Jeremiah 5:1-19 – We Can Do Better

Read Jeremiah 5:1-19

man and woman on their knees, with folded hands, before a cross with sunset in the background

There is a lot of treachery described in this reading. The message from God that Jeremiah is speaking is not pleasant. There are so many nuggets of wisdom dropped, there is no reason why those people were clueless. We can certainly do better!

What is the Lord looking for? There were at least four clues I found in today’s reading. Maybe you’ll see some more.

Honesty. God wanted Jeremiah to find just one honest person. If that had been possible, God would not have destroyed the city. We know we can’t hide from God, so we can be totally open with God. He knows us, flaws and all, and loves us anyway. Confession is a wonderful tool to help cleanse us. We should also strive to have honest and true relationships with other people around us.

Repentance. God wasn’t asking that much, was he, to want his children’s attention? We need to be careful not to point fingers at them and their idol statues. We have plenty of our own distractions that demand our focus. Idols, at least, weren’t that demanding. The key is to turn to God, not our idols. Repentance is NOT asking the Lord for forgiveness with the intent to sin again.

Remember what Jesus said in Luke 5:31-32: “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

Understanding of God’s laws. Jeremiah writes this near the time when the law had just been found. We might wonder what happens to people that don’t know about God. Truth is, there are plenty of people who have heard about God, maybe even attend church, yet they don’t know God. When we have a relationship with God, we recognize the importance of the law: to show us our sin and point us to our Savior. God prefers our hearts, our allegiance. He knows that when we are right with God, we’ll naturally want to be in alignment with his laws. God’s laws are for our own good, not to gain us any brownie points or a place in heaven.

Allegiance to God alone. This is probably the key observation. A beautiful bond exists between all these nuggets of wisdom we can glean from Jeremiah’s preaching. We can do better if we choose to listen and obey.

I think of faithful Jeremiah having to address the people and point out their flaws. Of course, he did so on behalf of the LORD. Jeremiah was so bold; you can see how the LORD is with him. The answer the people needed was burning in Jeremiah’s grasp. If only the people would listen!

It can be heavy for us reading about the doom that was about to befall Jerusalem, even while Jeremiah was still alive. Ask God to show you how you can use Jeremiah’s message in your own life. Take some time today to let God’s promises wash over you. Imagine Jesus smiling back at you with love in his eyes.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray … Lord, thank you that I can come to you in prayer and leave my worries at your feet. Help me to do better than those in our story who angered you so. Forgive me for times when I’ve had my doubts and questioned you. I am beyond grateful for all that you have done for me. Cleanse me from all stress and worry and renew my heart today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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