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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 21:13,14

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, February 6, 2015

13 Remember, I am against you,
      you who live in this valley
      on the rocky plateau, declares the LORD—
you who say, “Who can come against us?
  Who can enter our homes?”

The “yous” in this verse and the next switch back and forth from feminine to masculine, and it would take some careful explaining to describe exactly who might be involved here. But in the context of the surrounding passages, we know that God is condemning Jerusalem in general. So without worrying too much as to whether it’s the city (“you”), the king, the inhabitants, or all of the above, we’ll take the whole thing as a judgment on Jerusalem and its people.

The geography of verse 13 is also a little perplexing. Jerusalem is only somewhat in a “valley,” inasmuch as the surrounding hills such as the Mount of Olives are taller. The “rocky plateau” is probably a way of describing the outcropping from the plain to the north that the city was built upon, but which then spills over into the three valleys to the east, south and west. The people thought they were well defended, but if God is against a city, who could possibly defend it (the reverse of Romans 8:31)?

14 “I will punish you according to what you have done,” says the
     “I will kindle a fire in the forest,
        and it will consume everything around you.”

The punishment was coming. A friend of mine told me this morning that Jeremiah seems so depressing. It can certainly be that. So these verses should compel us to praise God for his grace. These judgments of unquenchable fire remind us that we will not get what we deserve for our sins, thanks to Jesus and the mercy that comes through his blood. He suffered the pain, the agony, the shame and the abandonment of hell in our place, so that we will never have to. Praise God for our loving Jesus! Rest secure in your forgiveness, and your place with God forever in peace.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.