Jeremiah’s message from God in this reading continues to give clues for what is about to happen. It seems there are several dialogues going on. Likewise, there are multiple messages, one of which might be exactly what you need to hear today.
Let’s start with God’s command in verse 16, “Stop right where you are!” If this was God speaking to you, what would he see in your behavior? Are you walking in God’s ways or cutting your own road into new territory? Why do we always try to “recreate the wheel?” Why don’t we trust God more?
The Israelites were living a life in denial. It sounds like they were relying on their ritual sacrifice to God to appease him and be forgiven. At the same time, they had no interest and were “snubbing their noses” at God. They wanted to choose their own path instead.
In the New Testament, Jesus talks about the narrow gate, and lately I’ve heard people talking about the narrow road. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus says, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” I want to find the narrow way, don’t you?
As followers of Jesus, that narrow road is our destiny. As for Jeremiah’s audience, they were on the broad way leading to destruction. Those who haven’t put their trust in Jesus are looking at that same path. What will their final destination be? It’s up to God to decide that. I’d rather be heading in a direction I can trust rather than take a chance that I would find a better way. My convicted heart tells me Jesus is the only way! In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
Our text tells us again the attack would come from the north, and we’re given some more detail about this great army. Jeremiah even adds his own commentary to this vision from God. They are already seeing the signs of this coming to pass. “We are terrorized at every turn.” The timing of this section seems a little premature, but Jeremiah is clearly seeing and experiencing exactly what he’s been predicting.
This section of text climaxes with sharing God’s private message to Jeremiah. What does it mean to be a “tester of metals”? How is Jeremiah going to use this discernment he’s been given?
It seems God is using the analogy that the people are the metal. We should know that metal is purified by fire. During the heating process all the impurities are burned away leaving only pure and precious metal behind. How tragic that God is saying there is “no purity to refine” in his people!
Will Jeremiah help God find people who still have some purity, some hope for a future? What will come of them? God’s intention to reject and discard is pretty clear. Many will end up on the road to destruction. What are you doing to prepare for the road to salvation?
Let’s pray … Lord, purify my heart and cleanse me from the ugliness of my sin. Thank you for sending Jesus to show us the way to you, Father. Help me to learn from the mistakes of those who angered you so deeply. I want to follow you. Help me to always put you first in my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.