The Old Testament Lesson for this Sunday is written in the book of the prophet Jeremiah. The text is Jeremiah 20:7-13 and is Jeremiah’s lament to the LORD following his recent interaction with the priest Pashhur. 19:1 tells us Pashhur did not appreciate the prophecies of Jeremiah, so he had him seized, beaten, and placed in stocks where he was mocked by the people of Israel. He was teaching him a lesson, however, when Jeremiah is released from the stocks he unleashes on the priest! Obviously, the “lesson” did not take.

Thus, we come to our pericope. Our pericope is one of Jeremiah’s well-known laments to the LORD. It is important to have a basic understanding of Hebrew lament. First, it is a normal and even encouraged way of speaking to the LORD. The words may appear a bit edgy to us but this is an accepted way to address the LORD God. In fact, lament is considered an act of faith; you do not question, or get angry at a God you do not believe in. Basically, lament is calling upon God to be faithful to His promises because you know He must be. Second, in lament all actions are left in the hands of the LORD. We see this in verses 11-12 as Jeremiah speaks of the LORD as the One who will rescue/deliver. He does not ask the LORD to let him have vengeance on his enemies, he asks the LORD to carry out the vengeance. This is important because the LORD will always act righteously, while man might screw it up. The solution, the resolution is always left in the hands of the LORD. Finally, in verse 13, Jeremiah rejoices in the deliverance he knows will come. He trusts the LORD to be faithful. He knows the LORD must answer, even though he is not certain how He will answer.

Lament is considered an act of faith; you do not question, or get angry at a God you do not believe in.

This text provides us with a beautiful opportunity to address our context as we continue to work through the “virus” journey. The LORD is our Deliverer. He hears our cries and answers our prayers. He is with us! See the sermon outline at the end of the text notes.

20:7 פִּתִּיתַנִי (pit-ti-Ta-ni) root: פתה (paw-thaw) Piel: “to persuade; to deceive; to induce”

וָאֶפָּת (va-ep-Pat) root: פתה (paw-thaw) Niphal: “to let oneself be deceived; to be deceived; to be persuaded”

לִשְׂחוֹק (lis-chOk) “laughingstock; and object of derision or mockery”

לֹעֵג (lo-Eg) Qal: “to mock; to stammer in someone’s face; to deride”

20:8 אֶזְעָק, (ez-Ak) root: זעק (zaw-ak) Qal: “to cry out; to call for help; to cry”

חָמָס (cha-Mas) “violence; wrong”

וָשֹׁד (va-Shod) “murder; death; violence, havoc”

לְחֶרְפָּה. (le-cher-Pah) “disgrace; shame”

וּלְקֶלֶס (u-le-Ke-les) “mockery; derision”

20:9 בֹּעֶרֶת (bo-E-ret) root: בער (baw-ar) Qal: “to burn; to be kindled”

עָצֻר (a-Tzur) Qal: “to hold back; to shut up”

וְנִלְאֵיתִי> (ve-nil-Ei-ti) root: לאה (law-aw) Niphal: “to struggle; to be wearied; to weary oneself”

כַּלְכֵל; (kal-Chel) root: כול (kool) Pilpoel: “to endure; to restrain; to contain”

20:10 דִּבַּת (dib-Bat) “rumor; whispering; report”

מָגוֹר (mo-Gor) “terror; fright; horror”

אֱנוֹשׁ / (e-Noosh) “man”

צַלְעִי; (tzal-I) “fall; stumble”

יְפֻתֶּה> (ye-fut-Teh) root: פתה (paw-thaw) Pual: “to let oneself be persuaded; to be persuaded”

נִקְמָתֵנוּ (nik-ma-Te-nu) “revenge; vengeance”

20:11 עָרִיץ (a-Ritz) “powerful; violent; terror-striking”

יִכָּשְׁלוּ (yik-ka-she-Lu) root: כשׁל (kaw-shal) Niphal: “to stumble; to stagger”

הִשְׂכִּילוּ (his-Ki-lu) root: שׂכל (saw-kal) Hiphil: “to achieve success; to cause one to have success; to prosper”

20:12 בֹּחֵן (bo-Chen) Qal participle: “the one who tests; the one who tries”

כְלָיוֹת. (che-la-Yot) “kidney; mind”

נִקְמָתְךָ (nik-ma-te-Cha) “vengeance; retribution”

רִיבִי (ri-Vi) “cause; case; lawsuit; strife”

20:13 שִׁירוּ (Shee-ru) root: שׁיר (sheer) Qal: “to sing; to sing in praise”

אֶבְיוֹן, (ev-Yon) “oppressed; needy”

מְרֵעִים. (me-re-Im) root: רעע (raw-ah) Hiphil, participle: “to do evil; evildoers”

Outline

Title: Deliver Us O LORD!

  1. The feeling of abandonment
    1. Sin separates man from God.
    2. The evil of this day feels like separation from our LORD.
  2. The cry for deliverance: O LORD save us!
    1. Christ heard the cries of His creation and He came to us.
    2. Christ hears the cries in the midst of our crisis and He with us.
  3. Confident faith in the Deliverer
    1. We believe—help our unbelief.
    2. Christ has conquered sin, death and Satan.
    3. Christ is the Deliverer from all evil and restores our souls.

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Additional Resources:

Concordia Theology-Various helps from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO to assist you in preaching Jeremiah 20:7-13.

Text Week-A treasury of resources from various traditions to help you preach Jeremiah 20:7-13.