When you do justice, defend the needy, equip shepherds, communicate God's word, plant His word in receptive disciples, stop following false gods and warn people of God's judgment, you turn from evil ways to stop God's judgment and wrath along with ruin in cultural spheres. In contrast, you prove personal knowledge of God by living securely and bearing spiritual fruit (Jer. 21-25).
Do Justice By Rescuing the Oppressed
King Zedekiah asked Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord because Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon attacked Judah. God said He would fight against Judah by killing men and animals with a great plague and take Zedekiah captive. People who stayed in Jerusalem would die by the sword, famine or plague but those who surrendered to the Babylonians would live. God determined to harm Jerusalem by having Babylon destroy it with fire because of their evil. The Lord said to administer justice and rescue the robbed victim from his oppressor to stop His wrath (Jer. 21:1-14). Do justice by rescuing the oppressed to stop God's wrath.
Defend the Poor and Needy
God told Judah's king to not wrong or do violence to the alien, fatherless or widow nor shed innocent blood. Otherwise, God would make them like a desert and destroy the palace. Many nations asked why the Lord did such a thing to Jerusalem. The answer was they forsook God's covenant by worshiping and serving other gods. Woe to him who built his extravagant palace by unrighteousness and injustice without paying the workers. Everything went well for Josiah because he did what was right. Those who knew God experienced well-being because they defended the cause of the poor and needy. In contrast, focusing on dishonest gain, shedding innocent blood, oppression and extortion caused an untimely death for Josiah's son, Jehoiakim. Security and disobedience triggered exile for their shepherds and allies, disgrace, no prosperity and no offspring ruling on the throne of David (Jer. 22:1-30). Defend the cause of the poor and needy to prove you know God.
Equip Shepherds to Care and Teach God's Word
Woe to shepherds who destroyed and scattered the sheep of God's pasture by not caring for them. God gathered the remnant out of all countries so they could be fruitful and multiply. He placed shepherds to tend them so none would fear or be missing. In the future, God raised up a righteous Branch and King called the Lord Our Righteousness from David's line to do the right thing in the land, which saved Judah and caused Israel to live in safety. Unfortunately, adultery caused parched land and withered pastures. Godless prophets and priests followed an evil course and used their power unjustly. The Samaria's prophet prophesied by Baal and led God's people astray. Jerusalem's prophets committed adultery, lived a lie and strengthened evildoers like Sodom and Gomorrah so no one turned from his wickedness (Jer. 23:1-14). Equip shepherds to care and teach God's word so His people live securely.
Communicate Power of God's Word
Jerusalem's prophets spread ungodliness in the land by offering false hope. They spoke visions from their own minds, taught peace to those who despised God and said no harm would come to those with stubborn hearts. Not one of them stood in the council of the Lord to see or hear His word. God never sent or spoke to these prophets. Those standing in His council proclaimed His word to turn His people from their evil ways. God filled heaven and earth so no one could hide from Him. The one with His word should speak it faithfully. His word was like fire and hammer to break a rock in pieces. God was against prophets who stole words from one another that were supposedly from Him. They led His people astray with reckless lies. They received no benefit from these words. Do not mention 'the oracle of the Lord' again because every man's own word became his oracle that distorted the words of the living and Almighty God. Therefore, He cast Jerusalem out of His presence bringing eternal disgrace and unforgettable shame (Jer. 23:15-40). Communicate the fire and hammer of God's word to turn people from their evil ways.
Plant His Word in Receptive Disciples
After Judah's leaders were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, Jeremiah placed one basket of early-ripened figs that and a basket of spoiled figs in front of the temple. The good figs represented the exiles sent to Babylon. God brought them back to Judah to build up and not tear down, to plant and not uproot. He gave them a heart to know Him as His people. The poor figs represented Zedekiah king of Judah, his officials and survivors from Jerusalem who remained in the land or lived in Egypt, They were an an offense, reproach and object of ridicule to every earthly kingdom. God sent sword, famine and plague to destroy them from the land (Jer. 24:1-10). Plant His word in those pursuing a heart relationship to God so they can bear spiritual fruit.
Stop Following False Gods
Jeremiah spoke God's word to Judah for 23 years but they did not pay attention. The Lord sent His prophets repeatedly but they followed other gods and provoked God in what they made. Judah and the surrounding nations became a desolate wasteland and served the king of Babylon. After 70 years, God punished Babylon for their guilt to make it desolate forever as written and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. Babylon was enslaved by many nations and great kings. God repaid them according to their deeds and the work of their hands (Jer. 25:1-14). Stop following false gods that cause ruin in various cultural spheres.
Warn People of God's Judgment
God told Jeremiah to make all nations drink the cup filled with the wine of God's wrath. After drinking it, Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials became ruined and an object of horror and scorn as they were today. Every kingdom on earth, including Babylon, drank the cup of God's wrath. The Lord Almighty called down a sword upon every person on earth and even brought disaster upon Jerusalem that bore His Name. God told Jeremiah to say these words: The Lord shouted against all who lived on the earth. He brought charges against the nations, judged all mankind and put the wicked to the sword. The disaster of those slain by the Lord spread from nation to nation. He called shepherds as leaders of the flock to weep and wail since they would be shattered like fine pottery with no place to escape. The Lord destroyed their pasture and laid waste their peaceful meadows because of the oppressor's sword and the Lord's fierce anger (Jer. 25:15-38). Warn people of God's judgment beginning with the church and spreading to all nations.
Confess your sin, help someone in need, study and communicate God's word to a friend.