Dave Burnette's Commentary

Jeremiah Chapter 23

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (627-586 BC)
Overview: To Urge God's People to Turn from Sin to God (c 1-52)
Theme: God's Judgement on Judah (c 1-45)
Message: A Righteous King Will Come (v 1-40)

Jeremiah 23 Commentary 

(23:1-4) Leadership - Those responsible for leading Israel in God's path were the very ones leading them to destruction, so God decreed harsh judgment against them. Leaders are held responsible for those entrusted to their care. Whom has God placed in your care? Make sure you protect them however you can and use your influence to encourage them to follow God. 

(23:5-6) The Perfect King - Jeremiah contrasted the present corrupt leaders with the coming Messiah, the perfect King, who would come from David's line to reign over Israel. 

(23:9-14) A Corrupt Nation - How did the nation become so corrupt? A major factor was false prophecy. The false prophets had a large, enthusiastic audience and were very popular because they made the people believe that all was well. By contrast, Jeremiah's message from God was unpopular because it showed the people how bad they were. There are four warning signs of false prophets--characteristics we need to watch for even today: (1) They may appear to speak God's message, but they do not live according to God's principles. (2) They water down God's message in order to make it more palatable. (3) They encourage their listeners, often subtly, to disobey God. (4) They tend to be arrogant and self-serving, conforming and appealing to the desires of their audiences instead of being true to God's Word. 

(23:14) God's Judgement - Sodom and Gomorrah were sinful cities destroyed by God (Genesis 19:23-24). In the Bible, they typify the ultimate in degrading, sinful behavior and rebellion against God. 

(23:20) Latter Days - "In the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly" means that the people would see the truth of this prophecy when Jerusalem fell. 

(23:21-24) Limiting God - In Jeremiah's time, those who claimed to speak for God were often guilty of representing a deity they thought of as limited and localized--a neighborhood god. Their gods frequently had limited interests and shortsighted awareness. God declared his omnipresence with a question: "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" We make the same mistake those would-be prophets made when we assume God doesn't know or care about the situations in our lives or when we question his ability to handle circumstances beyond our control. How big is the God you worship? 

(23:28) Chaff and Wheat - False prophets and true prophets are as different as chaff and wheat. Worthless chaff is useless for food and blows away with the wind; it cannot compare in value to nourishing wheat. To share the gospel is a great responsibility because the way we present it and live it will encourage people either to accept it or reject it. Whether we speak from a pulpit, teach in a class, or share with friends, we are entrusted with accurately communicating and living out God's Word. As you share God's Word with friends and neighbors, they will look for its effectiveness in your life. Unless it has changed you, why should they think it can change them? If you preach God's Word, make sure you are also living it! 

(23:33-40) Rejecting Jeremiah - People mocked Jeremiah by saying sarcastically, "What is the burden of the LORD?" To them, Jeremiah seemed to bring nothing but God's sad news of condemnation. But this sad news was the truth. If they had accepted it, they would have had to repent and turn to God. Because they did not want to do this, they rejected Jeremiah's message. Have you ever rejected a message or made fun of it because it would require you to change your ways? Before dismissing someone who brings news you don't want to hear, look carefully at your motives.

(23:36-39) Listening to God - We must listen carefully and examine thoroughly the words of those who say they have messages from the Lord. Their messages may be coming from the Holy Spirit's leading, or they may be a reflection of their own ideas, feelings, or wishes. New messages from God must be consistent with Scripture and agree with any previous messages from God (1 John 4:1-3).


Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Fox in the Henhouse

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we continue in the Book of Jeremiah with chapter 23. In our text today, we see a warning against false prophets and those who scatter the flock. In making an application, we see that the enemy will place those in the house of God who will mislead and try to scatter the flock. Just like a fox in the henhouse, we need to be aware of this tactic and know our Bibles so we will not be misled by false doctrine and teachings. How about you? Do you know your Bible enough to recognize false prophets among us? Let us learn from our text today to realize that we must read and study our Bibles to acknowledge that the enemy will place false prophets in the Church so we will recognize when there is a fox in the henhouse.


Jeremiah 23

Jeremiah 23

 1Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

 2Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

 3And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

 4And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

 5Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

 6In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 7Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

 8But, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.

 9Mine heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine hath overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.

 10For the land is full of adulterers; for because of swearing the land mourneth; the pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up, and their course is evil, and their force is not right.

 11For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the LORD.

 12Wherefore their way shall be unto them as slippery ways in the darkness: they shall be driven on, and fall therein: for I will bring evil upon them, even the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.

 13And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err.

 14I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness; they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

 15Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.

 16Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.

 17They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.

 18For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?

 19Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked.

 20The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

 21I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.

 22But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.

 23Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?

 24Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

 25I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.

 26How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;

 27Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.

 28The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

 29Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

 30Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.

 31Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.

 32Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

 33And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest, shall ask thee, saying, What is the burden of the LORD? thou shalt then say unto them, What burden? I will even forsake you, saith the LORD.

 34And as for the prophet, and the priest, and the people, that shall say, The burden of the LORD, I will even punish that man and his house.

 35Thus shall ye say every one to his neighbour, and every one to his brother, What hath the LORD answered? and, What hath the LORD spoken?

 36And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man's word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.

 37Thus shalt thou say to the prophet, What hath the LORD answered thee? and, What hath the LORD spoken?

 38But since ye say, The burden of the LORD; therefore thus saith the LORD; Because ye say this word, The burden of the LORD, and I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say, The burden of the LORD;

 39Therefore, behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you, and I will forsake you, and the city that I gave you and your fathers, and cast you out of my presence:

 40And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.