Even though the 10 northern tribes had been in exile for more than a century, this message is addressed to the whole house of Israel.
Verse 1 – Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.
Verse 2 – Thus says the Lord: “Do not learn the way of the Gentiles; do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the Gentiles are dismayed at them.
Verse 3 – For the customs of the people are futile; for one cuts a tree from the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.
The people of Judah were following the ways of the Gentiles by looking for signs of the future in the stars. This was the way of the pagan worshipers.
Verse 4 – They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with nails and hammers so that it will not topple.
Verse 5 – They are upright, like a palm tree, and they cannot speak; they must be carried, because they cannot go by themselves. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good.”
Kind of sounds like they decorated trees like we do our Christmas trees. However, they worshiped theirs, we don’t.
Verse 6 – Inasmuch as there is none like You, O Lord (You are great, and Your name is great in might),
Verse 7 – Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? For this is Your rightful due. For among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like You.
Jeremiah made it very clear: Yahweh was not just the God of the Jews only, but He reigns over all mankind. Psalm 22:28 – For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He rules over the nations.
Verse 8 – But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; a wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.
Verse 9 – Silver is beaten into plates; it is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of craftsman and of the hands of the metalsmith; blue and purple are their clothing; they are the work of skillful men.
Verse 10 – But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth will tremble, and the nations will not be able to abide His indignation.
Verse 11 – Thus you shall say to them: “The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.”
Verse 12 – He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.
The creation of the earth, the material world, is an act of “power.” The establishing, the ordering and arranging it as a place fit for man’s abode, is the act of “wisdom.” The spreading out the heavens over it like a tent, is an act of “understanding” or skill.
Verse 13 – When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: “And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for rain, He brings the wind out of His treasures.” (Psalm 135:7)
God and only God, controls the weather. He created “it all” and controls it “all!” So the next time you think your problem, no matter what it is, is too big for Him to handle, re-read all the verses in the Bible that tells us – He controls it all!
Verse 14 – Everyone is dull-hearted, without knowledge; every metalsmith is put to shame by the graven image; for his molded image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
Verse 15 – They are futile, a work of errors; in the time of their punishment they shall perish.
Verse 16 – The Portion of Jacob is not like them, for He is the Maker of all things, and Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; the Lord of hosts is His name.
Verse 17 – Gather up your wares from the land, O inhabitant of the fortress!
Verse 18 – For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will throw out at this time the inhabitants of the land, and will distress them, that they may find it so.”
Verse 19 – Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is severe. But I say, “Truly this is an infirmity, and I must bear it.”
Verse 20 – My tent is plundered, and all my cords are broken; my children have gone from me, and they are no more. There is no one to pitch my tent anymore, or set my curtains.
Jeremiah describes the overthrow of the land, or Jerusalem, by the breaking the cords of a tabernacle. When the cords, stakes on every side, are broken, the tabernacle fails.
Verse 21 – For the shepherds have become dull-hearted, and have not sought the Lord; therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
The leaders, pastors, kings, and rulers, have not governed wisely. These leaders were responsible for leading Judah astray.
Verse 22 – Behold, the noise of the report has come, and great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, a den of jackals.
Verse 23 – O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.
Verse 24 – O Lord, correct me, but with justice; not in Your anger, lest You bring me to nothing.
Some are afraid to ask the Lord to “order their steps.” Why? Because of the unknown. But because we learn through scripture and by His Spirit, He guides and corrects through love, He will never lead you to do you harm.
Verse 25 – Pour out Your furry on the Gentiles, who do not know You, and on families who do not call on Your name; for they have eaten up Jacob, devoured him and consumed him, and made his habitation desolate.
The prayer ends with a request for God to pour out His wrath on the nations that did not acknowledge God, those who had consumed Judah. This request is granted in Jeremiah 30:16.
When any nation takes it upon themselves to cause Israel to suffer, our God will devour them. However, in the Old Testament God did use these nations to bring His people back to Him and then He punished the nations He used. He’s God and His ways are not our ways.