The following is a short summary/commentary for a current skype Bible study with members from the Phillippines, South Korea and the USA. Follow along in your Bible as we go through the book of Jeremiah together each week. If you have any additional questions or comments please send us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you would like to start your own Bible study on skype through Mobile Word, send us an email and we can start walking through the Bible with you too!
v.15: The “he” pronoun is talking about Israel. God is saying that Israel is being oppressed during this time in their history. The lions represent other nations or kingdoms that are attempting to take over the nation of Israel. This is a figurative verse meaning that there are not actual lions invading Israel. However, the situation was real. Many other nations were planning and attempting to overtake Israel and literally destroying their land.
v.16: Memphis and Tahpanhes refer to powerful cities in Egypt along the Nile River. The threat against Israel was coming from all sides and even the area in Egypt was a threat too.
v.17: God is saying that this current dangerous and terrible situation is not happening because God is treating Israel unfairly. God is reminding Israel that they created this situation by not following God’s will and plan. In English some parents tell their children, “YOU made the mess, now YOU clean it up!” Also, this verse is one of many pointers to Christ in the Old Testament. The words,“The Way,” would appear during Jesus’ ministry:
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
v.18: God is asking the people of Israel why they pursue water in other places and not in Israel. This is also figurative and literal. God is asking the people, “Why do you not like what I give you? Why do I not satisfy you? Why do you go to find happiness in other things and not me?”
v.19: God is telling the people of Israel that there are consequences for their actions. When they don’t follow God or when they don’t have “awe” for Him, there are consequences and typically they are not good. When we follow God life is more clear, more satisfying, more peaceful. When we don’t follow God our lives are full of stress, anxiety, fear, sadness and loneliness. However, we have the choice to follow God and experience a life joy or to not follow him and experience a life of strife
v.20: God is saying that Israel has always had a problem with God being the King and God being in control. In English we say that we are “control-freaks.” Or, we are “back-seat drivers.” This is when you are driving and someone sitting in the backseat keeps telling you how you should drive even though they aren’t the person driving.
A “yoke” is a tool used typically by farmers that goes over the animals neck so it can pull another vehicle or heavy farming equipment. This is another pointer to Jesus.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus is saying that when we let him have control, we don’t feel the heavy weight of a yoke. In fact, following God’s rules sounds stressful but when we follow his rules our life becomes much lighter, much more enjoyable and much more peaceful.
The reference to a prostitute is a very graphic and very convicting metaphor that God chooses to depict the Israelites. God is saying that we devote our entire heart and life to other things as if we were giving the most precious thing we have, our bodies, to other things that are unworthy and not God. God is always depicted in the Bible as our husband and when we put more of our love and attention on our jobs, our families, our money, etc. it is as if we are cheating on our husband who loves us more than any other thing in the world.
v.21: The reference to a vine is another reference to Jesus.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
God is depicted as a husband and also a farmer. This verse is saying that God chose us like a seed and planted us but then when we grew into a real plant we forgot the farmer and acted like we planted ourselves. Sin is forgetting God.
v.22: Even though we try and act like we are good and we have no problems, God is saying that no matter how much we try, we are still guilty in our hearts. Jesus talks about this:
You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
v.23: This is very similar to verse 20. As it discusses our lack of devotion to God and our desire to find pleasure elsewhere.
v.24: This is also very similar to verse 20. As it discusses our lack of devotion to God and our desire to find pleasure elsewhere.
v.25: God is saying that we are addicted to following other Gods, or other idols and not God himself. He is saying that we often get bored of Him, tired of Him, frustrated with Him and then we look to find happiness in other things. Jesus talks about this too:
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”