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Quiet Time in Jeremiah 23

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Jeremiah 23 (HCSB)

The Lord and His Sheep

1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” This is the Lord’s declaration. 2 “Therefore, this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who shepherd My people: You have scattered My flock, banished them, and have not attended to them. I will attend to you because of your evil acts”—this is the Lord’s declaration. 3 “I will gather the remnant of My flock from all the lands where I have banished them, and I will return them to their grazing land. They will become fruitful and numerous. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them. They will no longer be afraid or dismayed, nor will any be missing.” This is the Lord’s declaration.

The Righteous Branch of David

5 “The days are coming”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“when I will raise up a Righteous Branch of David. He will reign wisely as king and administer justice and righteousness in the land.

6 In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. This is what He will be named:

Yahweh Our Righteousness.

7 “The days are coming”—the Lord’s declaration—“when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt,’ 8 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other countries where I had banished them.’ They will dwell once more in their own land.”

False Prophets Condemned

9 Concerning the prophets:

My heart is broken within me, and all my bones tremble. I have become like a drunkard, like a man overcome by wine, because of the Lord, because of His holy words.

10 For the land is full of adulterers; the land mourns because of the curse, and the grazing lands in the wilderness have dried up. Their way of life has become evil, and their power is not rightly used

11 because both prophet and priest are ungodly, even in My house I have found their evil.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

12 Therefore, their way will be to them like slippery paths in the gloom. They will be driven away and fall down there, for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

13 Among the prophets of Samaria I saw something disgusting:

They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray.

14 Among the prophets of Jerusalem also I saw a horrible thing:

They commit adultery and walk in lies. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, and none turns his back on evil. They are all like Sodom to Me; Jerusalem’s residents are like Gomorrah.

15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Hosts says concerning the prophets:

I am about to feed them wormwood and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.

16 This is what the Lord of Hosts says: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They are making you worthless. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the Lord’s mouth. 17 They keep on saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said: You will have peace.’ They have said to everyone who follows the stubbornness of his heart, ‘No harm will come to you.’”

18 For who has stood in the council of the Lord to see and hear His word? Who has paid attention to His word and obeyed?

19 Look, a storm from the Lord! Wrath has gone out, a whirling storm. It will whirl about the heads of the wicked.

20 The Lord’s anger will not turn back until He has completely fulfilled the purposes of His heart. In time to come you will understand it clearly.

21 I did not send these prophets, yet they ran with a message. I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.

22 If they had really stood in My council, they would have enabled My people to hear My words and would have turned them back from their evil ways and their evil deeds.

23 “Am I a God who is only near”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and not a God who is far away? 24 Can a man hide himself in secret places where I cannot see him?”—the Lord’s declaration. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?”—the Lord’s declaration.

25 “I have heard what the prophets who prophesy a lie in My name have said, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the minds of the prophets prophesying lies, prophets of the deceit of their own minds? 27 Through their dreams that they tell one another, they plan to cause My people to forget My name as their fathers forgot My name through Baal worship. 28 The prophet who has only a dream should recount the dream, but the one who has My word should speak My word truthfully, for what is straw compared to grain?”—this is the Lord’s declaration. 29 “Is not My word like fire”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and like a hammer that pulverizes rock? 30 Therefore, take note! I am against the prophets”—the Lord’s declaration—“who steal My words from each other. 31 I am against the prophets”—the Lord’s declaration—“who use their own tongues to make a declaration. 32 I am against those who prophesy false dreams”—the Lord’s declaration—“telling them and leading My people astray with their falsehoods and their boasting. It was not I who sent or commanded them, and they are of no benefit at all to these people”—this is the Lord’s declaration.

The Burden of the Lord

33 “Now when these people or a prophet or a priest asks you, ‘What is the burden of the Lord?’ you will respond to them: What is the burden? I will throw you away”—this is the Lord’s declaration. 34 “As for the prophet, priest, or people who say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ I will punish that man and his household. 35 This is what each man is to say to his friend and to his brother, ‘What has the Lord answered?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ 36 But no longer refer to the burden of the Lord, for each man’s word becomes his burden and you pervert the words of the living God, the Lord of Hosts, our God. 37 You must say to the prophet: What has the Lord answered you? and What has the Lord spoken? 38 But if you say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ then this is what the Lord says: Because you have said, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ and I specifically told you not to say, ‘The burden of the Lord,’ 39 I will surely forget you and throw away from My presence both you and the city that I gave you and your fathers. 40 I will bring on you everlasting shame and humiliation that will never be forgotten.”


SIN (verses 10, 14): I have done many evil things in my life, Father. In this verse, You specifically speak to adultery and walking in lies. I have done both of these in my life. Please forgive me for the adultery I’ve committed towards my wife both physically and in my thought life. It is not Your way for me and I fell into the enemy’s traps so often without realizing the damage I was doing. Also, related to that, please forgive me for walking in lies so often in my life, Father. So often in my life I have found that walking in lies is an easier “default” than embracing Your truths. Forgive me for this weakness of mine, Father. Help me to remember that Your ways are always better than my own, no matter what deceptions the enemy and this world says to me.

PROMISE (verses 5-6): You make us such an amazing promise for the future here, Father. You foretell of an amazing King that will reign wisely over us in the future. This foretelling is a promise to us of Jesus’ coming. Thank You so much for this promise, Father. Without Jesus as our King in this life, we are all surely lost, so I thank You so much for always giving us a means to a better, more fulfilled, more righteous way of living this life. Thank You for giving us Your one and only Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, but also as the epitome and perfect example of a righteous way of living this life.

ATTITUDE (verses 16-17): In this life, I often struggle with listening to the sweet words of some of the false teachers out there, Father. I often struggle with proper discernment in the moment of knowing what is truly spoken from You versus what is deceivingly spoken through the enemy and/or the world. Help me with this broken attitude of mine, Father. Help me to be better at discerning in the moment when Your truths are being spoken. Help me to no longer be deceived by the “false prophets” of this world who claim to be speaking Your truths, but really are not. It quite easy to fall into the trap of comfort and peace that many preach are Your truths, when in reality the words they are speaking are selfish, deceitful lies that are nowhere near what You want us to understand. Thank You for providing Your word to us, Father, to give us a written testimony to what You want us to know, which is so vastly different from what the world will often tell us.

COMMAND (verse 28): In this verse, You tell us to make sure we differentiate between our own personal dreams and Your words and truths. You tell us that we are to speak Your word truthfully at all times. Help me to be more consistent in my reading and embracing of Your word, Father, so that I may become better and more confident in speaking those words to others. Help me to fully embrace the lessons You give to me through these quiet times and prayer, so that I may use Your truths to speak to and teach others in this life. Help me to glorify You in all that I say in this life, Father, just as You have commanded me to do so in this verse.

EXAMPLE (verses 33-37): These verses give us such a powerful example of discernment in this life. When others speak to us, claiming Your truths through prophecy and such, we should challenge them in a respectful manner to ensure what they are trying to convey to us is truly from You. You tell us to ensure we are able to discern that when someone tells us the “burden of the Lord” that it is actually each man’s own burden, not the Lord’s, and that the priest/prophet is perverting the words of our Father in Heaven for their own agenda. Help me to live this life with righteous discernment, Father. Help me to properly challenge those that need to be challenged in my life, so that I can discern whether or not what they are saying and doing is truly from You or for themselves. Help me to live in a way that does not claim a “burden of the Lord” but to refocus that as my own burdens that I need to go to You with, Father, so that You can help me through those times.

*DAILY NOTE: Such a long passage of Scripture, but also so much to learn from it. You took me from confessing to my adultery and my living in lies to showing me how we are to live this life with a proper, Biblical way of discernment. Thank You for Your living word, Father. Without it I would definitely fall into the many traps of this world FAR more often than I already have. Thank You for having a word that may have been written thousands of years ago, but still is relevant and applies to my daily life even today just as much as it would have back then. Thank You for speaking to me in a way, through Your word, that I am able to understand. Thank You for always being perfectly timed in the teachings You’re providing to me, Father, so that I may be better over time at living this life in a discerning manner that glorifies You through all things. Help me to be more confident in my understanding of Your truths and Your word, so that I live in an attitude of discernment to be able to challenge those that need to be challenged in this life, Father.

*GENERAL NOTE: I always "sandwich" my quiet time with God in prayer and do it in a location that I will not have any distractions so that I can be focused on my quiet time with God. Do not worry about how short or long your journal entries are for that day's quiet time. Just focus on the actual quiet time and relational conversation with God through the Holy Spirit and His Word. The journaling is an enhancement to your quiet time conversation with God, but also to allow you to reflect on things later as you can look back on your journal entries later when you do the chapters again in the future to see how you have grown. See the FAQ for more detail on how I do my quiet time.

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