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.
I resonated with this question God posed. “When will you stop running?” It’s a fair question. It might be a question we should ask ourselves. If we’re not running toward God, shouldn’t we stop running, too? What things do you avoid and run from? Is God one of them?
Reading these passages also brings up a lot of compassionate feelings for those who are still lost. There are so many people that have simply lost their way in this world and don’t see God as the answer. Yet. I keep praying the Spirit will convict them.
I especially liked the word picture used to describe Israel. Like a “thief who feels shame only when he gets caught.” Have you ever broken the law, like exceeded the speed limit with a heavy foot like me? Do you ever feel guilty–or does it take getting pulled over to feel that way? Israel had been found guilty. There would be consequences.
Assyria had failed them as an ally before; now Egypt will likewise fail to deliver them. It’s not about international relationship. The abuse was all orchestrated by God, and he wanted the final rejection of his people to be clear to them. Judah had forgotten God, not the other way around.
It’s never fun to watch someone else be punished. According to what Jeremiah describes, we can see how God responds to faithless people. Even though he sent Jesus, faith is still critical for salvation. We all sin. We all fall short. We all need faith in Jesus.
Let’s pray … Forgive me when I start comparing myself to others and sometimes feel superior because of the close relationship I have with you. Empower me to be kind to those who do not know you and welcome them with the life-giving message of salvation by grace and faith in Jesus. Help me to be more like Jesus every day so that others will see you and love you, too. In Jesus’ name. Amen.