While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time:
second time (ver. 1), and a gracious revelation of God's power and willingness to bless.
I. GOD IS WITH THOSE WHO SUFFER FOR HIS SAKE. It was a token of his love that Jeremiah should receive this assurance, and one which he was most certain to appreciate. Prisoners and martyrs for conscience' sake in all ages of the Church have been similarly consoled. There are special and peculiar consolations for persons so situated. God is nearer then than at other times. His promises are greater and brighter, and his presence more felt. Who would not suffer thus to be thus comforted?
II. GOD REQUESTS US TO ASK OF HIM THE THINGS WE MOST DESIRE. Not that there are not circumstances of such a character as to call forth spontaneous proofs of his favour and love. But seeking and asking are exercises of faith, which cannot long be dispensed with in our intercourse with our heavenly Father, even although "he knoweth what things we have need of before we ask him" (Matthew 6:8). And this because:
1. The exercises of the soul in prayer and faith are greater benefits in them selves than most things that are to be procured through them.
2. Such exercises are a preparation of the soul for heavenly gifts and communications, and keep it in readiness for them.
3. They are pleasing to God, and gratify his love. The answer is certain, and, indeed, waiting; but he loves to be asked. There is no more endearing position in the sight of God than that of prayer.
III. THOSE WHO FAITHFULLY OBEY GOD'S WILL, WILL LEARN SOMETHING OF HIS PURPOSE. Revelations of surpassing magnitude await the prophet in the darkness of his prison house. He did not hesitate to proclaim God's will, and to submit to the consequences of so doing; he is to receive his reward in further disclosures. And these are of the most gracious and consolatory description. But apart from this, the mere communication of the Divine purpose to him was a sign of favour and honour; his truest satisfaction and peace were to be found in hearing God's voice, and being considered worthy to share the secrets of the Divine future. Man is steward of the present; God retains his hold upon the future, and only discloses it for the reward of faithful men, and for great and merciful ends.
1. Great things, in their scope, character, and influences as belonging to salvation.
2. Secret things (Authorized Version renders this word "mighty"). Not belonging to ordinary experience, but to God's counsel. - M.
The Word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison.I. A TRUE CHILD OF GOD AND AN HONOURED PROPHET IN DISGRACE AND AFFLICTION (ver. 1). Let not the child of God think that his sorrows are always because of his Sins.
II. THOUGH DESPISED OF MAN, THE PROPHET WAS HONOURED OF GOD (vers. 1, 2).
1. To receive communications from the Divine mind is the highest honour.
2. He whom God honours and owns as His child need not fear what man can do.
III. DIVINE CONSOLATION TO AN AFFLICTED SERVANT (ver. 3).
1. The most precious of all privileges, that of prayer: "Call unto Me."
2. The most marvellous of all assurances: "And I will answer thee."
3. The most encouraging of all promises: "I will . . . show thee great and mighty things."
IV. THE ADVERSITY AND PROSPERITY OF NATIONS ARE UNDER THE CONTROL OF GOD (vers. 4-7).
1. It is impossible properly to construe the history of a nation without reference to the moral government of God.
2. National prosperity or adversity has always been in the line of national virtue or vice.
V. THE ESSENTIAL CONDITIONS OF NATIONAL AS WELL AS INDIVIDUAL HEALING (vers. 8, 9).
1. It is essential that God come to do the work. "I will cleanse," &c.
2. It is essential that God work upon our moral natures. "I will cleanse them from all their iniquity."
3. It is essential that God work upon our moral natures by the assurance of the forgiveness of sin. "I will pardon all," &c.
4. This moral and spiritual cleansing and pardon are essential for the appreciation of the Divine goodness: "And they shall fear," &c.
5. This spiritual healing shall manifest forth the glory of God: "It shall be to Me a name," &c.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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