SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:
26:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah at the beginning of the reign of Josiah’s son, King Jehoiakim of Judah. 2 The Lord said, “Go stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s temple. Speak out to all the people who are coming from the towns of Judah to worship in the Lord’s temple. Tell them everything I command you to tell them. Do not leave out a single word. 3 Maybe they will pay attention and each of them will stop living the evil way they do. If they do that, then I will forgo destroying them as I had intended to do because of the wicked things they have been doing. 4 Tell them that the Lord says, ‘You must obey me; you must live according to the way I have instructed you in my laws. 5 You must pay attention to the exhortations of my servants the prophets. I have sent them to you over and over again. But you have not paid any attention to them. 6 If you do not obey me, then I will do to this temple what I did to Shiloh. And I will make this city an example to be used in curses by people from all the nations on the earth.’”
7 The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah say these things in the Lord’s temple. 8 Jeremiah had just barely finished saying all the Lord had commanded him to say to all the people when all at once some of the priests, the prophets, and the people grabbed him and shouted, “You deserve to die! 9 How dare you claim the Lord’s authority to prophesy such things! How dare you claim his authority to prophesy that this temple will become like Shiloh and that this city will become an uninhabited ruin!” Then all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the Lord’s temple.
10 However, some of the officials of Judah heard about what was happening, and they rushed up to the Lord’s temple from the royal palace. They set up court at the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple. 11 Then the priests and the prophets made their charges before the officials and all the people. They said, “This man should be condemned to die because he prophesied against this city. You have heard him do so with your own ears.”
12 Then Jeremiah made his defense before all the officials and all the people. “The Lord sent me to prophesy everything you have heard me say against this temple and against this city. 13 But correct the way you have been living and do what is right. Obey the Lord your God. If you do, the Lord will forgo destroying you as he threatened he would. 14 As to my case, I am in your power. Do to me what you deem fair and proper. 15 But you should take careful note of this: If you put me to death, you will bring on yourselves and this city and those who live in it the guilt of murdering an innocent man. For the Lord has sent me to speak all this where you can hear it. That is the truth!”
16 Then the officials and all the people rendered their verdict to the priests and the prophets. They said, “This man should not be condemned to die. For he has spoken to us under the authority of the Lord our God.” 17 Then some of the elders of Judah stepped forward and spoke to all the people gathered there. They said, 18 “Micah from Moresheth prophesied during the time Hezekiah was king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says,
“‘Zion will become a plowed field.
Jerusalem will become a pile of rubble.
The temple mount will become a mere wooded ridge.”’
19 “King Hezekiah and all the people of Judah did not put him to death, did they? Did not Hezekiah show reverence for the Lord and seek the Lord’s favor? Did not the Lord forgo destroying them as he threatened he would? But we are on the verge of bringing great disaster on ourselves.”
20 Now there was another man who prophesied as the Lord’s representative against this city and this land just as Jeremiah did. His name was Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim. 21 When King Jehoiakim and all his bodyguards and officials heard what he was prophesying, the king sought to have him executed. But Uriah found out about it and fled to Egypt out of fear. 22 However, King Jehoiakim sent some men to Egypt, including Elnathan son of Achbor, 23 and they brought Uriah back from there. They took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him executed and had his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.
24 However, Ahikam son of Shaphan used his influence to keep Jeremiah from being handed over and executed by the people.
27:1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah early in the reign of Josiah’s son, King Zedekiah of Judah. 2 The Lord told me, “Make a yoke out of leather straps and wooden crossbars and put it on your neck. 3 Use it to send messages to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. Send them through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to King Zedekiah of Judah. 4 Charge them to give their masters a message from me. Tell them, ‘The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to give your masters this message: 5 “I made the earth and the people and animals on it by my mighty power and great strength, and I give it to whomever I see fit. 6 I have at this time placed all these nations of yours under the power of my servant, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. I have even made all the wild animals subject to him. 7 All nations must serve him and his son and grandson until the time comes for his own nation to fall. Then many nations and great kings will in turn subjugate Babylon. 8 But suppose a nation or a kingdom will not be subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Suppose it will not submit to the yoke of servitude to him. I, the Lord, affirm that I will punish that nation. I will use the king of Babylon to punish it with war, starvation, and disease until I have destroyed it. 9 So do not listen to your prophets or to those who claim to predict the future by divination, by dreams, by consulting the dead, or by practicing magic. They keep telling you, ‘You do not need to be subject to the king of Babylon.’ 10 Do not listen to them, because their prophecies are lies. Listening to them will only cause you to be taken far away from your native land. I will drive you out of your country and you will die in exile. 11 Things will go better for the nation that submits to the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon and is subject to him. I will leave that nation in its native land. Its people can continue to farm it and live in it. I, the Lord, affirm it!”’”
12 I told King Zedekiah of Judah the same thing. I said, “Submit to the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon. Be subject to him and his people. Then you will continue to live. 13 There is no reason why you and your people should die in war or from starvation or disease. That’s what the Lord says will happen to any nation that will not be subject to the king of Babylon. 14 ‘Do not listen to the prophets who are telling you that you do not need to serve the king of Babylon. For they are prophesying lies to you. 15 For I, the Lord, affirm that I did not send them. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. If you listen to them, I will drive you and the prophets who are prophesying lies out of the land and you will all die in exile.’”
16 I also told the priests and all the people, “The Lord says, ‘Do not listen to what your prophets are saying. They are prophesying to you that the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple will be brought back from Babylon very soon. But they are prophesying a lie to you. 17 Do not listen to them. Be subject to the king of Babylon. Then you will continue to live. Why should this city be made a pile of rubble?’” 18 I also told them, “If they are really prophets and the Lord is speaking to them, let them pray earnestly to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Let them plead with him not to let the valuable articles that are still left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem be taken away to Babylon. 19 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has already spoken about the two bronze pillars, the large bronze basin called ‘The Sea,’ and the movable bronze stands. He has already spoken about the rest of the valuable articles that are left in this city. 20 He has already spoken about these things that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not take away when he carried Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and the nobles of Judah and Jerusalem away as captives from Jerusalem to Babylon. 21 Indeed, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, has already spoken about the valuable articles that are left in the Lord’s temple, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem. 22 He has said, ‘They will be carried off to Babylon. They will remain there until it is time for me to show consideration for them again. Then I will bring them back and restore them to this place. I, the Lord, affirm this!’
28:1 The following events occurred in that same year, early in the reign of King Zedekiah of Judah. To be more precise, it was the fifth month of the fourth year of his reign. The prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, spoke to Jeremiah in the Lord’s temple in the presence of the priests and all the people: 2 “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says, ‘I will break the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon. 3 Before two years are over, I will bring back to this place everything that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took from it and carried away to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jehoiakim’s son King Jeconiah of Judah and all the exiles who were taken to Babylon.’ Indeed, the Lord affirms, ‘I will break the yoke of servitude to the king of Babylon.’”
5 Then the prophet Jeremiah responded to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the Lord’s temple. 6 The prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do all this! May the Lord make your prophecy come true! May he bring back to this place from Babylon all the valuable articles taken from the Lord’s temple and the people who were carried into exile. 7 But listen to what I say to you and to all these people. 8 From earliest times, the prophets who preceded you and me invariably prophesied war, disaster, and plagues against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 So if a prophet prophesied peace and prosperity, it was only known that the Lord truly sent him when what he prophesied came true.”
10 The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck and broke it. 11 Then he spoke up in the presence of all the people. “The Lord says, ‘In the same way I will break the yoke of servitude of all the nations to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon before two years are over.’” After he heard this, the prophet Jeremiah departed and went on his way.
12 But shortly after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah’s neck, the Lord’s message came to Jeremiah. 13 “Go and tell Hananiah that the Lord says, ‘You have indeed broken the wooden yoke. But you have only succeeded in replacing it with an iron one! 14 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says, “I have put an irresistible yoke of servitude on all these nations so they will serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. And they will indeed serve him. I have even given him control over the wild animals.”’” 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah told the prophet Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The Lord did not send you! You are making these people trust in a lie. 16 So the Lord says, ‘I will most assuredly remove you from the face of the earth. You will die this very year because you have counseled rebellion against the Lord.’”
17 In the seventh month of that very same year the prophet Hananiah died.