The Spirit in setting forth the divine will and its fulfillment aspects has to look to the end user and his time and place. Consequently in whichever way He makes a case for fellowship with man must do so against the backdrop of heaven. For this reason during the creation of lights in the firmament of the heaven they were to be for signs apart from dividing the day from the night (Ge.1:14). It was intended for man and not for God whose Power and Wisdom are such the day makes no difference from the night. He is omnipresent so that space and time also do not count.
In order to make clear about relative positions of man and God we shall consider the verses from the Psalm 139.” If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me./ Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee (Ps.139:11-12)”.
While the shepherd king David as a boy tended the flock of his father, would have lived days and nights in the open and wondered about the majesty and glory of light. As the Father of lights it cannot be lost on any even where night has overtaken the day. Wonder is what Power and Wisdom elicit from man. It is not in the phenomenon itself but silent declaration of nature that impacts man. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork (Ps.19:1)”. Man as the end user has God for frame of reverence. Thus with all creatures big or small.
When Isaiah points to his two sons he is in fact drawing attention to God as the Giver. He also adds special emphasis while he declares,”Behold I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion(Is.8:18). Feeling of wonder in the heart of young David is not what the prophet here means by wonders. They are set down as signs for the nation which is specific as if they were to be taken for an example. For this reason God is not referred according to normal usage but as ‘Lord of hosts which dwelleth in mount Zion.’ Isaiah’s reference to his children is for Israel with God enthroned on mount Zion (than in heaven. Remember the quote, ‘Heaven is my throne and the earth my footstool?’). Their names accordingly convey more about events which were to overtake the nation than in themselves. They were lent to God rather and they are in service of God. It is thus when God the Son came to the earth his sign was in the name Immanuel (Is.7:14). God the Son with a mandate (John 3:16) and not as God. Son of man he chose to call himself, emphasis being on his humanity. His sign and wonders (He knew no sin, did no sin) were to draw attention to God who sent him. He did miracles similarly for bringing glory to God in heaven. So he would accredit ‘the finger of God’ for what miraculous cure he effected on the demon-possessed and the sick. Signs and wonders are in short God’s will served by human agency for specific occasions.
Coming back to text on hand when God commands Jeremiah ‘Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.(v.2) we shall see two characteristics associated with signs and wonders coming into play here. He was a sign as Prophet Ezekiel was and in the service of God. second characteristic was for others as a testimony :“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. / Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it./ Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel(Ez.4:1-3).”
In a similar vein God commanded Hosea thus,”…And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord./ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son./ And the Lord said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel(Hosea.1:2-4)”. Are we to judge Hosea for marrying a whore?
God’s purpose of man as a sign is to fulfill the divine Will and as such an exception to the standard conduct as expected of a man of honor. Israel’s sin was of such magnitude that Hosea, his chosen vessel was meant to be a sign and wonder. Similarly Prophet Jeremiah on account of desolations about to engulf the nation should not marry or have sons and daughters in this place. Signs and wonders are to draw man to God and not to himself. When Jesus sent his other 70 disciples two by two he told them’ and salute no man by the way (Lk.10:4).’ They were on the road in God’s service and not in their individual capacity. It sets a special frame of reference for signs and wonders and whatever they do and speak are apart from norms and ways of the rest of the world. Thus Jeremiah would have no freedom of choice ‘in this place.’ His heritage was from God so his conduct was to be in consonance with the will of God. Tradition would have Jeremiah meeting his death while in Egypt. Whether he married and had sons and daughters are not what concerns for our instruction in righteousness. Where the Spirit had drawn a veil of silence we shall respect it as inheritors in the spirit. We are also signs and wonders as distinct from inheritors in the flesh.
We are also in Christ signs and wonders which has a frame of reference in eternity to the holy city of God. Who are the end user but the new earth. Whosoever considers his heritage is from God must live accordingly ‘in this place.’
The word of the Lord came also unto me, saying,
2 Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.
For thus saith the Lord concerning the sons and concerning the daughters that are born in this place, and concerning their mothers that bare them, and concerning their fathers that begat them in this land;
4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcases shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
5 For thus saith the Lord, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the Lord, even lovingkindness and mercies.
6 Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:
7 Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning, to comfort them for the dead; neither shall men give them the cup of consolation to drink for their father or for their mother.
8 Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink.
9 For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.
10 And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt shew this people all these words, and they shall say unto thee, Wherefore hath the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? or what is our iniquity? or what is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?
11 Then shalt thou say unto them, Because your fathers have forsaken me, saith the Lord, and have walked after other gods, and have served them, and have worshipped them, and have forsaken me, and have not kept my law;
12 And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the imagination of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:
13 Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour.
14 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
15 But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.
17 For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes.
18 And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.
19 O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.
20 Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?
21 Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The Lord.