Jeremiah 8:4-17 – From the Least to the Greatest

Read Jeremiah 8:4-17

less is more written on a card on a table

While we know this text is speaking of the failures of Judah, I can’t help but see so many parallels to what is happening today. Many people are on a self-destructive path heading for who knows where. I’ve seen preachers twist the words of Scripture to make it say something it doesn’t just to appease the crowd.

Humanity seems to be in a continuous spiral away from God. Why is that? Do you see it, too? Many are caught in the “trap of their own foolishness,” and “from the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed.” Good news–there are also seasons of revival!

Whether we can see ourselves or our loved ones similarly displaying the wrongs revealed in our reading doesn’t matter. We have the tendency for such folly, and it is good for us to remember how God responded to this behavior in the past. That doesn’t mean he’ll do the same thing again to us or to those we know and love, but it does speak to how God feels about such behavior. I don’t think God is getting more lenient as time goes on, do you?

Reading through the prophetic books, such as Jeremiah, can be a challenge. We see so much doom and gloom for a people who look very much like we do. Are we convicted to make some changes in our lives, or are we unashamed of our disgusting behaviors?

The words that jumped off the page for me today actually catapult me into the New Testament. In verse 10, we see “from the least to the greatest.” In our context, it means that nobody is exempt, all are sinning. While that’s true, I’m thinking of Jesus’ example to his disciples who had been arguing about the measure of greatness.

Remember what Jesus said to them? Luke 9:47-48 reads: “But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he brought a little child to his side. Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” The innocence of a child, thought to be the ‘least,’ is actually the “greatest.” Oh to have faith as a child!

It was the picture this exchange between Jesus and his disciples has spoken to me most of my adult life. I have been drawn to teaching children about Jesus. Children. The greatest of these, according to Jesus. So many times, I am the one who learned from those precious babes.

We are all going to sin, whether we are great or small. However, we can make a choice to listen for God’s call and follow him and not the world. That’s what he’s always wanted from us, going all the way back to Judah and beyond. Think of it. God wants community with us — all of us!

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray … Lord, thank you for wanting a relationship with me. I desire to know you more. Thank you, too, for the timely reminder of the importance of innocent faith, immune to the lies of the world. Forgive me when I fall into bad habits and get distracted from you. You are my rock and my salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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