Can you imagine the abuse Jeremiah would have taken for being the messenger of this recitation from God. This is not a popular message. Nobody likes to be spoken about in a negative light. Certainly, what Jeremiah said about God’s people was true. Sometimes the truth can be brutal.
What emotions stirred for you when you read this passage? Right off the bat, I felt a bit defensive for God. The persons he described had abandoned him and hurt him deeply. The words may be harsh, but we can’t say they aren’t true.
The Lord’s rage continues as Jeremiah tells us what will happen because of the sinfulness. It’s not a pretty picture. Did the people not think about the consequences to their actions? It’s hard to know what motivated the people to choose idols, mere images of foreign gods, over the one true God. We can look at people making similar choices today and wonder why, for instance, they chose to sleep in versus getting up for church.
That’s a simplistic example. I used to feel extremely guilty when I found myself too busy to spend quality time with God. I’m not sure I thought about what the consequences might be. Would God stop loving me? Would he let bad things happen to me? Would he stop fighting my battles?
I hear such desperation in God’s tone, lamenting over how his children have abandoned him. Jeremiah is going to teach us how intimately God knows us and cares for us. We started this trek down memory lane in our last reading, and now God remembers how his people have responded to him. We’ve got the Bible history to see for ourselves how these people drifted away.
But it isn’t just “those people,” God’s chosen ones. When we look around our own communities, we see similar apathy toward God. There are those who deny God’s existence and there are those who acknowledge there’s a higher power but don’t have any interest in having a relationship with an invisible deity. What about you? Where is God for you?
Taking a stroll down memory lane can be refreshing. Especially when we tap into our family of faith memories. Scripture passages abound where you’ll find characters quoting another Scripture verse. Jesus was particularly good at that and would often update or fulfill that very Scripture.
Jeremiah shows us how God used that very recollection of happier times to remind people of his great achievement and provision for their loved ones. That’s a great strategy for us today, especially if we’re about to deliver some unwanted or unexpected news.
This appears to be Jeremiah’s first message from God, and what a doozy it is! For me, it’s one of those “double-take” moments. Did I really read what I thought I read? God just told Jeremiah that he (God) is going to raise up foreign powers to crush his beloved Israelites for their disobedience. What do you suppose Jeremiah did when he first heard that? The key take away is that God is in control and will orchestrate this destruction.
Just the mere experience of hearing God’s voice would be enough to bless my whole existence! Jeremiah received so much more! Today, we don’t hear many people talking about “conversations” they’ve had with God. I’m quite sure they are happening, however. I’ve always hoped to have the honor and privilege of being chosen in that way. And then it happened!