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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 16:5-9

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, November 17, 2014

5 This is what the LORD says:
Do not enter a house where people are grieving.
  Do not go to mourn anyone or to comfort anyone,
  for I have taken away my peace from this people,
  declares the LORD, along with my mercy and my compassion.
6 Both the greatest and the least will die in this land.
     No one will bury them or mourn for them.
     No one will cut himself or shave himself for them.
7 No one will break bread to comfort those who mourn the dead.
     No one will offer a drink of consolation,
     even for a father or a mother.

The Lord’s command to Jeremiah was: Do not mourn. Why? It was a picture of the very hard days to come, when no one would be left to mourn. Now the Lord fleshes out this command by telling the prophet not even to comfort someone in mourning.

8 Do not enter a house where there is feasting,
     to sit down or to eat or drink.
9 For this is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel says:
I will end the sounds of joy and happiness in this place,
  and the voices of bride and groom.
This will happen before your eyes,
  and in your lifetime.

Just to be sure he is understood, God commands Jeremiah: Don’t even go into a house where people are mourning. In fact, don’t go into a house where people are celebrating a marriage, either. Perhaps this was a small consolation to Jeremiah, who had also been commanded not to get married. By avoiding weddings, he would not be tempted to miss what he was forbidden from having. God imposed an unnatural life on the prophet and caused him suffering to illustrate the suffering Judah would have because of their sins.

Throughout this chapter, we will be reminded that God see and knows everything. This quality in God is what we call his omniscience (“to know everything”). Since God is omniscient, he knows far more than we think or imagine.

Too often we consider God’s omniscience only in terms of the bad things he sees us do. Do we imagine God to be a supreme Type-A executive who paces and fumes in his office behind glass doors at all of the sins committed every second of every day by every single one of us? God sent his Son to atone for those sins!

“Scripture shows us also how to employ God’s omniscience for our comfort in spiritual and physical needs. God knows those who have a contrite heart, who tremble at his word (Isaiah 66:2), and he delights to dwell with them in his grace (Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 34:18 and 51:17). Our heavenly Father knows our physical wants and needs (Matthew 6:32). He knows the righteousness of our cause when the enemies of the truth malign and persecute us (Psalm 17:3).” (Pieper, Christian Dogmatics Vol. I p. 449).

God is concerned with who we are, right now. He is concerned our spiritual place in his kingdom. He is concerned about our sins. But he also knows the state of our hearts and he knows that one person’s repentance might look different than that of another person. His consolation through Christ is always ours. Hold on to the comfort you have in Jesus, and know that you have a place in heaven by faith in your Savior. Don’t let anyone cloud over the gospel in your heart. Eagerly await the day when God will say to you: “I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (Exodus 33:17).

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.