-Jeremiah predicts the coming Righteous Branch of David (the Messiah) amidst pronouncing woe unto the false shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of His pasture. God will attend (def.- pay attention to, visit, reckon with, punish, strike upon or against) to these evil overseers because of their unrighteous deeds. Then He will gather the remnant of His flock out of all the countries where He had driven them and bring them back to their pasture where they will again be fruitful and multiply. At that time He will raise up good shepherds over them and they will nurture to the point that there will no longer be any fear, terror, or missing (Jeremiah 23:1-4).
-The days are coming when the LORD Himself will raise up for David a Righteous Branch who will reign as King and act wisely doing justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and dwell securely, and His Name will be called, “The LORD our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6).” He will be given credit for bringing the descendants back from the north and from all the countries where they had been driven, and they will again be back securely on their own soil (Jeremiah 23:7-8). This has been partially fulfilled, but has further consummation when the Christ comes back and sets up His millennial reign on earth. He is the Savior, King, and Security of Israel and all who believe in Him. *Application* What a glorious day we anticipate when the LORD comes back to restore and reestablish all that has gone wrong with His people. Christ is our redemption and our only hope for true justice and righteousness. He is all wise and will rule with grace and peace. Maranatha (Lord come quickly, 1 Corinthians 16:22)!
-Next, the false prophets are condemned and denounced by the man of God, Jeremiah. His heart is broken and all his bones tremble because of the LORD and His holy words. The land is full of adulterers and is cursed because of the vast sin in it. It is a dried up land with a course of evil. Its people’s might is not right. Both prophet and priest are polluted and in the House of God is wickedness declares the LORD. Therefore, their paths will be slippery, and they will be driven away into the gloom and fall down in it. Calamity will be upon them in the year of their punishment by the Word of God (Jeremiah 23:9-12). The prophets prophesy by false gods (Baal) and lead the people of the true God astray. The walk in adultery and falsehood strengthening the hands of evil doers. No one has turned back from his wickedness, and they have become like Sodom and Gomorrah in treachery against the LORD. Because of this, God is going to feed them wormwood (bitterness) and poisonous water. “Pollution has gone forth into all the land (Jeremiah 23:13-15).”
-Therefore, God says not to listen to the words of these prophets who are leading into futility by a vision of their own imagination, not from the mouth of the LORD (Jeremiah 23:16). They falsely predict peace and wellbeing. They have NOT walked in the counsel of the LORD and given heed to His message. God will swirl down like a tempest on these and His anger will not turn back until He has performed and carried out His Divine purposes from His heart (Jeremiah 23:17-20a). In the end, it will clearly be understood that He did not send these false prophets. They ran on their own and prophesied by a contrary spirit (Jeremiah 23:20b-22).
-God is near, not far off. No one can hide from Him where He does not see. He fills the heavens and the earth and knows all things. He hears the false visions and prophesies and defies them boldly with all power and authority. He is against the false prophets who prophesy falsehoods with reckless abandon erroneously declaring “thus says the LORD!” These charlatans furnish no benefit to the people, and because of their work, the LORD is abandoning the situation. Their words have perverted the words of the Living God and He did not send them. Because of their heresy, He will forget them and cast them away from His presence along with the holy city, which He had given to them and their fathers. He will put an everlasting reproach on them with everlasting humiliation that will not be forgotten (Jeremiah 23:23-40).
-*Application* We must always be on guard against false prophecy and the people who practice this insubordination to destroy the work of the LORD. The New Testament writers often warned of the exact same dilemma when the fake proclaimers give their lies and deceptions (Jude, 2 Peter, etc.). Stay in the Word and know the real from the counterfeit.
Verses to Memorize: Jeremiah 23:5, 23