Those who enter into solemn covenant with God must expect on their part to fulfill the conditions,
else He cannot on His part fulfill the promise.
If we do not by obedience meet our end of the contract,
we will by disobedience bring ourselves under its curses,
and it is just with God to inflict heavy penalty.
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem;
3 And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant,
4 Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:
5 That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD.
6 Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them.
7 For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice.
8 Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.
9 And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.
11 ¶ Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them.
12 Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble.
13 For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal.
14 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest.
16 The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken.
17 For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal.
18 ¶ And the LORD hath given me knowledge of it, and I know it: then thou shewedst me their doings.
19 But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered.
20 But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.
21 Therefore thus saith the LORD of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not by our hand:
22 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:
23 And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.
Jeremiah 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Jeremiah 11:1-20 – The Penalty of a Broken Covenant
This and the following two chapters belong to the earlier ministry of Jeremiah, when he still dwelt in his native home of Anathoth. The prophet refers to the covenant which had been lately renewed by Josiah, II Kings 22 and II Kings 23, and quotes largely from the book of Deuteronomy, which had been recently read in the hearing of the people. To that covenant the prophet reverently gives his endorsement, Jeremiah 11:5. His amen reminds us of Him who is God’s Amen, and in whom all the promises of God are ratified forever, II Corinthians 1:20. Shall we not learn, like our Lord in Matthew 11:26, to look into the Father’s face and say, “Even so” (Luke 10:21)? We must do so, that one day we may join with the redeemed in crying, “Amen; Alleluia” (Revelation 19:4).
The repeated relapses of Israel into idolatry were in part due to the licentious rites associated with such worship. The people were seduced from their allegiance to Jehovah by the fascination of passion; and herein we are reminded of the many times that we have been beguiled into sinful thoughts and imaginings, in spite of God’s earnest solicitations and protestation, “rising early and protesting” (Jeremiah 11:7). As long as the soul is wedded to its evil ways, it is impervious to the entrance of God’s light and love. “There is a sin unto death”, says the Apostle (1 John 5:16), “I do not say that he shall pray for it”, a saying which is closely akin to the solemn prohibition of Jeremiah 11:14, “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them.” —Through the Bible Day by Day
Jeremiah 11:5—Then answered I, and said, So be it, O LORD
When God recapitulated his promises in the heart of Jeremiah, even though they involved a curse on those who neutralized his words, there arose from it a deep response. He answered and said, So be it, O LORD. What a remarkable example for us all! By life and lip, by deed and word, when we can understand and when we cannot, when the words are illuminated with blue and gold, when they are as black as the old black-lettered missals, always and everywhere, let us answer, and say, So be it, O LORD. We are irresistibly reminded of our Lord’s words, after He had been contemplating the doom of the cities that refused Him, and the mysterious refusal which the wise and prudent accorded to his message. He said solemnly and emphatically, “Even so, Father” (Luke 10:21).
It is an awful thing to read this context, and to remark the sentence to which Jeremiah said So be it. “Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant.” Is it lawful, think you, to infer that the saints will one day acquiesce in God’s verdict on the disobedient and ungodly! It may be that we shall be so fully convinced of the mercy of God, which sought the salvation of the lost, and shall see so clearly all the many efforts He made for their arrest, that we shall solemnly and sadly answer and say, So be it, O LORD, to their doom.
But if these words should be read by one who is resisting and disbelieving the love of God that would fain lead him into the land that floweth with milk and honey, let him beware lest his sinful refusal to be saved, his strife against the mercy of God, will one day be so patent that his dearest friend will answer and say, So be it, O LORD. —Our Daily Homily