They are called rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them."
Two important things are to be remembered with regard to the meaning of the words in this verse.
1. That Jeremiah uses the same Hebrew verb where we have the two different words, "reprobate" and "rejected." What Jeremiah really says is that the silver hears the name "rejected silver," because Jehovah has rejected it.
2. The verb employed is commonly used to signify the action which is opposed to choosing; e.g. in Isaiah 7:15 the time is spoken of when a child becomes able to reject the evil and to choose the good, and in Isaiah 41:8, 9 there is a still more striking instance, because of its bearing on the words now under consideration. These are the words: "Thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not rejected thee." Thus it will be seen that we are not simply to think of rejection over against approval. Silver ore, being put through the most searching test possible, may respond to the test by coming out approved silver. But he who is thus able to approve is not necessarily in the position which requires him to choose. He may only have the duty of an assay agent, which stops with reporting the result of his test; he who has employed is the man to make the choice. Now, God tries in order that he may decide for himself whether to choose or reject; e.g. he rejected Saul from reigning over Israel, which of course means that, from the hour of rejection, Saul's throne was considered vacant. We can now proceed to point out the truths implied in this verse.
1. There can be no adequate discernment of the merit or demerit of any man unless by God himself. Only when God rejects can the stamp "rejected" be put on any one. Men may set up their canons of approval; they may apply their tests, philosophical, or political, or literary, or even theological. They may reject and excommunicate, pursuing with fiercest hatred all who are not approved according to their tests. Thus there will be a partial and temporary rejection, but since it comes from no adequate inquiry, the rejection itself will be rejected by a higher authority. Of this we have a conspicuous, we may even say the supreme, instance in Psalm 118:22, "The stone which the builders rejected [the same Hebrew word as Jeremiah uses, be it observed] is become the head of the corner." It may be, indeed, that he whom some men reject may in the end be rejected by God also, but it will be for very different reasons.
2. The reasons for rejection we must try to discover. The Lord rejects those who claim to be accepted. He will reject the claim when it is that of mere national descent, as when Jesus said to the proud Jews who opposed him, that out of the stones he could make children to Abraham. God rejects all mere formal acknowledgment of him; it is not enough to say, "Lord, Lord." He rejects all that is the mere exercise and effort of intellectual faculties. In short, he rejects all that does not begin with a complete acceptance of Christ, and hence go on in the spirit of entire submission to him. Illustrations of what prompts to rejection are furnished both before and after this verse, e.g. in ver. 20, where the incense, etc., is rejected, i.e. of course, the men who offer the incense, and in Jeremiah 7:14, where the admired temple is threatened with overthrow. A mere building is shown to be nothing in God's sight unless it is frequented by such as are themselves acceptable to him. Observe also, in ascertaining the reason for rejection, how the word "silver" is kept. The thing tested is rejected, not because it is counterfeit, but because it is persistently impure. It will not yield up those baser elements which are so intimately blended with it, and effectually destroy the value and hide the luster of the pure silver. And yet remember how high rejected man rises above rejected silver. Man in his freedom may relent from his stubbornness and submit to those renewing and purifying processes which will result in the silver being approved and chosen.
3. There is no chance of establishing and commending what the Lord rejects. Saul did his best to struggle against the Divine decision, but there is no more pitiable sight in all the records of kingship than that which he presents in the struggle. We also must reject those whom God rejects; and there can be no mistake about it that we must reject those who reject God - such as are spoken of in 2 Kings 17:15, those who rejected the statutes of God and the covenant that he had made with their fathers, and the testimonies which he testified against them. - Y.
The bellows are burnt.
Apply to —
I. THE PROPHET HIMSELF. The prophet was exhausted before the people were impressed. So also with Noah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus Himself. Nor since, by apostles, confessors, zeal-consuming preachers, has the iron-hearted world become melted; but they themselves have suffered and perished amid their work.
1. It is the preacher's business to continue labouring till he is worn out.
2. The Gospel he preaches is the infallible test between the precious and the vile.
II. THE AFFLICTIONS WHICH GOD SENDS UPON UNGODLY MEN. Sent to see if they will melt in the furnace or not. But where there is no grace in affliction the afflictions are sooner exhausted than the sinner's heart is made to melt under the heat caused thereby — e.g., Pharaoh, not softened by all the plagues. Ahaz, "when he was afflicted, he sinned yet more and more." Jerusalem, often chastised, yet incorrigible. Sinners, upon whom God's judgments exert no melting power.
III. THE CHASTISEMENTS WHICH GOD SENDS UPON HIS OWN PEOPLE. The great Refiner will have His gold pure, and will utterly remove our tin. Do not let it be said that the bellows are used till they are worn out before our afflictions melt us to repentance and cause us to let go our sins.
IV. THE TIME IS COMING WHEN THE EXCITEMENT OF UNGODLY MEN WILL FAIL THEM. Many activities are kept up by outward energies inciting men.
1. Excitement in pursuit of wealth. Yet how little will the joys of wealth stimulate you in your last moments!
2. Excitement in pursuing fame. Alas! men burn away their lives for the approbation of fellow creatures; and these fires will die down into darkness.
3. Living for pleasure; but satiety follows, and the flame of joy goes out.
4. Hypocrisy is with some their "bellows"; but this feigned zeal and pretended piety will end in black despair.
V. THOSE EXCITEMENTS WHICH KEEP ALIVE THE CHRISTIAN'S ZEAL. In certain Churches we have seen great blazings of enthusiasm, misnamed "revivals," mere agitations. Genuine revivals I love, but these spurious things are fanaticism. Why was it the fire soon went out? The man who blew the bellows left the scene of excitement, and darkness ensued. Our earnestness is worthless which depends on such special ministrations. Is the fire in our soul burning less vehemently than in years past? Our obligations to live for Christ are the same; our Master's claims on our love are as strong; the objects for which we served God in the past are as important. Should we grow less heavenly the nearer we come to the New Jerusalem?
He likens the people of Israel to a mass of metal. This mass of metal claimed to be precious ore, such as gold or silver. It was put into the furnace, the object being to fuse it, so that the pure metal should be extracted from the dross. Lead was put in with the ore to act as a flux (that being relied upon by the ancient smelters, as quicksilver now is in these more instructed days); a fire was kindled, and then the bellows were used to create an intense heat, the bellows being the prophet himself. He complains that he spake with such pathos, such energy, such force of heart, that he exhausted himself without being able to melt the people's hearts; so hard was the ore, that the bellows were burned before the metal was melted — the prophet was exhausted before the people were impressed; he had worn out his lungs, his powers of utterance; he had exhausted his mind, his powers of thought; he had broken his heart, his powers of emotion; but he could not divide the people from their sins, and separate the precious from the vile.
The lead is consumed of the fire.We mean precisely the same thing as the Hebrew prophet meant when we say, as nowadays we are so apt to say, that life is a school. People still are puzzled by the punishments of life. The discipline is strict. The rules are rigid. Oftentimes we suffer. It is not by any means all play. But there are lessons to be learned, and forbearance to be used, and suffering to be borne. It seems to us narrow and foolish of Jeremiah to have fancied that the Lord raised up those great Assyrian and Babylonian nations simply for the purpose of trying and testing the Jewish people. It was narrow also of the Jews to fancy themselves the "chosen people," whom God particularly loved and wished to save. Yet all of us today are similarly narrow in one sense, and we have to be. We cannot free ourselves, you and I and others like us, from the conviction that we, as men and women, by virtue of the very life that is in us, are the centre and meaning of this entire universe. Believe this in some degree we must. Doubt it, and the very heavens are bleak and bare. Every system in philosophy, every article of religious faith, every discovery in science, is based, more or less directly, upon the supposition of this distinct relationship between the outer universe and the life of man. Let us use, for convenience' sake, the analogy of the prophet. We will suppose that we are placed here as the crude ore is thrown into the furnace, in order to be refined. Along what lines should the process of refinement work? Nothing is more familiar than the claim that sorrow chastens us, and hardships strengthen, and trials test. As Goethe said, "Talent is perfected in retirement, but character only in the stream of life." They tell this concerning Wendell Phillips. Whenever the great orator tended to become a little prosy in his speeches, and to lose some of his customary fire, certain young Abolitionists used to get together near the door and start a hiss. The note of disapproval never failed to arouse the lion in the speaker, and he was electrified at once into matchless eloquence. The world's agencies of trial and toil and difficulty are indeed in vain, the bellows of life are consumed most uselessly, if you and I are not made more courageous and calm and self-reliant by the process. And yet the hard things of this world ought not to be the only ones to have this refining influence. We are weak and ungrateful, and made of anything but precious metal, if we are not purified by the privileges of life, hallowed by its happiness, humbled by success. In everyday life most of us are not deficient in gratitude. We appreciate the kindness and generosity of our friends. But how few of us in comparison fall to our knees in an hour of newborn joy, or reverently think of life's higher meaning, and resolve on a rigider performance of our duties, when success has bathed us in its golden sunshine! There is no much surer test of character than this: What effect has good fortune had? If the person is innately weak to whom some power or privilege has come, he answers it by pride and selfishness and vain indulgence. He feels himself exalted; and, instead of looking up in reverence and humility to his God, he looks down with coldness on his fellow men. Shall I tell you what is to me one of the most inspiring, beautiful sights in all the wide range of human activity and character? It is to see and know of anyone truly great who has been humbled by success, and touched into infinite modesty by the consciousness of superlative ability. It is to find people refined into simplicity and gentle devoutness by the world's blandishments and distinctions and honours. And this has been the refining influence to which the noblest and the truest ones have answered. You all know, too, the saying of the distinguished, world-honoured discoverer, Sir Isaac Newton, — that he was nothing but a helpless child gathering pebbles on a boundless shore, with the great ocean of undiscovered truth stretching away beyond him. I have spoken of sorrow and of joy — the two extremes of existence — as having properly this purifying influence on life. Let, me now speak broadly of certain phases of refinement which ought to appear as the result of the world's great processes.
1. First, there is the refining fire of glory, which is so abundant in the outward world. It is for us to answer it by what is known as reverence. We have not the pure metal which is sought, if we are not so refined by the wonders of the world as to kneel in worship, and uplift our souls in awe. "This world is not for him who does not worship," said an ancient Persian sage; and our kindred souls give back the truth across the centuries, "This world is not for him who does not worship."
2. Again, there is the burning fact of law. All things around us are done with persistency. Everything is regular. The smallest function is precise. Surely the knowledge of such constancy should have its influence on us. It should take what is pure within us. It should appeal to the clear metal of our better selves, and make us trust.
3. Finally, the fire of utter impartiality surrounds us. The world is laid at each one's feet. The Divine bounty is not given to this person, and denied to that one; but all of us receive. And the answering refinement which should come from receptive human beings, who may doubt its nature or its need? A suggestive legend comes to us from Mohammedan writings. Abraham, it is said, once received an old man in his tent, who, in sitting down to eat, neglected to repeat a "grace." "My custom," he said, in explanation, "is that of the fire worshipper." — Whereupon the Jewish patriarch in wrath undertook to drive him from his door. But suddenly God appeared to him, and, restraining the churlish impulse, cried: "Abraham, for one hundred years the Divine bounty has flowed out to you in sunshine and in rain; and is it for you to deny shelter to this man because his worship is not thine?" Even thus does nature speak a silent yet severe rebuke to our narrowness, our lack of sympathy, our petty distinctions and rivalries in social life. "Be broad," she cries. "Let love control your acts; to those who need, extend a helping hand."
PlacesBeth-haccherem, Jerusalem, Sheba, Tekoa, Zion
TopicsKicked, Named, Refuse, Rejected, Reprobate, Silver, Waste
Outline1. The enemies sent against Judah,
4. encourage themselves.
6. God sets them on work because of their sins.
9. The prophet laments the judgments of God because of their sins.
18. He proclaims God's wrath.
26. He calls the people to mourn for the judgment on their sins.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJeremiah 6:30
6232 rejection of God, results
LibraryStedfastness in the Old Paths.
"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."--Jer. vi. 16. Reverence for the old paths is a chief Christian duty. We look to the future indeed with hope; yet this need not stand in the way of our dwelling on the past days of the Church with affection and deference. This is the feeling of our own Church, as continually expressed in the Prayer Book;--not to slight what has gone before, …
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII
A Blast of the Trumpet against False Peace
The motive with these false prophets is an abominable one. Jeremiah tells us it was an evil covetousness. They preached smooth things because the people would have it so, because they thus brought grist to their own mill, and glory to their own names. Their design was abominable, and without doubt, their end shall be desperate--cast away with the refuse of mankind. These who professed to be the precious sons of God, comparable to fine gold, shall be esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860
Whitefield -- the Method of Grace
George Whitefield, evangelist and leader of Calvinistic Methodists, who has been called the Demosthenes of the pulpit, was born at Gloucester, England, in 1714. He was an impassioned pulpit orator of the popular type, and his power over immense congregations was largely due to his histrionic talent and his exquisitely modulated voice, which has been described as "an organ, a flute, a harp, all in one," and which at times became stentorian. He had a most expressive face, and altho he squinted, in …
Grenville Kleiser—The world's great sermons, Volume 3
In discussing this subject I shall endeavor to show, I. What the true doctrine of reprobation is not. 1. It is not that the ultimate end of God in the creation of any was their damnation. Neither reason nor revelation confirms, but both contradict the assumption, that God has created or can create any being for the purpose of rendering him miserable as an ultimate end. God is love, or he is benevolent, and cannot therefore will the misery of any being as an ultimate end, or for its own sake. It is …
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology
Prefatory Scripture Passages.
To the Law and to the Testimony; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.-- Isa. viii. 20. Thus saith the Lord; Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.--Jer. vi. 16. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But …
G. H. Gerberding—The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church
Jesus Raises the Widow's Son.
(at Nain in Galilee.) ^C Luke VII. 11-17. ^c 11 And it came to pass soon afterwards [many ancient authorities read on the next day], that he went into a city called Nain; and his disciples went with him, and a great multitude. [We find that Jesus had been thronged with multitudes pretty continuously since the choosing of his twelve apostles. Nain lies on the northern slope of the mountain, which the Crusaders called Little Hermon, between twenty and twenty-five miles south of Capernaum, and about …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
"I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely: for Mine anger is turned away."--Hosea xiv. 4. There are two kinds of backsliders. Some have never been converted: they have gone through the form of joining a Christian community and claim to be backsliders; but they never have, if I may use the expression, "slid forward." They may talk of backsliding; but they have never really been born again. They need to be treated differently from real back-sliders--those who have been born of the incorruptible …
Dwight L. Moody—The Way to God and How to Find It
An Obscured vision
(Preached at the opening of the Winona Lake Bible Conference.) TEXT: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."--Proverbs 29:18. It is not altogether an easy matter to secure a text for such an occasion as this; not because the texts are so few in number but rather because they are so many, for one has only to turn over the pages of the Bible in the most casual way to find them facing him at every reading. Feeling the need of advice for such a time as this, I asked a number of my friends who …
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot
Sin Charged Upon the Surety
All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one to his own way, and the LORD hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. C omparisons, in the Scripture, are frequently to be understood with great limitation: perhaps, out of many circumstances, only one is justly applicable to the case. Thus, when our Lord says, Behold, I come as a thief (Revelation 16:15) , --common sense will fix the resemblance to a single point, that He will come suddenly, and unexpectedly. So when wandering sinners …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1
An Address to the Regenerate, Founded on the Preceding Discourses.
James I. 18. James I. 18. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. I INTEND the words which I have now been reading, only as an introduction to that address to the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty, with which I am now to conclude these lectures; and therefore shall not enter into any critical discussion, either of them, or of the context. I hope God has made the series of these discourses, in some measure, useful to those …
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration
Scriptures Showing the Sin and Danger of Joining with Wicked and Ungodly Men.
Scriptures Showing The Sin And Danger Of Joining With Wicked And Ungodly Men. When the Lord is punishing such a people against whom he hath a controversy, and a notable controversy, every one that is found shall be thrust through: and every one joined with them shall fall, Isa. xiii. 15. They partake in their judgment, not only because in a common calamity all shares, (as in Ezek. xxi. 3.) but chiefly because joined with and partakers with these whom God is pursuing; even as the strangers that join …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
How those who Fear Scourges and those who Contemn them are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 14.) Differently to be admonished are those who fear scourges, and on that account live innocently, and those who have grown so hard in wickedness as not to be corrected even by scourges. For those who fear scourges are to be told by no means to desire temporal goods as being of great account, seeing that bad men also have them, and by no means to shun present evils as intolerable, seeing they are not ignorant how for the most part good men also are touched by them. They are to be admonished …
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth Matthew 5:5 We are now got to the third step leading in the way to blessedness, Christian meekness. Blessed are the meek'. See how the Spirit of God adorns the hidden man of the heart, with multiplicity of graces! The workmanship of the Holy Ghost is not only curious, but various. It makes the heart meek, pure, peaceable etc. The graces therefore are compared to needlework, which is different and various in its flowers and colours (Psalm 45:14). …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
The interest of the book of Jeremiah is unique. On the one hand, it is our most reliable and elaborate source for the long period of history which it covers; on the other, it presents us with prophecy in its most intensely human phase, manifesting itself through a strangely attractive personality that was subject to like doubts and passions with ourselves. At his call, in 626 B.C., he was young and inexperienced, i. 6, so that he cannot have been born earlier than 650. The political and religious …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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