Jeremiah 17

1 “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond. It is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of your altars. 2 Even their children remember their altars and their Asherah poles by the green trees on the high hills. 3 My mountain in the field, I will give your substance and all your treasures for a plunder, and your high places, because of sin, throughout all your borders. 4 You, even of yourself, shall discontinue from your heritage that I gave you. I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you don’t know, for you have kindled a fire in my anger which shall burn forever.” 5 the LORD says: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like a bush in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, a salt land and not inhabited. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose confidence is in the LORD. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, who spreads out its roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat comes, but its leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt. Who can know it? 10 “I, the LORD, search the mind, I try the heart, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.” 11 As the partridge that sits on eggs which she has not laid, so is he who gets riches, and not by right; in the middle of his days they shall leave him, and at his end he shall be a fool. 12 A glorious throne, set on high from the beginning, is the place of our sanctuary. 13 LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be disappointed. Those who depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living waters. 14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise. 15 Behold, they tell me, “Where is the LORD’s word? Let it be fulfilled now.” 16 As for me, I have not hurried from being a shepherd after you; neither have I desired the woeful day; you know. That which came out of my lips was before your face. 17 Don’t be a terror to me: you are my refuge in the day of evil. 18 Let them be disappointed who persecute me, but let not me be disappointed; let them be dismayed, but don’t let me be dismayed; bring on them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction. 19 Thus said the LORD to me: “Go, and stand in the gate of the children of the people, through which the kings of Judah come in, and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem; 20 and tell them, ‘Hear the LORD’s word, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: 21 the LORD says, “Be careful, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; 22 neither carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, neither do any work: but make the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. 23 But they didn’t listen, neither turn their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, and might not receive instruction. 24 It shall happen, if you diligently listen to me,” says the LORD, “to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but to make the Sabbath day holy, to do no work therein; 25 then shall there enter in by the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on David’s throne, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall remain forever. 26 They shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places around Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the lowland, and from the hill country, and from the South, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meal offerings, and frankincense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving, to the LORD’s house. 27 But if you will not listen to me to make the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.”’”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-4

The sins which men commit make little impression on their minds, yet every sin is marked in the book of God; they are all so graven upon the table of the heart, that they will all be remembered by the conscience. That which is graven in the heart will become plain in the life; men’s actions show the desires and purposes of their hearts. What need we have to humble ourselves before God, who are so vile in his sight! How should we depend on his mercy and grace, begging of God to search and prove us; not to suffer us to be deceived by our own hearts, but to create in us a clean and holy nature by his Spirit!

Verses 5-11

He who puts confidence in man, shall be like the heath in a desert, a naked tree, a sorry shrub, the product of barren ground, useless and worthless. Those who trust to their own righteousness and strength, and think they can do without Christ, make flesh their arm, and their souls cannot prosper in graces or comforts. Those who make God their Hope, shall flourish like a tree always green, whose leaf does not wither. They shall be fixed in peace and satisfaction of mind; they shall not be anxious in a year of drought. Those who make God their Hope, have enough in him to make up the want of all creature-comforts. They shall not cease from yielding fruit in holiness and good works. The heart, the conscience of man, in his corrupt and fallen state, is deceitful above all things. It calls evil good, and good evil; and cries peace to those to whom it does not belong. Herein the heart is desperately wicked; it is deadly, it is desperate. The case is bad indeed, if the conscience, which should set right the errors of other faculties, is a leader in the delusion. We cannot know our own hearts, nor what they will do in an hour of temptation. Who can understand his errors? Much less can we know the hearts of others, or depend upon them. He that believes God’s testimony in this matter, and learns to watch his own heart, will find this is a correct, though a sad picture, and learns many lessons to direct his conduct. But much in our own hearts and in the hearts of others, will remain unknown. Yet whatever wickedness there is in the heart, God sees it. Men may be imposed upon, but God cannot be deceived. He that gets riches, and not by right, though he may make them his hope, never shall have joy of them. This shows what vexation it is to a worldly man at death, that he must leave his riches behind; but though the wealth will not follow to another world, guilt will, and everlasting torment. The rich man takes pains to get an estate, and sits brooding upon it, but never has any satisfaction in it; by sinful courses it comes to nothing. Let us be wise in time; what we get, let us get it honestly; and what we have, use it charitably, that we may be wise for eternity.

Verses 12-18

The prophet acknowledges the favour of God in setting up religion. There is fulness of comfort in God, overflowing, ever-flowing fulness, like a fountain. It is always fresh and clear, like spring-water, while the pleasures of sin are puddle-waters. He prays to God for healing, saving mercy. He appeals to God concerning his faithful discharge of the office to which he was called. He humbly begs that God would own and protect him in the work to which he had plainly called him. Whatever wounds or diseases we find to be in our hearts and consciences, let us apply to the Lord to heal us, to save us, that our souls may praise his name. His hands can bind up the troubled conscience, and heal the broken heart; he can cure the worst diseases of our nature.

Verses 19-27

The prophet was to lay before the rulers and the people of Judah, the command to keep holy the sabbath day. Let them strictly observe the fourth command. If they obeyed this word, their prosperity should be restored. It is a day of rest, and must not be made a day of labour, unless in cases of necessity. Take heed, watch against the profanation of the sabbath. Let not the soul be burdened with the cares of this world on sabbath days. The streams of religion run deep or shallow, according as the banks of the sabbath are kept up or neglected. The degree of strictness with which this ordinance is observed, or the neglect shown towards it, is a good test to find the state of spiritual religion in any land. Let all; by their own example, by attention to their families, strive to check this evil, that national prosperity may be preserved, and, above all, that souls may be saved.

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