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Quiet Time in Jeremiah 4

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Jeremiah 4 (HCSB)

Blessing or Curse

1 If you return, Israel—this is the Lord’s declaration—you will return to Me, if you remove your detestable idols from My presence and do not waver,

2 then you can swear, “As the Lord lives,” in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then the nations will be blessed by Him and will pride themselves in Him.

3 For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

Break up the unplowed ground; do not sow among the thorns.

4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it because of your evil deeds.

Judgment from the North

5 Declare in Judah, proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:

Blow the ram’s horn throughout the land. Cry out loudly and say:

Assemble yourselves, and let’s flee to the fortified cities.

6 Lift up a signal flag toward Zion. Run for cover! Don’t stand still! For I am bringing disaster from the north—a great destruction.

7 A lion has gone up from his thicket; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his lair to make your land a waste. Your cities will be reduced to uninhabited ruins.

8 Because of this, put on sackcloth; mourn and wail, for the Lord’s burning anger has not turned away from us.

9 “On that day”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“the king and the officials will lose their courage. The priests will tremble in fear, and the prophets will be scared speechless.”

10 I said, “Oh no, Lord God, You have certainly deceived this people and Jerusalem, by announcing, ‘You will have peace,’ while a sword is at our throats.”

11 “At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, ‘A searing wind blows from the barren heights in the wilderness on the way to My dear people. It comes not to winnow or to sift; 12 a wind too strong for this comes at My call. Now I will also pronounce judgments against them.’”

13 Look, he advances like clouds; his chariots are like a storm. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined!

14 Wash the evil from your heart, Jerusalem, so that you will be delivered. How long will you harbor malicious thoughts within you?

15 For a voice announces from Dan, proclaiming malice from Mount Ephraim.

16 Warn the nations: Look! Proclaim to Jerusalem:

Those who besiege are coming from a distant land; they raise their voices against the cities of Judah.

17 They have her surrounded like those who guard a field, because she has rebelled against Me.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

18 Your way of life and your actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. It is very bitter, because it has reached your heart!

Jeremiah’s Lament

19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in agony! Oh, the pain in my heart! My heart pounds; I cannot be silent. For you, my soul, have heard the sound of the ram’s horn—the shout of battle.

20 Disaster after disaster is reported because the whole land is destroyed. Suddenly my tents are destroyed, my tent curtains, in a moment.

21 How long must I see the signal flag and hear the sound of the ram’s horn?

22 “For My people are fools; they do not know Me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good.”

23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone.

24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills shook.

25 I looked, and no man was left; all the birds of the sky had fled.

26 I looked, and the fertile field was a wilderness. All its cities were torn down because of the Lord and His burning anger.

27 For this is what the Lord says:

The whole land will be a desolation, but I will not finish it off.

28 Because of this, the earth will mourn; the skies above will grow dark. I have spoken; I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back from it.

29 Every city flees at the sound of the horseman and the archer. They enter the thickets and climb among the rocks. Every city is abandoned; no inhabitant is left.

30 And you, devastated one, what are you doing that you dress yourself in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? You beautify yourself for nothing. Your lovers reject you; they want to take your life.

31 I hear a cry like a woman in labor, a cry of anguish like one bearing her first child. The cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands: Woe is me, for my life is weary because of the murderers!


SIN (verse 14): Wow, Father! I see You’re speaking directly to me in this particular verse today. I’ve struggled with this for my entire life due to my upbringing. I was taught that real men don’t share their emotions or cry; that they just bottle things up and keep on a strong exterior. As a result, I lived this way, harboring so many malicious thoughts inside of my heart for far too long. Please forgive me for not washing the evil from my heart sooner, Father. Please forgive me for not at least speaking to You about all of the negativity I’ve bottled up for so long. Help me to continue to get better at sharing my emotions with You, with my wife, and with other Godly men like my Real Men 300 group.

PROMISE (verses 1-2): In these verses, Father, You assure us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those who follow You and do not waver. You promise us that we will be blessed by You if we remove the false idols in our lives and do not waver in our faith walk with You, Father. Help me to remember this promise through all things this life throws at me, Father. Help me to remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is You. Thank You for this promise as it gives me hope that this life is not damned or lost due to all the brokenness and corruption in this world.

ATTITUDE (verses 18, 22): In these two verses, You speak of the evil entering our heart, us being skilled in doing what is evil, and not knowing how to do what is good. This, in a sense, has been my attitude for so long, Father. I often defer to the easier, more pleasurable to the flesh ways of doing things in this life, which is a horrible way of living. So much pain and suffering has resulted from all that evil in my heart and all the evil things I have done in this life. Help me to have an attitude that is good in nature, Father. Help the attitude I have towards my actions and thoughts be protected by Your word so that I not only learn how to do Your good deeds, but also truly want to do those more than the sinful ways of the flesh and the world. Help me to learn how to do what is good in Your eyes. Help me to want to do the good that You want me to do far more than the evil that I’ve been accustomed to doing for far too long, Father.

COMMAND (verses 14, 18, 22): Once again, Father, I feel like You are speaking directly to me with these verses. You command us to wash the evil from our hearts as this evil has brought on self-inflicted punishment and a bitterness in our lives. Your way and Your will for us is not to live with evil in our hearts. Help me to follow this command on a daily basis, Father, so that any evil that arises from that day will be cleansed by Your grace immediately. Help me to no longer harbor evil thoughts and feelings inside of me, Father, so that my ways are according to Your will and not my own. Help me to follow Your commands more intently and consistently, Father.

EXAMPLE (verses 1, 4, 14, 18, 22): In this Scripture, I feel these five verses are speaking directly to me, Father. It’s likely why I’ve focused on them so exclusively during this conversation with You in my quiet time. You give such a great example to live by in these verses alongside the conviction You’ve given me. You tell us to remove false idols and to not waver in our faith walk with You; You tell us to remove anything from our hearts that is keeping us from truly embracing You in our lives; You tell us to wash away the evil from our hearts; You tell us that the evil things we do and evil thoughts we have in this life are what brings us bitterness and punishment; You tell us to learn to do what is good in Your eyes rather than defaulting to the “easy” evil ways of this world. Help me to live in these examples You provide to us, Father. Help me to learn to do Your good through all things, so that my evil ways of the past are no longer my default. Thank You for the example You’ve given me, Father, so that I may learn to be more like You and less like me in this life.

*DAILY NOTE: Father, thank You so much for this conversation today. Thank You for speaking directly to me so loudly and clearly through my quiet time with You. I obviously have a lot to work on in my heart and mind when it comes walking in my faith in this life, Father. Please continue to remind me that Your ways are better than my own and that harboring negativity in my mind and heart never produces good fruits, Father. Thank You for this relationship and all of the wisdom and counsel You have provided me throughout my life, Father. Thank You for always being there for me, even when I have failed so many times.

*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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