Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:Jeremiah 10:11
Dr. Stock, in his History of the Church Missionary Society, says that Claudius Buchanan, in his valedictory address to the first men sent to India, refers to this unique Chaldaic verse embedded in the Hebrew of Jeremiah's prophecy. 'Just as if,' says Buchanan, 'while you are receiving instructions in your own tongue, one sentence should be given you in the Tamil or Cinghalese language which you should deliver to the Hindus.'
Reference.—X. 16.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Isaiah and Jeremiah, p. 268.
The Collapses of Life
Jeremiah 10:19-20, Psalm 27:5
I. The Lament of the Prophet.—' Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous, truly this is my grief.' It was not an irritation, inconvenience, or annoyance, a disagreeable, disappointing incident, as so many of our troubles are: it was a bitter grief, a crushing overthrow.
1. The overthrow is total. 'My tent is spoiled and all my cords are broken.' Many times had the land of Israel been devastated and its population subjected to loss and suffering; on this occasion the catastrophe was to be overwhelming. Thus from time to time is it with the individual. Sometimes adverse financial fortune wrecks our tent Sometimes the calamity that surprises us is the total failure of our health.
2. The overthrow is sudden. A tent in the wilderness is broken without warning, and herein is the symbol of our overthrows. We speak of coming events casting their shadows before: tremendous events supervene with little warning. The most desolating bolts shoot out of a blue sky, the spectre of ruin is ambushed in broad sunshine and takes us unawares.
3. The overthrow is irreparable. 'There is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.' This order of calamity is repeated in private life. Usually the losses of life admit of ameliorations; but some deprivations are complete, some losses final. We must look the fact in the face that the day approaches when we shall be totally helpless, when nothing can be done, and everything must be endured.
4. The overthrow is personal. 'Truly this is my grief, and I must bear it' We live in a world of misfortunes and sorrows; but, as a rule, they do not greatly affect us: they occur in distant places, they affect strangers. One day, however, the calamity comes right home, and the arrow drinks up our spirit. 'It is my grief.'
II. The Psalmist's Refuge.—'For in the day of trouble He shall keep me secretly in His pavilion: in the covert of His tent shall He hide me.' When your tent sinks away hopelessly there is a royal pavilion in which you may hide—this is the sublime direction and consolation of these precious words—something deeper than our grief, vaster than our sorrow.
Fly to the living God. Jeremiah, in the chapter whence our first text is taken, dwells upon the reality and glory of the living God. We believe in the living God—all-wise, just, loving, keeping mercy for thousands who fear Him, and we trust in His perfect government and glorious purpose.
—W. L. Watkinson, Themes for Hours of Meditation, p. 44.
References.—X. 23.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. 1. No. 2893. XI. 8.—Ibid. vol. xiv. No. 838. XI. 12.—W. J. Knox-Little, Labour and Sorrow, p. 131.
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.
Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.
Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.
But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.
The portion of Jacob is not like them: for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: The LORD of hosts is his name.
Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress.
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once, and will distress them, that they may find it so.
Woe is me for my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.
My tabernacle is spoiled, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth of me, and they are not: there is none to stretch forth my tent any more, and to set up my curtains.
For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
Behold, the noise of the bruit is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.
Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name: for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.