Jeremiah 25, August 13th 2023

Jeremiah 25, August 13th 2023


Just as we begin, let me ask you: If you were to do a straw poll in your street and were to ask people to summarize the teaching of Jesus/the message of Christianity. What do you think they would say?

What’s their idea of the message of Christianity?

Or if you were to go to an average Anglican or Dutch Reformed church, just pick one somewhere-look on the map, and interview a congregation member and ask them: essentially what is the message of the Christian faith to our society today? What do you think they will say?

If that’s a difficult question, let me make it easier by giving it to you in a multiple-choice style.

Here’s a question from the lips of Jesus in Luke 12:

Do you think that I came to bring peace on the earth? Asked Jesus. Multiple choice, Yes or No.

And I think the answer from us, the man on the street, the man on the pew: YES.

“That’s what we expect you to do Jesus, to bring peace, to tell us that everything is going to be OK.”

We might not believe in him, it could be that people on our streets scough at him, might be that no one pays attention to him; but we imagine that Jesus, if he is Jesus, has to say to our culture sth like this:

“Don’t worry. I mean, things might not be what they should be, but don’t worry. Just put on a fixed religious smile, come to church occasionally, and everything is going to be ok.”

This is exactly what the people in Jeremiah’s day thought: they had a temple in their midst and probably went there regularly, they did all the “religious” stuff. Surely God was happy with them.

But the shocking thing about Jesus’ words in Luke 12, is that he answers his question in the negative. Do you think I came to bring peace on the earth? NO!

Very unsettling!

And we saw last week that the source of this wrong answer so often given, is first and foremost, the fault of the false teacher/ the false prophets.

The assumption that everything is going to be ok, that God is basically at peace with the world and we’re at peace with him, that we can somehow go around parts of God’s word we don’t like, that there’s heaven for all—all these are the deceptive words of the false prophets.

If you can remember, God declared he was going to take care of them.

And today, I want us to see that God’s word to us through Jeremiah 25 is very similar to what the Lord Jesus had to say to that question: Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No! no peace

Which is serious stuff,

And yet, the people of Judah in Jeremiah’s day, just like our day, were not listening.

It’s a big point in this passage:

v.3 …but you have not listened

v.4 … you have not listened nor paid any attention

v.7 …but you did not listen

v.8 …Because you have not listened to my words

  1. God’s patience will run out

Though false prophets abounded in Judah and misled the people, the people of Judah had absolutely no excuse. They had for sure heard the true word of God.

v.3 For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened.

The year is 605BC, a very important year in the Bible story as it’s the year the Babylonians invade Judah and the first exiles are sent to Babylon.

And for 23 years, Jeremiah has been prophesying to them. 23 years!

That phrase “again and again”, is a Hebrew word that means “From early morning…” From early morning, throughout the day, day after day—God has spoken his word to his people, but they have not listened.

And it’s not just Jeremiah, God has sent other prophets

4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention.

They may have politely heard what was said, but they were not listening.

Because God said, in v.5

“Turn now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever.

But they haven’t been listening because they haven’t turned— the word sometimes translated as repent in the Old Testament.

It means change the direction of your path. He says to them you are on a pathway that is evil, change.

But have they changed, have they listened?

v.8 “But you did not listen to me,” declares the Lord, “and you have aroused my anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves.”

When people have read verses like this in the OT, they have come out with all sorts of caricatures about God.

At the kringloop yesterday I saw one of Richard Dawkins’ famous books, The God Delusion where he says that the God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in fiction: jealous, petty, unforgiving, vindictive, malevolent bully.


23 years. Again and again. Other servants, again and again.

God has been out of this world-ly patient with them

Presbyterian theologian Peter Leithart:

The impression we get … is not that God is a stingy disciplinarian with an anger problem. If anything, … God … is irresponsibly indulgent toward his people, a God who does not seem to realize he cannot run the world without a dose of law and order.

He continues,

By the time Judah is sent into Babylonian exile …, we are not saying, “My, what a harsh God”; if we read attentively, we are saying, “It’s about time! What took him so long?”

You see, the God of the Bible is extraordinarily patient: Slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love

2 Peter 3:v9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Friends, are there areas in your life over which the lord has been speaking to you about? I

s there something the Lord has been telling you to do, or to stop doing?

Can you sense the Holy Spirit’s finger on something, even now as I speak…

Is it possible that there was a time in your Christian life when you really did pay attention to the word of God. You listened. You were eager. But that is now in some, maybe, distant past

Or perhaps you are not a Christian, but you come to church when you can. You hear. Again and again. But you are not listening.

The Lord is patient, but his patient will run out

  • God’s judgment will come

Everything is not business as usual. The Lord has sent his servants with a word of warning and grace, they have not listened. And so the Lord will send another servant. Shocking that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is referred to as my servant. And what will happen,

V.9 I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. 10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp.

11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

It is the images we see on our TVs of Ukranian towns attacked by Russia. Normal life as they knew it, would cease to exist. Even mundane things like turning off the lights at night.

God’s judgment will come!

And we know this happened. This is not fairy tale. This is real history, and you can find evidence in some of the big Museums here in Europe.

In just a few months, the Babylonians arrived, and though it took about 20yrs for Judah to completely fall and the temple destroyed, it did happen.

But it’s not just Judah going to face God’s judgment.

v.15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. 16 When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.”

There is something called a cup of God’s wrath. A dark, bitter, poisonous goblet which staggers and stupefies.

And all the surrounding nations are there, including Babylon. It’s like a drinking Olympics: drinking the cup of God’s wrath.

And notice that everyone must drink it. v.28, if they refuse to take the cup and drink, the LORD Almighty says you must drink it.

He is the creator and everyone must give an account to him.

But it’s also not just these nations in the Middle East,

End of v.30, … He will shout against all who live on the earth

v.31 The tumult will resound to the ends of the earth,

he will bring judgment on all mankind

    and put the wicked to the sword,’”

declares the Lord.

v.32 “Look! Disaster is spreading

    from nation to nation;

a mighty storm is rising

    from the ends of the earth.”

33 At that time those slain by the Lord will be everywhere—from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground.

Do you see that this more than just the local, geographical and historical event that happened in 605BC.  This is a universal reality.

There is a day when we all will have to give an account before God. A day when his righteous anger is poured on all rebellion, and all mankind is told: you must drink it.

CS Lewis

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.

God’s patience will run out

God’s judgment will come

  • God’s son drinks the cup of wrath for us

You see, if the answer to that question posed by Jesus, Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? If the answer is a NO, like Jesus says it is, then what did he come to do?

Our gospel reading today, Mark 10:45, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

You see, friends, there is only one man in human history, alone in human history, who did not need to drink the cup of God’s wrath.

And yet, he was willing to take the cup from God’s hands and gobble it.

Jesus in the garden: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

And it was the Father’s will, and it was Jesus submission, that he would drink that cup of God’s righteous judgment against sin.

See, that’s why he is going to the cross; to drink the cup of God’s wrath in our place, as our representative, as our substitute, as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

We do not need to drink the cup of God’s wrath, which we all deserve. Actions have consequences!

And so, it’s only when we understand something of the nature of God’s wrath, the awfulness of what it is to experience his righteous judgment against our rebellion, then we will begin to see what an amazing and glorious and gracious savior we have.

Til on that cross as Jesus died

The wrath of God was satisfied

For every sin on Him was laid Here in the death of Christ I live.