Why Does Jeremiah’s Message Sound So Contemporary?

Who will find me a wayfarer’s shelter in the desert, for me to quit my people, and leave them far behind? For all of them are adulterers, a conspiracy of traitors. They bend their tongues like a bow; not truth but falsehood holds sway in the land; yes, they go from crime to crime, but me they do not know, Yahweh declares.

Let each be on his guard against his friend; do not trust a brother, for every brother aims but to supplant, and every friend is a peddler of slander. Each one cheats his friend, never telling the truth; they have trained their tongues to lie and devote all their energies to doing wrong. You live in a world of bad faith! Out of bad faith, they refuse to know me, Yahweh declares.

And, so, Yahweh Sabaoth declares, now I shall purge them and test them, no other way to treat the daughter of my people! Their tongue is a deadly arrow, their words are in bad faith; with his mouth each wishes his neighbour peace, while in his heart plotting a trap for him. Shall I fail to punish them for this, Yahweh demands, or on such a nation fail to exact vengeance? I raise the wail and lament for the mountains, the dirge for the desert pastures, for they have been burnt: no one passes there, the sound of flocks is heard no more. Birds of the sky and animals, all have fled, all are gone. I shall make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a lair for jackals, and the towns of Judah an uninhabited wasteland.

Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom has Yahweh’s mouth spoken to explain it? Why is the country annihilated, burnt like the desert where no one passes? Yahweh says, ‘This is because they have forsaken my Law which I gave them and have not listened to my voice or followed it, but have followed their own stubborn hearts, have followed the Baals as their ancestors taught them.’ So Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, ‘Now I shall give this people wormwood to eat and poisoned water to drink. I shall scatter them among nations unknown to their ancestors or to them; and I shall pursue them with the sword until I have annihilated them.‘ (Jer. 9:1-15)

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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