translations that can send one off with the wrong emphasis. It has a parallel meaning to what Jeremiah is being told by God.

Jeremiah begins with something the Judeans and all of the Israelites already know about Hebrew law therefore comparing it to them as a people chosen of God to be his *special people, like a wife. He IS NOT talking or making an emphasis per marriage between a man and woman but is using it as a platform to help them understand (see the learning pyramid in this website) via their current knowledge of the Law. [Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding…]

*Jesus uses the same analogy with the church of the New Testament; i.e. the church being the bride of Christ. This is addressed in greater detail in previous articles published on this website. Israel, all of the Tribes, is the bride of God.

Gavel Divorce Paper Decree Front
SUPPOSE that a man divorces his wife, then she marries another man. According to the Law of Moses, her first husband cannot return to her without defiling her second marriage. (Paraphrased). The second half of verse 1 states… “People in Israel, you have lived like a prostitute. You have loved many false gods. So do you think that you can return to me now?’ asks the LORD.”

Jeremiah then makes the analogy of Israel (Judah included) living like a prostitute.  They have taken in other gods of wood, stone, religion, all while giving very limited lip service to the monotheistic God of Judaism. Judah, even more so than did the Northern Kingdom of Israel, made alliances with other nations (kingdoms) to protect them or join them in a defense without consulting God as to their decisions to do so. They put their lives in the hands of other men and kingdoms rather than in the hands of God. In verses 4 and 5 Judah calls out to God as if they “really didn’t mean to leave him. Please get over your anger so we can be rescued from these men (other kingdoms) who wish to abuse us.” This has some rather strong resemblances to being a fox-hole Christian.

This was simply a repeated plea from the Israelites after each time of separation from their God and desperate moments (might this sound familiar personally?). If wanting to dig a bit deeper in your studies, go to the Book of Hosea and read it. You will find a brief outline of Hosea in a graphic form on the next page. Hosea actually married a prostitute and was commanded by God to do so. It was an example of things to come regarding Israel. Jeremiah is pointing back to Hosea in his analysis and warnings. Hosea was a prophet in the Northern Kingdom which by the time of Jeremiah, it no longer existed.

What Jeremiah is actually saying in these early verses of chapter 3 is: “oh Israel and Judah. You are my [God’s] wife who lived as a prostitute with other nations instead of depending on me. Do not expect me to simply dismiss your intentional acts of ungodliness. I will forgive in the end as promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but there will be a price to pay for your actions.” The oddity found in verse 11 is that God sees Judah as worse than their kindred northern cousins, long since these 10 tribes being dispersed and ceasing to exist as a kingdom after the Assyrians conquered them.

Judah had some good kings.  The northern ten tribes basically had un-Godly kings. So how might one justify God’s attitude per these cousins but two different kingdoms, that is, Israel being the worse of the 12 divided Tribes of Israel but lasting longer as a kingdom? It is not really that difficult. Judah too had several backslidden kings including child sacrifices. But the real taker is that 100 plus years earlier, the southern kingdom saw what God allowed to happen to the northern kingdom as judgment for their sins and did not learn from it. It is much like attitudes of people today when we think “it won’t happen to me.” Back up to verse 10; “they only pretend to worship or be loyal to me.”

Sunday only Christians… beware and leery of our own thoughts that Sunday attendance and desperation moments are evidence enough so that God thinks we have been loyal to him. Jeremiah 3:12 & 13 is a promise of fascinating reassurance. It reads:

V12 Go. Announce this message to the people who are in the north.

‘Israel, you have not been loyal’, declares the LORD.

‘Return to me.

I will not frown on you any longer.

I am kind and I am willing to forgive’,

declares the LORD.

‘I will not be angry for always.

v13  You must [first] admit that you are guilty.

You have refused to obey the LORD your God.

You have loved false gods everywhere.

You have worshipped them under every green tree.

You have not obeyed me’, declares the LORD.

“Return to me.” Even though the ten tribes in the north are at this time scattered throughout the known world, they can return to God in their hearts. This has still to happen even though Daniel, a student of Jeremiah’s writings, offered a prayer of confession for Israel as a nation from his captivity in Babylon [Daniel 9:1-19]. God says “I am willing to forgive.”

His one-person prayer may or may not be the confession God is seeking. Time will tell. However, in verse 13 of Jeremiah 3 we also read, “You must admit that you are guilty.” Daniel admits it, but what about the other millions of dispersed Israelites who by now have possibly forgotten that they are descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (renamed Israel)? The next line reads, “You have refused to obey the LORD your God.” It is more than confession but it also means a life lived IN GOD, just as the New Testament tells us [2 Corinthians 5:15] that we are to live IN JESUS. That means Christianity is a way of life; not just a religion. Just as true today with the lost ten Tribes of Israel, far too many Sunday Christians don’t get or don’t want this to be a condition of their salvation.

Adam Clark has one of the best commentary explanations for Jeremiah 3:14. He writes: 

“I will take you one of a city, and two of a family” – [Clark] If there should be but one of a city left, or one willing to return, and two only of a whole tribe, yet will I receive these, and bring them back from captivity into their own land.

In other words, a confession of one or two within a given family of Israel is possibly good enough for God to welcome back the entire tribe. This makes Daniel’s prayer in Danial 9 very significant. JIV NOTE: It can be noted that some commentaries simply skip past this verse therefore avoiding comment and commitment to what God is saying through Jeremiah. The answer is actually found in Jeremiah 31… (CEV) “Oh Israel, I [God] promise [to covenant] that someday ALL YOUR TRIBES will again be my people.”

NOTE: We are running out of blog space and reader patience, but Jeremiah 3:19-25 should not be skipped. (CEV; Contemporary English Version)

Jer 3:19  I have always wanted to treat you as my children and give you the best land, the most beautiful on earth. I wanted you to call me “Father” and not turn from me.

Jer 3:20  But instead, you are like a wife who broke her wedding vows. You have been unfaithful to me. I, the LORD, have spoken.

Jer 3:21  Listen to the noise on the hilltops! It’s the people of Israel, weeping and begging me to answer their prayers. They forgot about me and chose the wrong path.

Jer 3:22  I will tell them, “Come back, and I will cure you of your unfaithfulness.” They will answer, “We will come back, because you are the LORD our God.

Jer 3:23  On hilltops, we worshiped idols and made loud noises, but it was all for nothing– only you can save us.

Jer 3:24  Since the days of our ancestors when our nation was young, that shameful god Baal has taken our crops and livestock, our sons and daughters.

Jer 3:25  We have rebelled against you just like our ancestors, and we are ashamed of our sins.”

fulltimeWhat a conclusion for chapter 3; a true confession of guilt and a full-time return to honoring God as the one and only god. This means putting into second place all other things in life. Israel will eventually do just that. Though Israel today is basically populated and established by those few who descend from those who returned (536 B.C.) from captivity in Babylon, a time will come when they will be called from the four corners of the earth and return in mass to a nations with Jesus on the throne. It is verse 22 that is critical. God says, “I will tell them to come back…”

This is very likely to be an event that immediately follows the second advent of Christ when he returns to set up his millennial kingdom. Why? The compelling words are COME BACK, not go back. God and Jesus are already there setting up this Kingdom.miniJim

Finding Waldo

One of the things that I enjoy doing is watching people. As my wife winds her way Rev Paul Hoffmasterthrough the grocery aisles, I secure a seat near the check out and begin my observation routine. Actually, what I do is play a little game. The object of my fantasy experiment is to guess if someone is a Christian or not. I know this might seem to border on judgment, but it is just a game with no ill intent. I realize there is no way to confirm my “guess,” outside of asking them directly, but it is fun to speculate and I do have a 50/50 chance to be right. One might ask what is my criteria for arriving at my unscientific conclusion? It is very simple, all I do is observe them. There is their facial expression, body language, and verbalage. Do they look like they have just swallowed a lemon slice or a candy bar? Do they ambulate confidence or uncertainty? Do their words show negativity or positiveness? Now, to put all these things in the right perspective, in such a short time, is to guarantee that the results will be flawed. Critics of my game will say that I don’t know the unobserved facts in each individual. That is true, but I know what the Scripture says about the Christian life style and the light that every Christian should display. I believe that the face is the window of man’s inner being. The face displays the workings of the soul and spirit.
During Christmas, children will be jumping with joy and excitement as they open their presents and gifts. Should not adults show their excitement of God’s greatest gift to mankind, and not just during this traditional time, but throughout the year? Words are the audio of the soul and spirit. What comes out of our mouth identifies and locates what and who is motivating us. Are we promoting self or the One who gave His life that we may know God?
As I play my game, I am finding it more difficult to identify Christians. Oh, I image there are “secret service” Believers, but seeing light-shinning and salt-shaking Believers is becoming a difficult task. There have been a number of times that I thought about giving up my game for it is not fun looking for spiritual Waldo anymore. I would have a better chance of finding a Believer by flipping a coin.
The world believes with their eyes. What they see determines what they will accept or reject. Materialism all dressed up in propaganda has a tremendous influence on people. People are drawn to things that they believe will bring them happiness and contentment. The advertisement conglomerates know how to draw people to their product. The parable of the Unjust Steward carries a classical phrase which states, “…for the children of this world, are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8) The greatest advertisement that the Church can present is the Believer himself! We should be a walking, talking, living example of the One whom we represent. When we go out in public, we are a “billboard” for the Kingdom of God. So many Christians believe we are in the last days. That means we are facing the imminent return of Jesus. If that is so, instead of sitting on the rapture runway with our bags packed, should we not be concerned about the lost? Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Christians are entertaining the flocks with dressed up activities, while people are facing eternity without hope.
Let our face identify our assurance. Let us walk with resolve. Let us speak of the hope of our calling. What the world sees will have a greater affect than our cars in our church parking lots.
Recording artist Don Francisco wrote a chorus years ago that simply says, “I got to tell somebody what Jesus did for me.” It is time for all of us to face up, stand up and speak up. I look forward to the day when I will stop playing my game, for spiritual Waldo will be in plain sight!

Jeremiah – Chapter 2

Jeremiah Chapter 2 – Backslidden IsraelBook of Jeremiah

This chapter is somewhat similar to the  message to the Church of Ephesus as found in Revelation 2:4,5.

“But I have this against you: You have left the love you had in the beginning. [2:5] So remember where you were before you fell. Change your hearts and do what you did at first. If you don’t change, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place.”

Israel did and now Judah continued(s) to turn their back on the God of creation. They know [yadda] that they are God’s chosen people. In a sense it gives them self-sanctioned proprietary claim to life and land. One might say it has gone to their heads. They feel it is license to do as they please as chosen people of God. They want to add additional gods, one or more to their liking; one they create. This is their desired reality but it is not God’s actuality. The same is true in many churches today in America and on TV.

This is so much like Christians today in practice. We want to be God’s chosen but want license to do things we should not and are not pleasing to God. He is NOT a way of life but only a part of our life. This is in a nutshell what Judah is during the time of Jeremiah. It is also a lot like a foxhole Christian; God get me out of this mess and I promise….; but once out of the mess, we do it our way (sorry Frank Sinatra). This is chapter 2 of Jeremiah.

Like it clearly states in verse 17 of Jeremiah 2, “the people [of Israel] have brought it upon themselves.” In our previous chapter blog, we see the historical context of this time and the life of Jeremiah. Verse 4 adds to this context.

[ERV] “Family of Jacob, hear the LORD’S message. Tribes of Israel, listen.” [note the repetition, family of Jacob is all the tribes of Israel.]

We know that the Kingdom of Israel was dispersed by the Assyrians over 100 years earlier, but v4 brings us to a future yet to happen. God is not finished with his chosen people. This includes all twelve Tribes of Israel. He is reminding them of what Daniel and the Apostle John have yet to write in the sequence of global histories. In the first few verses of Jeremiah 2 Jeremiah recaps what God has done for the Israelites since they became a people in Egypt then retrieved to a Promised Land; promised to Abraham.

sin.jpgThis is similar to someone getting away with a sin, for a while, and his or her confidence in getting away with it becomes their foundation for continued sin action. Numbers 32:33 if taken out of context says one’s sins will find thee out. This passage in Numbers has to do with the three Tribes: Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. They did not want to cross over Jordan to help the other tribes settle their land and dislodge the sparse nomadic inhabitants west of Jordan. Moses told them they must help their brothers fight the good fight before returning to the land that today is known as Jordan. If they did not help, then Numbers 32:33 says, be sure thy sin (of not helping) will find them out (paraphrased). One might just as easily see this as analogous to the makeup of today’s church. “ Just let us sit in the pew [on our side of Jordan] and cheer on those who carry the load against the enemy.”

However, as Dr. Jack Hyles puts it [2015], “Some of the members of the tribes of Gad and Rueben [half tribe of Manasseh] are still alive today. In fact, America is full of these loafers who say, “We are tired of fighting. Let us relive our victories in the wilderness. It is time for us to rest and enjoy the fertile plains on the east side of the Jordan.” Oh, these people still go to church. They just don’t want to fight.

Blog Note: For the geography impaired, this land on the east side of Jordan is the country or State of Jordan, 2016.

Jeremiah is reminding (2:4) those from all 12 tribes that the fight is far from over. The Kingdom of Judah is going to pay a price for their sin as did those in the Northern Kingdom of Israel 100 years earlier. A great and applicable message on sin finding us out as it applies to us today can be found at

This time in Jeremiah’s life is a three-way grudge and continual fighting between Assyria, Egypt and Babylon. Each striving to dominate the regain with Israel stuck between the three battlers. Some may have studied the “hanging Gardens of Babylon as one of the seven wonders of this world. This all happened during the time of Jeremiah. Around 1125 B.C. there was another ruler in Babylon named Nebuchadnezzar I. He is not related to the Nebuchadnezzar II of Jeremiah’s time.

A Wise Note: Often Christians are criticized by claiming that bible history not being documented (which is false in and of itself per archeology) so it didn’t exist. Well, how many have heard of the “hanging Gardens of Babylon; i.e. the seventh wonder of the world? We all studied it is school history, However, read the following from the encyclopedia Wikipedia:

The Babylonian priest Berossus, writing in about 290 BC and quoted later by Josephus, attributed the [Hanging] gardens to the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled between 605 and 562 BC [the same time period of the 70 years of Judean captivity in Babylon]. There are no extant Babylonian texts which mention the gardens, and no definitive archaeological evidence has been found in Babylon. [Emphasis mine].

However, our American school history books report it as one of the 7 wonders of the world and as fact.

Another fact and historical note is mentioned almost in passing in Jeremiah 2:2d… “in a that had never been planted by other inhabitants.” Israel did not simply move int5o the Promised Land and kick others out. Secular historians want us to think this is what happened. God says, it is “in a land that was NOT SOWN” (planted-grazed). Make a personal note that the Promised Land was not overpopulated by other people at this time but was under occupied.

When Jeremiah mentions in verse 2, “At the time you were a young nation, you were faithful to me. You followed me like a young bride. You followed me through the desert, through a land that had never been used for farmland.” The “young” time two which Jeremiah relays this information told him of God was when for almost 400 years the 12 Tribes of Israel lived as a confederacy without a king but judges. [Read this in the Book of Judges]

Verses 5-8 in Jeremiah 2 are in contrast to the years of loving and following Judaism and the God of Israel as a confederacy.

  1. Israel wondered from me
  2. They worshiped worthless Gods
  3. They did not seek God
  4. They ruined the land God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Moses)
  5. The land was good soil at first but they ruined it
  6. False prophets spoke message from Baal.

Verse 10 is amazing in and of itself. God tells his people to, Go to the coasts in the west and look. Send people to the countries in the east. Let the people look carefully. See if there has been anything like this (Promised Land).”

God instructs his people to go west; go east; compare their land with what God had provided their forefathers and the God he was to and for them. Providentially, this is exactly what happened to the people of Israel. They were dispersed east and west to the four corners of the earth; Isaiah 11:12, Isaiah 12:15, Ezekiel 22:15 and 36:19, Daniel 7, Jeremiah 29:14, Ezekiel 11:17.

Verse 13 really tells us God’s attitude and analysis of his Chosen People Israel:

My people have been guilty of two sins.

They have left me.

I am like fresh water that comes up from the ground.

But my people have dug their own wells.

But these wells have cracks in them.

They cannot hold any water.

To quote Hilda Bright in her analysis of Jeremiah 2:17,18: “Verses 17-18 ‘To drink water from the River Nile or the River Euphrates.’ This describes how Judah tried to make friends with the powerful countries called Egypt and Assyria. The LORD had rescued his people from Egypt. But they were turning back to a country that could not help them. Judah was trusting Egypt for help. Already Isaiah had said that this was foolish (Isaiah 30:1-5; 31:1-3).”

This is also why Jeremiah fought and resisted his fellow countrymen when they forced him to flee to Egypt with them. We will study this when we get to Jeremiah 43.

Jeremiah 2:20 – end of chapter is very explicit. God compares his people who have deserted him to the whiles of wild living; wild animals seeking to mate; running from one to another to get what one can on his or her own; sniffing the wind to go with the direction of, might we say today, political correctness; telling a piece of wood “you are my father-god,” I have disciplined my people Israel but they did not learn; you have killed my *prophets.

*How prophetic of this as they also killed Jesus Christ. Even Muslims see Jesus as one of the great teachers and prophets.miniJim