Our next practical lesson from Jeremiah is this:
14. GOD IS OMNIPOTENT & OMNISCIENT.
Jeremiah 32:17,19 - "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You...You are great in counsel and mighty in work, for your eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings."
There is nothing too difficult for God! He can do anything that is subject to power. He knows everything about mankind (e.g., Luke 12:7); in fact, He knows anything that is able to be known (cf. I John 3:20). God is awesome!
15. THE WICKED CAN STOP GOD'S MESSENGERS, BUT NOT GOD'S MESSAGE.
Jeremiah 37:15-17 - "Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison in the house of Jonathan the scribe. For they had made that the prison. When Jeremiah entered the dungeon and the cells, and Jeremiah had remained there many days, then Zedekiah the king sent and took him out. The king asked him secretly in his house, and said, 'Is there any word from the LORD?' And Jeremiah said, 'There is.' Then he said, 'You shall be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon!'"
When it comes to the word of the Lord, to kill the messenger (or slow him down) has no real effect on the message. God's message is not contingent upon the life or health of a mortal messenger. Paul affirmed in II Timothy 2:9 - "For which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains but the word of God is not chained."
16. GOD'S PATIENCE IS OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD AS DIVINE APPROVAL.
Jeremiah 44:17,18 - "But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well off, and saw no trouble. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and famine."
Here is a sad example of false logic. These people have a long history of idolatry. Yet because God put up with their sins for a long while because of His patience, they misunderstand that as His approval. Now they are suffering and have incorrectly deduced that it is because they have ceased certain idolatrous behavior! We today should be careful not to incorrectly deduce that physical blessings (e.g., wealth, health, achievement, etc.) are a result of our own righteousness or an indicator of our spiritual standing before God. Sometimes the wicked prosper--at least for a while. Do not mistake God's patience for divine approval.
Let us also consider two lessons from the book of Lamentations which are included here since Jeremiah wrote that book also.
17. THE LORD WILL DO WHAT HE HAS PURPOSED.
Lamentations 2:17 - "The LORD has done what He purposed; He has fulfilled His word which He commanded in days of old. He has thrown down and has not pitied, and He has caused an enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the horn of your adversaries."
May God's will be done always in all things, even when it means suffering and punishment for us.
18. GOD IS FAITHFUL.
Lamentations 3:22-26 - "Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I hope in Him!' The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD."
Captivity and punishment would be temporary for the Israelite people; there would be a restoration! God is faithful to His children today. That should give us great hope! God is faithful always; we must faithfully follow.