Day 27: Jeremiah 16:10-21
And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, “Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?” then you shall say to them: It is because your ancestors have forsaken me, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law; and because you have behaved worse than your ancestors, for here you are, every one of you, following your stubborn evil will, refusing to listen to me. Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.
Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt,” but “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their ancestors.
I am now sending for many fishermen, says the Lord, and they shall catch them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks. For my eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from my presence, nor is their iniquity concealed from my sight. And I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.
O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble,
to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say:
Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.
Can mortals make for themselves gods? Such are no gods!
“Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the Lord.”
Jeremiah 16:10-21 (NRSV)
On the surface, the Book of Jeremiah portrays an Old Testament prophet speaking judgment over a nation who turned away from God. A deeper reading leads us to a God seeking restoration and renewed covenant with His people. A God who, once again, longs to dwell among them (7:7) and once again is rejected and replaced with “other gods” (16:10).
At times it is hard to get past the judgment throughout the Book of Jeremiah and see what I believe to be a heartbroken God pleading with a people rejecting Him. A jealous God who longs for us, yet will not settle for us to be less than who He created us to be. My heart also hurts for the people about to be sent into exile who appear to have no idea the pain they are causing within their Creator. Where is the God of grace and forgiveness that I hear about so often? Do I focus so much on the God of grace that I miss the pain and suffering I cause my Creator as He pleads to come and dwell with me? Am I settling for less, while God longs for more?
Over 2600 years ago Jerusalem fell and a “stiff-necked people”(7:26) were led into exile because they would not turn from their wicked ways and acknowledge the one true God. During this season of Lent, we should set aside time to listen for the God of judgment, opening our hearts to Him, and repenting of what He shares with us, knowing the God of grace wants to dwell with us.