Jeremiah 10:11
Thus you are to tell them: "The gods that did not make heaven or earth will perish from this earth and from under these heavens."
Sermons
What Men Fear and What They Ought to FearD. Young Jeremiah 10:1-12
Hearing the Word of the LordW. Stevens.Jeremiah 10:1-16
IdolatryS. Conway Jeremiah 10:1-17
A Christian's Office to Bring Others to the Knowledge of GodJ. Mede, B. D.Jeremiah 10:11-12
Creation, a Proof of DivinityH. Melvill, B. D.Jeremiah 10:11-12
False Gods Shall PerishJ. Mede, B. D.Jeremiah 10:11-12
The Destruction of IdolatryR. Watson.Jeremiah 10:11-12
True Religion and IdolatryJ. Jortin, D. D.Jeremiah 10:11-12
When other gods have been proved to be false, it is very important that this unlikeness of God to anything else should be established. His claim to attention and reverence is thereby held in judgment.

I. IN WHAT RESPECTS JEHOVAH IN UNIQUE.

1. In idea. It is a wondrous conception - a being so great, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. As a conception it stands alone, commands respect, and invites reverent investigation. Such goodness with such power and wisdom!

2. In pretensions.

(1) He claims our sole worship;

(2) our highest and holiest service is his by right, and is unworthy of him;

(3) our welfare and destiny are in his hands.

3. In works. There is nothing he has claimed to be which he has not made good in his works - creation, providence, grace.

II. THIS CONCEPTION OF GOD AS UNIQUE HARMONIZES WITH THE INSTINCTS OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT, AND THE TEACHINGS OF HISTORY AND NATURE. It has cast its spell over the mightiest intellects, and commanded the homage of the purest and best of men. In the worship of him whom it represents the highest longings are satisfied, and the most characteristically human sympathies and principles encouraged. The unity of nature; the mental principle that traces everything to a great First Cause; the manner in which the system of religion of which he is center and dominating principle explains this, and harmonizes the life of man with his surroundings; - are all indications that point to the same conclusion. - M.







Thus shall ye say, etc.
These words are written in the Chaldee tongue, whereas the rest of the prophecy is in the Hebrew: the reason whereof you shall then have, when we have first seen the occasion, coherence, and sum of the words, which is as followeth: The prophet having in the end of the last chapter threatened the Jews, and all the neighbour nations with captivity, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the Arabians of the wilderness: in this chapter leaving out the rest he singles out the Jews, to instruct them for their demeanour and carriage in their captivity; to wit, that they should not learn the way of the heathen whither they should be carried, that they should not worship the signs of heaven, nor regard their gods of gold and silver, which could do neither evil nor good. But lest they should think that they had acquit themselves well, if they abstained from what they should see the heathen do, he tells them they must yet do more than this, they must make open profession against their gods; they must proclaim against their idolatry and false worship; and therefore in the middle of the exhortation, he interlaceth these words in the Chaldee tongue, "Thus shall ye say," etc. These words then contain a proclamation, which the Jews are enjoined from God to make against the gods of the Gentiles, when they should be carried captive to Babylon, wherein are to be considered two things —

I. THE PROCLAIMING ITSELF.

II. THE SUM OF THE PROCLAMATION. The proclaiming in these words, "Thus shall ye say unto them." Here are three things —

1. The persons who, namely, Ye Jews, who are the worshippers of the living God; ye captive Jews, carried out of your own land, and living as slaves and vassals under your proud lords the Babylonians; "Ye shall say unto them."

2. The persons to whom, namely, your lordly masters of Babylon.

3. The manner how; "thus," that is, not in cryptic, or mystical terms, or in your own Hebrew mutterings, a language which they understand not, but in the vulgar tongue of Babylon.

4. In the sum of the proclamation are two things contained —(1) A description of false gods in these words, "The gods which made not the heavens and the earth."(2) Their doom in these words, "They shall perish from the earth and from these heavens.

(J. Mede, B. D.)

The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish.
I. THE NECESSARY AND UNIFORM EFFECTS OF IDOLATRY, of the worship of "the gods who have not made the heavens and the earth"; and if the fact is granted, which I believe not to be questioned, that this has been the universal practice of pagans, I ask no other principle to enable me to spread before you a scene of dark and pitiable wretchedness, which must excite our commiseration.

1. Where there is idolatry there is no God. All the wants you feel, and which God only can supply, they feel too. You take your wants to God; they take theirs to an idol; and an idol is nothing. You go to the fountain of living water; they, to broken cisterns. They apply parched lips to an empty vessel; they are hungry, and they dream they eat; they awake, and are not satisfied.

2. Where there is idolatry, there are no morals. The true foundation of morals is the will of God. That will is holy, because He is holy; and a holy God being known, His will is known also to be such. There is no knowledge of morals but where there is a knowledge of God; and there is no sanction of them. It is true, that in countries where God is known we may find morals without immediate reference to God and His will. The conduct may be correct out of regard to public opinion and character; but this public opinion as to morals is created by the acknowledged fact, that there is a God that hateth iniquity; and this acknowledgment is produced by the knowledge of His will. From idolatry no morality can issue, because there is no superior will in its favour. Vice meets no check from conscience, none from fear, none from a superior Being watching every act of man, and registering it for judgment. To be like the "gods who have not made the heavens and the earth," is to be unfit for the society of men. The worshippers of idols "are filled with all unrighteousness." This is the language of inspiration and of history.

3. Where there is idolatry there is a fatal mistake on the subject of religion. True religion, indeed, there is not, nor indeed can be. Idolatry and superstition are not, therefore, as they have sometimes been represented, only different means of accomplishing the same end, giving men the control and benefits of religion, though by a different process. This, I fear, has been a too common notion: The same principles of piety have been supposed to be expressed by the worship of God and of idols; and he who has returned from an idol-temple has been regarded as bearing away with him to his home and to his business, a conscience as satisfied, a spirit as refreshed and comforted, as he who departs from beholding the power and glory of God in the sanctuary. What corrective control can be expected except that which results from the presence of a God of purity, of one who hateth iniquity, and who will everlastingly punish it?

4. Idolatry is inconsistent with religious comfort. For polytheism admits no providence. It peoples heaven with gods who war with each other, and each other's worshippers. There is no superintending mind in that heaven, no common plan, no regular discipline; and there can be no trust.

5. Where there is idolatry, there is no hope.

II. IN WHAT ITS REMEDY LIES.

1. Consider the means which human wisdom, resting only upon human resources, has proposed to adopt in order to raise the condition of the barbarous or semi-civilised pagan nations of the earth. Hope has rested —(1) On forms of government. As these improve, and the principles of right and power are better understood, the moral and civil condition of nations is expected to advance. The best forms are vain, where public virtue is wanting; public virtue is the sum of private virtue; and that is the product only of a true and efficient religion. But good government supposes laws; and —(2) From laws the effect has been hoped. Consider then the operation of laws without religion. Allow that you introduce principles of right and wrong between men, restrain violence, correct fraud, establish order. Suppose all this to be done: Can the institutions of law reach the thought? Can the security of law give peace to the conscience? Can human judicature absolve from guilt?(3) But these evils have been traced to ignorance and the revival and diffusion of science have been depended upon as the means of improving the moral condition of the pagan world. There is no moral influence in science, merely as such: It may be an instrument either of good or of evil; but is in itself, and that from its very nature, indifferent. It is an instrument, however, which, if a good agent does not seize, an evil one will; and he who sends the light of knowledge, and consequently power, among the heathen, is bound to send with it that higher science, and those principles of religious fear and hope, by which only it can be employed to moral and beneficial purposes.

2. Where, then, is the remedy? It is in the Gospel of the grace of God. There the deep and pressing want of the world is met.

III. CONSIDER HOW FAR IT LIES WITH US TO APPLY IT. It will not be difficult to show, both that it is laid upon us to contribute with all our power to the moral improvement of the world; and that Christian missions are the means appointed for this purpose, which have the authentication of Divine authority.

1. They unquestionably accord with the standing rule of the Divine government, to help man by man.

2. This is still farther confirmed, by a fact of no small importance in determining our duties on this subject. No nation, lapsed from the light and knowledge of religion, has ever regained it, while left to itself. On the contrary, we see a constant sinking.

3. The Christian ministry is the means Divinely appointed for this purpose.

(R. Watson.)

We have heard and read of the admired Oracles of the Gentiles, of Apollo at Delphos, of Jupiter Ammon in Egypt, and many more, too long to be named: but all of them are long since "perished from the earth, and from under these heavens"; we have heard of the names of many gods in former times, of great renown in these islands of the Gentiles, Jupiter, Mars, Apollo, Neptune, Juno, Vesta, Venus, Minerva, Diana, etc. All Europe swarmed with their temples and ceremonies, and yet now are they perished from the earth. Where is now Bel the god of Babylon, Nisroch, the god of Assyria, Baal and Ashtaroth, the gods of the Sidonians, Rimmon, the god of the Aramites? Where is now Dagon of the Philistines, Milcom of the Ammonites, Chemosh of Moab, and Tammuz of the Egyptians? Even these also, whose names we hear so frequently in Scripture, are perished with their very names, "from this earth, and under these heavens."

(J. Mede, B. D.)

I. GOD EXPECTS FROM US THAT WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE BEFORE MEN OUR FAITH AND BELIEF IN HIM UPON ALL PROPER OCCASIONS; and that upon no pretence, and for the fear of no inconvenience and danger, we should deny Him, and act against our conscience.

II. IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERYONE TO PROMOTE VIRTUE AND RELIGION IN OTHERS TO THE UTMOST OF HIS POWER. If our desires to do this be earnest, and our behaviour be upright, we shall in some measure succeed; for goodness is of its own nature communicative, and it commands love and respect, and on both accounts it will have some weight and influence.

III. THE WORDS OF THE TEXT ARE DIRECTED TO AN UNHAPPY PEOPLE, stripped of their possessions, surviving the destruction of their fellow citizens, cast out of their own land, carried into captivity by their proud conquerors, and seemingly forsaken of God. These persons are exhorted to make profession of their faith, and to hold fast their religion. If we apply this direction to ourselves, we may learn that we ought in time of affliction to honour God, and submit to the dispensations of His providence. By this behaviour we both recommend ourselves to God's favour, and do signal service to religion.

IV. The next observation arising from the text is, THAT GOD MAY BE KNOWN BY HIS WORKS, and that the human understanding may discover, upon a serious and careful examination, that there is one God, Maker and Governor of the universe; that all other gods beside Him are gods which made not the heavens and the earth, that is, no gods in reality.

V. The words of the text are a most illustrious and remarkable prophecy, THAT THE GODS OF THE GENTILES WHO WERE THEN ADORED SHOULD ENTIRELY PERISH AND CONSEQUENTLY THAT THE HONOUR WHICH HAD BEEN PAID TO THEM SHOULD BE GIVEN TO GOD ALONE.

1. It was a time when the knowledge of the true God was confined to very narrow bounds, and His dominion was almost become invisible. Upon many accounts, then, and according to human probability, it seemed mere to be expected that the Jews together with their religion should perish, than that the Gentiles should forsake their idolatry.

2. Concerning the accomplishment of the prophecy, we may observe that it hath been in a great measure manifested. For the gods of the Gentiles so often mentioned in sacred and profane history, the gods of Europe and Asia, of Greece and Italy, the gods of Babylon, and of all the nations surrounding the Jews, and with which the Jews were so often concerned, have entirely perished. This great event hath been produced by the Gospel:

(1)By the preaching of the apostles;

(2)At the time of Constantine; and,

(3)A few ages afterwards.

3. But the descriptions which the prophets have made of this revolution are so magnificent, that they seem not yet to have received a total completion. It is generally and justly supposed that a more glorious age shall come; when the Jews shall be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles shall flow into the Church, and the kingdoms of the earth shall be the kingdom of Christ.

(J. Jortin, D. D.)

Wearied out by the ingratitude and impenitence of the Jews, God was about to deliver them into the hands of their enemies. They were to pass many years in a country of idolaters; and the danger was considerable, that they would forget the true God, and join themselves to the worshippers of a false. It is to guard them against this danger that they are thus addressed by the Lord, in the beginning of the chapter — "Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them." The prophet then proceeds to show the utter vanity of idolatry, by exposing what we may call the manufacture of the worshipped images. But it was not enough that the Jews should be fortified in the true religion, and thus prepared to remain faithful when cast amongst idolaters; God would not be satisfied with the silent testimony against error which would thus be borne by their conduct, if they steadfastly adhered to what He had revealed and required. Associated with those who knew not God, and who gave to idols the honour due unto His name, it would behove them to be preachers of truth, and to endeavour to win the heathen from their debasing superstitions. Accordingly, in our text, God puts into their mouths the message they should deliver. Now, if ever peculiar circumstances might have been pleaded in apology for not striving to expose error, and instruct the ignorant, those of a captive people might, we think, have presented the excuse. The Jews might have reasoned that, dependent as they were upon imperious conquerors, whom it would be easy to provoke to oppression and to violence, they should not act with the wisdom which they were bound to exhibit, if they in the least degree interfered with the national religion. It would be a great thing, they might have said, if the Babylonians allowed them to worship God after the manner of their fathers, and did not require them to conform to idolatry; but if, not satisfied with this, they were to denounce the reigning superstitions, and strive to overthrow the religion of the State, what was to be expected, but that persecution would be substituted for toleration, and that in endeavouring to show others their errors they should altogether lose their own religious privileges? And yet such excuses, however specious, would not have been valid. We seem bound to gather from this, that whatever our circumstances, we should consider ourselves charged with a message from God. But we go on to observe in respect of the proclamation with which the Jews are thus charged, that though its delivery, under their circumstances, demanded great boldness, the terms in which it is expressed are those least likely to give offence. We are as much taught to use circumspection in our mode of reproof, as to avoid flinching from the duty because of the difficulties which may attend its performance. There is nothing of invective, nothing of bitter declamation, in the words whose utterance God enjoins. They undeniably condemn the superstitions of the Chaldeans, but only indirectly, by way of inference rather than of assertion. And it is very observable, as furnishing a guide to ourselves when dealing with men in error, that the attack on the Babylonians is to be made through principles acknowledged by themselves, and not through others which might not be admitted. The Babylonians would be supposed to concede that the creation proved Divinity; and it was with the principle thus conceded, and not with one which they would be likely to dispute, that the Jews were to strive to win them from idolatry. If the Babylonians once allowed its due weight to the principle, that the true God must be the Creator, it would be easy to prove to them that their idols had no claim to the being Divine, and then gradually to conduct them to the truth, that the Jehovah of Israel ought alone to be worshipped; and therefore are the captives commissioned to utter a proclamation involving no principles, so to speak, but those of natural religion; just as Paul, when preaching at Athens, employed the Grecian altars as his weapons of assault upon Grecian superstitions. But now we must look a little at the truth involved in the proclamation — the truth that Divinity was to be proved from creation. The true God, you observe, is "the God that made the heavens and the earth." The stress is laid on the fact of creation; and we will endeavour to show you why it is laid there. How came matter into existence? Who made the matter out of which all other things are made? Here is the Divine act; and this is the act of creation. No power short of infinite could have made the material, if any could have afterwards wrought it into the worlds. Give an angel the material, and, for anything I know, he might work it into the wing or the flower; but to make the material, and then work it into the exquisite forms, this is beyond any angel; before Him who can do this, I fall prostrate as God. But we have still, in conclusion, to consider our text in the light of a prophecy, and to examine what grounds we have for expecting its literal accomplishment. It was a bold prophecy, as originally uttered, and there seemed no likelihood of its ever being fulfilled. With the exception of a solitary people, and that people now exiles and captives, all the inhabitants of the earth then worshipped false gods. Who could have expected so stupendous a revolution as was predicted by our text — the downfall of heathenism over the whole habitable globe? Yet already a vast advance has been made towards so glorious a consummation. Where now is Bel, the god of Babylon, and Nisroch the god of Assyria? Where now are Baal and Ashtaroth, the gods of the Zidonians? Where now is the Dagon of the Philistines, the Chemosh of the Moabites, the Milcom of the Ammonites? Or if you pass from scriptural records to profane, where now are the thousand deities of Greece and of Rome — those whose praises were hymned by the most melodious of poets, whose praise was renowned on continents and islands, to whom the great and the mean, kings and warriors, sages and servants, conspired to do honour? Hath it not come true of all these, that they have perished from the earth and from under the heavens? They made not the earth, neither were the heavens the work of their hands; and wanting the distinguishing mark of Divinity, creative energy, it mattered nothing that millions were their worshippers, that philosophers were ready to uphold their pretensions, and armies to defend their temples. The true God rose in His jealousy, and with the breath of His indignation He scattered the idols, so that their very names have vanished from the territories once crowded with their shrines. And what has been thus already done, is our warrant that the text shall be accomplished to the letter. False gods, they shall perish; false principles, they shall perish. False gods, they may have been honoured in the fairest provinces of this globe, where the sky is the most brilliant, and the foliage the richest, and the waters the most sparkling; but they spread not out that sky, and they pencilled not that foliage, and they poured not forth those waters; and therefore shall they make their grave with the Jupiter, and the Apollo, and the Minerva — known now only in classic story, and swept from classic land. They shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. False principles of a vain philosophy — principles which would substitute reason for revelation, and ascribe to man independence and moral strength — these may have their admirers and defenders; but these cannot conduct to immortality, these cannot effect a new creation, these cannot build us a home beyond the grave, and throw open to us new heavens and a new earth; and, therefore, unable to create, they too shall perish, and the world be willing to take salvation without money and without price. I require you to try principles as the Babylonians were to try deities — by their power of creating. If there be nothing in a religious system to renew human nature, to remould the dispositions, and so to alter a man that old things shall pass away, the system is inadequate to our necessities, and that too, because void of creative energy, and therefore leaving us in our feebleness and in our corruption; and every such system shall consequently perish.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

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