The Book of JEREMIAH
James J. Barker
LEARN NOT THE WAY OF THE HEATHEN
- Jeremiah 10 is
a continuation of the message began in Jeremiah 7:1.
- The LORD told
Jeremiah to stand in the temple gate and preach to the people as they were
entering the temple.
- Their crowning
sin was idolatry. They went to the
temple to worship God, but they continued to worship Baal and the other heathen
gods (cf. 7:9, 30; 9:14).
- They even
sacrificed their children to demons in the valley of the son of Hinnom
- They were also
guilty of worshipping the sun, the moon, and the stars (cf. 8:1, 2), which
Jeremiah refers to again in chapter 10.
- Jeremiah 10:2
says, "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
THE PEOPLE'S IDOLATRY
- Idolatry has been a
problem since the beginning. In Joshua 24:2, Joshua said to the children of
Israel, "Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other
side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the
father of Nachor: and they served other gods."
- Abraham was an idolater
before God saved him.
- Laban, the father of
Rachel, and father-in-law to Jacob, was an idolater, and in Genesis 31:19 we
read that Rachel stole her father's idols. However she did not tell
- Laban chased after Jacob,
and when he caught up with him he rebuked him and said, "Wherefore hast thou
stolen my gods?" (Gen. 31:30).
- The Egyptians were
idolaters, and Israel picked up their idolatrous ways when they were living
there. Leviticus 18:3 says, "After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye
dwelt, shall ye not do."
- When Moses was meeting
with God up on Mount Sinai, his brother Aaron and the backslidden Israelites
made and worshipped a golden calf (Ex. 32).
- Many other examples could
be mentioned. Idolatry is in the
wicked heart of man, so I John 5:21 says, "Little children, keep yourselves
from idols. Amen."
- And here in Jeremiah
10:2, the LORD says, "Learn not the way of the heathen."
- Astrology is popular
today, but it is thoroughly heathen.
fortune-telling, tarot cards, crystal balls, sťances, botanicas, etc. are "the
way of the heathen."
- Parents who teach their
children to celebrate Halloween are teaching them "the way of the
- And I hate to say this
because most of the children in our church attend public schools, but it is in
the public schools that many children are learning the way of the heathen
- Christians learn the way
of the heathen by watching their ungodly entertainment, and listening to their
ungodly music, etc.
- It is no coincidence that
the worldly crowd's most popular show is called "American
- God told Israel, "Be not
dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them"
(10:2). "Dismayed" means to be
- The heathens deified the
heavenly bodies, and were terrified by celestial signs such as eclipses and
comets, which they construed as the displeasure of the gods (Unger's
Commentary on the Old Testament).
- In his scathing
condemnation against their idolatry, Jeremiah pointed out how foolish it was
(10:3-5). The idol had to
be nailed down lest it fall down or was stolen (10:4).
- The idols "speak not"
(10:5), but the living God speaks from heaven (cf. 10:1).
- First Thessalonians 1:9
says they "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true
- Jeremiah 10 contrasts the
living and true God with dead idols:
- Jer. 10:6 says, "there is none like unto thee, O
- God is to be feared and revered as the "King of nations"
- Verse 8 says those who worship idols "are altogether
brutish and foolish" (stupid, cf. vss. 14, 15). "The stock (tree -- cf. vs. 3) is a
doctrine of vanities" (nothing; worthless).
- Verse 10 says, "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
- The true and living God is our Creator (10:11-13). Evolution is a modern form of
evolution" is an unscriptural compromise.
- Verse 16 says the God of Jacob is "the former of all
things." This means he is the maker
and creator of all things. "The
LORD of hosts is his name" (10:16b).
THE PUNISHMENT FOR THEIR
- Verse 17 says,
"Gather up thy wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress." The "fortress" refers to their
protection during the coming siege.
- Jeremiah is
telling them to get ready to go into exile. But the people did not obey Jeremiah,
and unfortunately the false prophets told them everything would be okay (cf.
- Unlike the
false prophets, Jeremiah told them the truth. The LORD was going to "sling out the
inhabitants of the land" (10:18).
- The punishment
would be very painful, but they had been warned many times (10:19,
- Three times in
this chapter the people are called "brutish," i.e. stupid (10:8, 14,
THE PROPHET'S PRAYER
- In his prayer,
Jeremiah confessed his dependence upon God (10:23).
- Proverbs 20:24
says, "Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?"
- In his prayer,
Jeremiah identified himself with his nation (10:23-25).
- Nehemiah and
Daniel did this also (cf. Neh. 1:6-11; Dan. 9:3-20).
- Jeremiah not
only prayed for "correction" (10:24), he also asked the LORD to pour out His
fury upon the heathen (10:25).
- Verses like
this bother people who do not understand Scripture. Merrill Unger says, Jeremiah "cried out
for retribution upon Israel's enemies.
It was not a prayer of hate of a nationalistic Jew vented against the
detested Gentiles. It was a
Spirit-indited prayer that God might destroy them before they accomplished their
wicked plan to destroy God's people and His plan of redemption through them"
(Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament).
be confused with astronomy, which is the scientific study of the physical
universe, astrology uses non-scientific methods to predict how the relative
positions of celestial bodies may influence human behavior and future events
(cf. Jer. 10:2).
These astrologers are pretty certain that this
November's election will be similar to what happened in the 2000 election, when
the election results were disputed by Al Gore.
However, according to the predictions of five
astrologers who attended this conference, Barack Obama will win re-election in
While attempting to persuade Brutus to join his
conspiracy to assassinate Julius Caesar, Shakespeare has Cassius say, "The
fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are
Brutus was correct to say the fault is not in the stars,
however, it is not in ourselves either. Jeremiah said,
"O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it
is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (10:23).
- I read this
article on line this morning: a
conference of the world's top astrologers was recently held in New Orleans and
about 1,500 people participated in workshops and panel