Jeremiah 6:30
They are called rejected silver, for the LORD has rejected them.
Sermons
Reprobate SilverD. Young Jeremiah 6:30
God's Appeal for Vindication of His VengeanceS. Conway Jeremiah 6:18-30
The Prophet a Spiritual AssayerA.F. Muir Jeremiah 6:27-30
Refining FireP. R. Frothingham.Jeremiah 6:29-30
The Bellows BurntJeremiah 6:29-30
The Prophet's Consuming Zeal and the People's UnresponsivenessJeremiah 6:29-30
Two important things are to be remembered with regard to the meaning of the words in this verse.

1. That Jeremiah uses the same Hebrew verb where we have the two different words, "reprobate" and "rejected." What Jeremiah really says is that the silver hears the name "rejected silver," because Jehovah has rejected it.

2. The verb employed is commonly used to signify the action which is opposed to choosing; e.g. in Isaiah 7:15 the time is spoken of when a child becomes able to reject the evil and to choose the good, and in Isaiah 41:8, 9 there is a still more striking instance, because of its bearing on the words now under consideration. These are the words: "Thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not rejected thee." Thus it will be seen that we are not simply to think of rejection over against approval. Silver ore, being put through the most searching test possible, may respond to the test by coming out approved silver. But he who is thus able to approve is not necessarily in the position which requires him to choose. He may only have the duty of an assay agent, which stops with reporting the result of his test; he who has employed is the man to make the choice. Now, God tries in order that he may decide for himself whether to choose or reject; e.g. he rejected Saul from reigning over Israel, which of course means that, from the hour of rejection, Saul's throne was considered vacant. We can now proceed to point out the truths implied in this verse.

1. There can be no adequate discernment of the merit or demerit of any man unless by God himself. Only when God rejects can the stamp "rejected" be put on any one. Men may set up their canons of approval; they may apply their tests, philosophical, or political, or literary, or even theological. They may reject and excommunicate, pursuing with fiercest hatred all who are not approved according to their tests. Thus there will be a partial and temporary rejection, but since it comes from no adequate inquiry, the rejection itself will be rejected by a higher authority. Of this we have a conspicuous, we may even say the supreme, instance in Psalm 118:22, "The stone which the builders rejected [the same Hebrew word as Jeremiah uses, be it observed] is become the head of the corner." It may be, indeed, that he whom some men reject may in the end be rejected by God also, but it will be for very different reasons.

2. The reasons for rejection we must try to discover. The Lord rejects those who claim to be accepted. He will reject the claim when it is that of mere national descent, as when Jesus said to the proud Jews who opposed him, that out of the stones he could make children to Abraham. God rejects all mere formal acknowledgment of him; it is not enough to say, "Lord, Lord." He rejects all that is the mere exercise and effort of intellectual faculties. In short, he rejects all that does not begin with a complete acceptance of Christ, and hence go on in the spirit of entire submission to him. Illustrations of what prompts to rejection are furnished both before and after this verse, e.g. in ver. 20, where the incense, etc., is rejected, i.e. of course, the men who offer the incense, and in Jeremiah 7:14, where the admired temple is threatened with overthrow. A mere building is shown to be nothing in God's sight unless it is frequented by such as are themselves acceptable to him. Observe also, in ascertaining the reason for rejection, how the word "silver" is kept. The thing tested is rejected, not because it is counterfeit, but because it is persistently impure. It will not yield up those baser elements which are so intimately blended with it, and effectually destroy the value and hide the luster of the pure silver. And yet remember how high rejected man rises above rejected silver. Man in his freedom may relent from his stubbornness and submit to those renewing and purifying processes which will result in the silver being approved and chosen.

3. There is no chance of establishing and commending what the Lord rejects. Saul did his best to struggle against the Divine decision, but there is no more pitiable sight in all the records of kingship than that which he presents in the struggle. We also must reject those whom God rejects; and there can be no mistake about it that we must reject those who reject God - such as are spoken of in 2 Kings 17:15, those who rejected the statutes of God and the covenant that he had made with their fathers, and the testimonies which he testified against them. - Y.







The bellows are burnt.
Apply to —

I. THE PROPHET HIMSELF. The prophet was exhausted before the people were impressed. So also with Noah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus Himself. Nor since, by apostles, confessors, zeal-consuming preachers, has the iron-hearted world become melted; but they themselves have suffered and perished amid their work.

1. It is the preacher's business to continue labouring till he is worn out.

2. The Gospel he preaches is the infallible test between the precious and the vile.

II. THE AFFLICTIONS WHICH GOD SENDS UPON UNGODLY MEN. Sent to see if they will melt in the furnace or not. But where there is no grace in affliction the afflictions are sooner exhausted than the sinner's heart is made to melt under the heat caused thereby — e.g., Pharaoh, not softened by all the plagues. Ahaz, "when he was afflicted, he sinned yet more and more." Jerusalem, often chastised, yet incorrigible. Sinners, upon whom God's judgments exert no melting power.

III. THE CHASTISEMENTS WHICH GOD SENDS UPON HIS OWN PEOPLE. The great Refiner will have His gold pure, and will utterly remove our tin. Do not let it be said that the bellows are used till they are worn out before our afflictions melt us to repentance and cause us to let go our sins.

IV. THE TIME IS COMING WHEN THE EXCITEMENT OF UNGODLY MEN WILL FAIL THEM. Many activities are kept up by outward energies inciting men.

1. Excitement in pursuit of wealth. Yet how little will the joys of wealth stimulate you in your last moments!

2. Excitement in pursuing fame. Alas! men burn away their lives for the approbation of fellow creatures; and these fires will die down into darkness.

3. Living for pleasure; but satiety follows, and the flame of joy goes out.

4. Hypocrisy is with some their "bellows"; but this feigned zeal and pretended piety will end in black despair.

V. THOSE EXCITEMENTS WHICH KEEP ALIVE THE CHRISTIAN'S ZEAL. In certain Churches we have seen great blazings of enthusiasm, misnamed "revivals," mere agitations. Genuine revivals I love, but these spurious things are fanaticism. Why was it the fire soon went out? The man who blew the bellows left the scene of excitement, and darkness ensued. Our earnestness is worthless which depends on such special ministrations. Is the fire in our soul burning less vehemently than in years past? Our obligations to live for Christ are the same; our Master's claims on our love are as strong; the objects for which we served God in the past are as important. Should we grow less heavenly the nearer we come to the New Jerusalem?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

He likens the people of Israel to a mass of metal. This mass of metal claimed to be precious ore, such as gold or silver. It was put into the furnace, the object being to fuse it, so that the pure metal should be extracted from the dross. Lead was put in with the ore to act as a flux (that being relied upon by the ancient smelters, as quicksilver now is in these more instructed days); a fire was kindled, and then the bellows were used to create an intense heat, the bellows being the prophet himself. He complains that he spake with such pathos, such energy, such force of heart, that he exhausted himself without being able to melt the people's hearts; so hard was the ore, that the bellows were burned before the metal was melted — the prophet was exhausted before the people were impressed; he had worn out his lungs, his powers of utterance; he had exhausted his mind, his powers of thought; he had broken his heart, his powers of emotion; but he could not divide the people from their sins, and separate the precious from the vile.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The lead is consumed of the fire.
We mean precisely the same thing as the Hebrew prophet meant when we say, as nowadays we are so apt to say, that life is a school. People still are puzzled by the punishments of life. The discipline is strict. The rules are rigid. Oftentimes we suffer. It is not by any means all play. But there are lessons to be learned, and forbearance to be used, and suffering to be borne. It seems to us narrow and foolish of Jeremiah to have fancied that the Lord raised up those great Assyrian and Babylonian nations simply for the purpose of trying and testing the Jewish people. It was narrow also of the Jews to fancy themselves the "chosen people," whom God particularly loved and wished to save. Yet all of us today are similarly narrow in one sense, and we have to be. We cannot free ourselves, you and I and others like us, from the conviction that we, as men and women, by virtue of the very life that is in us, are the centre and meaning of this entire universe. Believe this in some degree we must. Doubt it, and the very heavens are bleak and bare. Every system in philosophy, every article of religious faith, every discovery in science, is based, more or less directly, upon the supposition of this distinct relationship between the outer universe and the life of man. Let us use, for convenience' sake, the analogy of the prophet. We will suppose that we are placed here as the crude ore is thrown into the furnace, in order to be refined. Along what lines should the process of refinement work? Nothing is more familiar than the claim that sorrow chastens us, and hardships strengthen, and trials test. As Goethe said, "Talent is perfected in retirement, but character only in the stream of life." They tell this concerning Wendell Phillips. Whenever the great orator tended to become a little prosy in his speeches, and to lose some of his customary fire, certain young Abolitionists used to get together near the door and start a hiss. The note of disapproval never failed to arouse the lion in the speaker, and he was electrified at once into matchless eloquence. The world's agencies of trial and toil and difficulty are indeed in vain, the bellows of life are consumed most uselessly, if you and I are not made more courageous and calm and self-reliant by the process. And yet the hard things of this world ought not to be the only ones to have this refining influence. We are weak and ungrateful, and made of anything but precious metal, if we are not purified by the privileges of life, hallowed by its happiness, humbled by success. In everyday life most of us are not deficient in gratitude. We appreciate the kindness and generosity of our friends. But how few of us in comparison fall to our knees in an hour of newborn joy, or reverently think of life's higher meaning, and resolve on a rigider performance of our duties, when success has bathed us in its golden sunshine! There is no much surer test of character than this: What effect has good fortune had? If the person is innately weak to whom some power or privilege has come, he answers it by pride and selfishness and vain indulgence. He feels himself exalted; and, instead of looking up in reverence and humility to his God, he looks down with coldness on his fellow men. Shall I tell you what is to me one of the most inspiring, beautiful sights in all the wide range of human activity and character? It is to see and know of anyone truly great who has been humbled by success, and touched into infinite modesty by the consciousness of superlative ability. It is to find people refined into simplicity and gentle devoutness by the world's blandishments and distinctions and honours. And this has been the refining influence to which the noblest and the truest ones have answered. You all know, too, the saying of the distinguished, world-honoured discoverer, Sir Isaac Newton, — that he was nothing but a helpless child gathering pebbles on a boundless shore, with the great ocean of undiscovered truth stretching away beyond him. I have spoken of sorrow and of joy — the two extremes of existence — as having properly this purifying influence on life. Let, me now speak broadly of certain phases of refinement which ought to appear as the result of the world's great processes.

1. First, there is the refining fire of glory, which is so abundant in the outward world. It is for us to answer it by what is known as reverence. We have not the pure metal which is sought, if we are not so refined by the wonders of the world as to kneel in worship, and uplift our souls in awe. "This world is not for him who does not worship," said an ancient Persian sage; and our kindred souls give back the truth across the centuries, "This world is not for him who does not worship."

2. Again, there is the burning fact of law. All things around us are done with persistency. Everything is regular. The smallest function is precise. Surely the knowledge of such constancy should have its influence on us. It should take what is pure within us. It should appeal to the clear metal of our better selves, and make us trust.

3. Finally, the fire of utter impartiality surrounds us. The world is laid at each one's feet. The Divine bounty is not given to this person, and denied to that one; but all of us receive. And the answering refinement which should come from receptive human beings, who may doubt its nature or its need? A suggestive legend comes to us from Mohammedan writings. Abraham, it is said, once received an old man in his tent, who, in sitting down to eat, neglected to repeat a "grace." "My custom," he said, in explanation, "is that of the fire worshipper." — Whereupon the Jewish patriarch in wrath undertook to drive him from his door. But suddenly God appeared to him, and, restraining the churlish impulse, cried: "Abraham, for one hundred years the Divine bounty has flowed out to you in sunshine and in rain; and is it for you to deny shelter to this man because his worship is not thine?" Even thus does nature speak a silent yet severe rebuke to our narrowness, our lack of sympathy, our petty distinctions and rivalries in social life. "Be broad," she cries. "Let love control your acts; to those who need, extend a helping hand."

(P. R. Frothingham.).

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