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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Jeremiah 17

Verses 1-27

  1. Intro:
    1. Story - A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on its back across the river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "You'll sting me while I'm swimming and I'll drown." "My dear turtle," laughed the scorpion, "If I were to sting you, you would drown and I'd go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?" "You're right," cried the turtle. "Hop on." The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle, resigned, said, "Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there is no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?" "It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion replied. "It's just my nature."
    2. Sin – It’s our nature!
    3. Let’s look at 4 people & 1 fine day that Jeremiah points us to.
      1. The Engraver; The Dendrologous; The Incurable Disease; The Incredible Doctor; The Sabbath Day.
  2. THE ENGRAVER (1-4)
    1. Engrave – To imprint, make a deep impression.
    2. Vs.1 - Sin sticks! Gods Law was to be engraved on our hearts…instead SIN was engraved there!
      1. And “you may forget your sin, but your sin never forgets you!” (Waren W.Wiersbe, Jer.)
      2. They are inscribed there until you ask him for forgiveness.
        1. Heb.10:16,17 "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
      3. He writes His Word on our hearts so we’ll get victory over sin.
        1. Ps.119:11 “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!”
        2. 2 Cor.3:3 “clearly you are an epistle of Christ, …, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.”
    3. Pen of Iron” - Read - Job 19:23,24
      1. Pen of Iron – A chisel. (like a date on a tombstone!)
      2. Lead was poured into the engraven characters, to make them better seen.
    4. Diamond – Of course still the hardest of stones to cut or engrave any other stone.
    5. The altar “was a place to remit sin not record it…yet it was even engraved there!”
  3. THE DENDROLOGOUS (5-8)
    1. Dendrology – The scientific study of trees!
    2. Is God Pro-Choice here?(Roe v Wade 25 yrs.) – 2 Choices!
      1. Curses[5,6]- or Blessings[7,8]
      2. The pivot word is TRUST{ie. places his faith in}! – On this everything turns,…where one’s heart is!
    3. Curse Unbelief turns life into a parched wasteland!
      1. The worldly man wastes his hopes on what is secondary, shifting, & non-flourishing.
      2. The Jewish people had a record of Unbelief!
        1. Unbelief kept them out of the promise land; Unbelief brought judgment from the surrounding nations during the time of the judges; during the time of the Kingdom, Unbelief kept the leaders from repenting & also entangled them w/the politics of Assyria, Egypt, & Babylon.
      3. Outwardly he may look very nice(shrub) but is sadly stunted.
      4. These words sum up an unbelievers life: short; blind; thirsty; & desolate.
    4. Blessing – A Beatitude! {the only alternative to a curse is a blessing! – No middle ground!}
      1. Unbelief turns life into a parched wasteland; but here Faith turns life into a fruitful orchard!
      2. Here Jeremiah contrasts the shrub w/a Tree:
        1. “Starting at the roots(for nourishment) to the leaves(for health), culminating in the fruit that makes the tree itself a blessing!” (Derek Kidner, Jer.)
      3. These words sum up a believers life: Tall – Strong foundation – Green(living/growing) – & Fruit Bearing!
    5. Wrap up – Faith in God makes you deeply rooted…you’ll survive spiritual droughts! – Where Faith in man makes you a ‘scrub shrub in the desert!’
  4. THE INCURABLE DISEASE (9-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​Cardiology – Is the branch of medicine that deals with the functions & disease of the heart.
    2. Story - Three monkeys once dining in a coconut tree were discussing some things they had heard to be true, "What do you think?Now listen you two, here, monkeys, is something that cannot be true, that humans descended from our pure race. Why, it's simply shocking -- a terrible disgrace." "Who ever heard of a monkey deserting his wife? Leave a baby starve and ruin its life? And have you ever known of a mother monk to leave her darling, with a stranger to bunk ? Their babies are handed from one to another and scarce ever know the love of a mother." "And I've never known a monkey so selfish to be as to build a big fence around the coconut tree so other monkeys can't get a wee taste, but would let all the coconuts here go to waste . Why, if I'd put a fence around this coconut tree, starvation would force you to steal from me." "And here is another thing a monkey won't do, seek a bootlegger's shanty and get in a stew, carouse and go on a whoopee, disgracing his life, then reel madly home and beat up his wife. They call this all a pleasure and make a big fuss, they've descended from something, but not from us."
    3. Have you ever called someone an animal? – “you pig!, you dog!”
      1. Actually man is worse than any animal. No animal compares.
      2. Animals only kill for hunger or in protecting itself or its young, but not for just any reason.
      3. Man has been given reason, logic, & was made in the image of God. Yet, rebels & is so debase.
    4. Vs.9 - “The heart of every problem is the problem in the heart!”
    5. Deceitful – (yacov/ Jacob) deceitful; crooked, polluted (Strongs)
    6. Desperately Wicked – woeful, very sick, incurable.
    7. Most frequently it is used to describe a wound or pain which is incurable as seen in Jer.15:18; 30:12.
    8. Who can know it? – That’s scary we don’t know how bad we are, & I think I’m pretty bad already!
      1. Q: How long can you go with out sinning? {Hour, minutes, seconds, …can we?}
    9. vs.10 – Our heart is sick & only the great physician can diagnose its problems & bring nec healing.(www)
      1. Example – we read the word, get convicted & repent of an area we weren’t even thinking of prior.
      2. Vs.14 will tell us how to heal it!
    10. vs.11 – A familiar proverb about the partridge. “It was believed to hatch out eggs, which it had not laid. Once hatched, the young birds soon realize that they do not belong to this strange mother bird, & quickly fly away.” (Barclay, Jer)
      1. So it is w/riches unjustly acquired: gotten quick & soon gone.
      2. Clearest in NIV - Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool.
      3. He sums up the man who sells his soul for what he cannot keep in this single mono-syllable word FOOL!
        1. Jesus talks about the guy who was eaten, drinkin, & carryen on: Lk.12:20,21 “"But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
  5. THE INCREDIBLE DOCTOR (12-18)
    1. ​​​​​​​Vs.12 Judah’s throne was stained w/sin & shame – Gods throne, Glorious & Exalted.
    2. Vs.13God had never forsaken His people, but the had forsaken Him!
      1. Instead of being written in His book, they were written in the dirt!
      2. Read 13b, then read Jn.8:7,8 "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.”
        1. Any correlation?
      3. “Fountain of Living Waters” – They would rather die of thirst, then turn back to the spring!
    3. Vs.14 – Here is a preacher smitten by his own message! {Lord, may this always happen to me!}
      1. “Don’t we all want to drink from a running stream rather than a stagnant pool." – It must effect us 1st!
      2. The great concert pianist, Arthur Rubinstein, used to say that if he missed a day of practice, he noticed it in the quality of his performance. - If he missed two days, the critics noticed. - And if he missed three days, the audience noticed.
    4. Vs.15 – When is it coming Jeremiah?
      1. “A prophet is w/o honor in his own country!”
      2. God’s delays are usually opportunities for the nation to repent & be saved.
    5. Vs.16 – Here a shepherd “following” instead of leading!
    6. Vs.18 – “dismayed” – see 1:17.
  6. THE SABBATH DAY (19-27)
    1. ​​​​​​​Vs.19-23 - Why the Urgent call?
      1. Sabbath keeping was a badge of loyalty, a sign of the cov. w/the Lord.
      2. Read - Ex.31:12-17 (note: Israel)
      3. It was a fair indicator of their sp. temperature.
    2. The Sabbath was given to the Israelites as a rest for the people, The animals, & the land.
    3. Their sin was evident, they were more dedicated to material prosperity than to the Lord.
    4. The Sabbath interrupted good business from some of Amos’ contemporaries!
      1. Amos 8:5 "When will the New Moon be past, That we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, That we may trade wheat?”
    5. Nehemiah had similar problems:
      1. Nehemiah 13:15 ” In those days I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and loading donkeys with wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them about the day on which they were selling provisions.”
    6. The legalists in Jesus day had it all messed up. Jesus told the man to pick up his mat & walk(on the Sabbath)…I don’t think it was hardly for trade??? (Jn.5:20)
    7. Vs.24-27
      1. Obedience = 24-26 “throne/dwelling forever”.
      2. Disobedience = 27 “fire/never quenched”.
    8. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​End:
      1. ​​​​​​​The secret of true obedience is the clear and close personal relationship to God. All our attempts after full obedience will be failures until we get access to his abiding fellowship. - It is God's holy presence consciously abiding with us that keeps us from disobeying Him. - I must consciously include the Lord in every thought, activity, and conversation until the habit is established. (Andrew Murray)
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Jeremiah 17". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/jeremiah-17.html. 2017.