Jeremiah 15:1
Then the LORD said to me: "Even if Moses and Samuel should stand before Me, My heart would not go out to this people. Send them from My presence, and let them go.
Sermons
Fruitless IntercessionJ. Waite Jeremiah 15:1
Great IntercessorsS. Conway Jeremiah 15:1
Intercession RejectedJeremiah 15:1
Intercessory PrayerW. Whale.Jeremiah 15:1
Righteousness, the Strength of NationsH. Melvill, B. D.Jeremiah 15:1
Sins for Which Saintly Intercession Cannot AvailA.F. Muir Jeremiah 15:1
The Limits of Intercessory PrayerS. Conway Jeremiah 15:1
The Uselessness of Intercession Once More Emphatically StatedD. Young Jeremiah 15:1
Fearful Aspects of the Divine CharacterS. Conway Jeremiah 15:1-9
Moses is spoken of as an intercessor in Exodus 17:11; Exodus 32:11; Numbers 14:13; Psalm 106:23: Samuel in 1 Samuel 7., 8; 8:6; 12:16-23; 15:11; Psalm 99:6. Noah, Daniel, and Job are mentioned similarly (Ezekiel 14:14). It is, then, in their special intercessory character that these fathers are referred to. At the time when their intercessions took place they were the leaders and representatives of Israel, and because of their saintliness they had favor with God. But the sins for which Judah and Jerusalem are now to be punished are by this reference declared of a more heinous description than any that took place in those days, It is a mere supposition which is made, evidently no description of the normal relation of glorified saints to Jehovah, but simply a hypothetical statement as to what they, in their earthly capacity, would have failed to do.

I. THE INTERCESSIONS OF RIGHTEOUS MEN AVAIL MUCH. Many a time in the wilderness had Moses stayed the impending wrath of God because of murmuring and disobedience; and this not simply because he was the civil leader of the people, but through his own saintly, high-priestly character. This is a principle of God's dealings with men. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much;" and one of the chief occupations of the Church is represented as praying for the salvation of the world and the coming of the kingdom of God. It is because such men represent the future hope of the race, being a kind of firstfruits of them that shall be saved, that they have this power. In themselves too, because of what they are, they are pleasing to God, who delights in their prayers and praises. There is something very striking and touching in this spectacle of one standing for many, and we have to think of how great has been the blessing which has been thus secured to the world through its saints. But they all appear trifling compared with that which Christ has secured through the intercession of his prayers, obedience, and sacrifice. In his case (what could scarcely be said of any saint) his intercession has a solid objective worth because of what it is in itself, and avails as a consideration with God for the cleansing of all who identify themselves with him through faith.

II. BUT THERE ARE CONDITIONS WHICH DESTROY THE EFFICACY OF SUCH INTERCESSION. Their influence is but partial and imperfect, depending as it does upon their own inadequate fulfillment of the Law and will of God. If it were a question of strict account, they themselves would not be able to stand in his presence. It is of his grace that, even for a moment, they may be said to have influence for others. And it may be said that their intercession is but provisional, and, if not followed up By the obedience of those for whom they pray, it will be followed with the more condign punishment upon the transgressors. It is a great tribute to the vicarious power possible to saints that even the most eminent of them should be quoted in such a connection. But it shows how inadequate such a mediatorship would be for the general sin of man. We may do much, each of us, to avert just judgments, to secure opportunities of salvation, and to bring the grace of God to bear upon the hearts of others; but we cannot save them by any communication of our own acceptance with God to them. They must stand or fall according to their own relation to the will of God and the person of his Son. And there are degrees of guilt which far surpass any intercession of this kind. The sin of unbelief especially, if it be unrepented of, will prevent any benefit being received. The permanent position of our souls with respect to Divine grace will depend, therefore, upon their own action or belief. Even Christ cannot save if we do not believe in his Name and obey him. - M.







Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be towards this people.
It is of great importance that we distinguish between communities, and the individuals of which communities are composed. When the whole human race shall be gathered before the tribunal of Christ, every man will receive the recompense due to his actions whilst on earth. But nations cannot be judged or punished as nations; so if God is to mark His sense of the evil wrought by communities in their collective capacity, it must be by present retribution. Accordingly we have full testimony given from Scripture and from experience, that although, in the ordinary course of Divine judgment, individuals are not in this life dealt with according to their actions, yet communities may expect to prosper or decline according as they resist or submit to the revealed will of God. The national character must be determined by the character of the majority; and when this character is so debased that the national punishment can no longer be delayed, there may be numbers influenced by a holy and unaffected piety, and warm love of God. And can these faithful ones be instruments in averting or mitigating wrath? Or if they cannot prevail for the deliverance of others, will they not at least be saved from all share in the coming disaster? These are interesting questions; and the best answer can be drawn from the words of our text. Moses and Samuel are supposed to stand forth as pleaders for the land; they are too late — pleading is in vain. Still it is evidently implied that at a less advanced stage in national guilt the intercession would have been of avail. Then, moreover, a distinction is evidently drawn between a guilty people and such advocates as Moses and Samuel. The people are to be "cast out"; but we are left to infer that such as Moses and Samuel would not share to the full extent in the national disaster. Let us look more closely into these points. Call to mind that remarkable portion of Holy Writ in which Abraham is represented as pleading for Sodom. If the city would have been spared had these ten righteous lived within its walls, there is incontrovertible proof that godly men are the salt of the earth, and may often be instrumental in preserving communities from utter desolation. It was not without a very emphatic meaning that Christ styled His disciples "the salt of the earth." By their mere presence in the midst of ungodly men, and yet more, by their prayers and intercessions, may the righteous often arrest vengeance and prevent the utter ruin of a country. The wicked know nothing of their obligations to the righteous. In general, they despise or hate the righteous — either accounting them fools, or galled by the reproof conveyed by their example. If they had what they wish, they would remove the righteous from amongst them, reckoning that they should then have greater freedom in pursuing their schemes, or enjoying their pleasures. And little do they think that these very objects of their scorn and dislike may be all the while their best guardians and benefactors; turning aside from them evils by which they might be otherwise rapidly overtaken, and procuring for them a lengthened portion of Divine patience and forbearance. Little do they think that the worst thing possible for their country and themselves is when there is a rapid diminution in the number of the righteous; every good man who dies and leaves no successor being as a practical withdrawal from that leaven which alone stays the progress of the universal decomposition. Now we have reached the point at which piety ceases to have power in averting evil from others. What does it, then, do for the pious themselves? Intercession time has gone — the judgment time has come; and every man must be dealt with according to his own character. But if righteousness then lose its power to avail with God for others, besides its possessors; and if on this account the righteous may well shrink from such seasons, yet it appears certain that righteousness is as acceptable as ever to God, and that therefore the righteous have nothing to fear individually for themselves. Come plague! come depopulation! if thou art indeed a devoted, consistent servant of God, they shall not touch thee till the time has come which has been fixed by thy merciful Father! "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee." The funeral procession may wend often from their doors, bearing away (it is melancholy to think) those for whose salvation they have long prayed, and for whom they have daily sought a further day of grace; but they themselves shall be unassailed till the day which, in any case, God had fixed for their entry into rest; and thus shall the pestilence, whose ravages in their households did but fit them for higher glory, do only the part of common sickness in freeing them from a corruptible body. And, therefore, may those in whose hearts is "the fear of the Lord," hear without trepidation what God says about bringing His sore judgments on a land. There are two very important considerations suggested by the subject we have thus endeavoured to discuss.

1. We wish you to observe that he who serves God, serves his country best.

2. We ask you to observe that whatever the advantages which a man derives from having pious relatives, there is a point at which those relatives can afford him no help.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. INTERCESSORY PRAYER IS AN EXERCISE OF GREAT VALUE.

1. As developing our love to man. Interesting ourselves in his trials, seeking to save him from his sins.

2. As carrying out the Divine precepts. In the spirit of Christ, in the fellowship of life.

3. As following after noble examples.

4. As obtaining great blessings for others.

II. INTERCESSORY PRAYER CAN BE OFFERED ONLY BY GOOD MEN.

1. He must not be under the sin against which he prays.

2. He should know by experience the value of the blessing he craves for another.

3. He must be willing to join effort with prayer.

III. INTERCESSORY PRAYER HAS SOME LIMITATIONS EVEN WHEN OFFERED BY THE BEST OF MEN. This is evident —

1. From Scripture.

2. From observation.

IV. INTERCESSORY PRAYER IS A GRAND DISTINCTION AND PROVISION OF THE GOSPEL. We have —

1. The best of intercessors (Hebrews 7:25). In office, sympathy, work, influence.

2. Praying for the best of blessings. Salvation, preservation, comfort, glory.

3. Taking up the ease of every soul that trusts Him.

4. Always successful.

(W. Whale.)

The Hebrews had justly a very high opinion of Moses. How proudly they boasted, "We are the disciples of Moses!" As the late Dr. R.W. Dale has pointed out, "More than Luther is to Germany, more than Napoleon is to France, more than Alfred, or Elizabeth, or Cromwell, or William

III. is to England, Moses was to the Jewish people — prophet, patriot, warrior, lawgiver, all in one." Yet even so great a servant of God as Moses together with the famous seer Samuel, would avail nothing in intercession for the Jews at this time. My mind, saith the Lord, could not be toward this people.

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