Give me a soft heart which hears You and responds to Your truth.
Read Jeremiah 6:1-15
 “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin! Flee from Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem! For disaster looms out of the north, even terrible destruction.  I will destroy Daughter Zion, so beautiful and delicate.  Shepherds with their flocks will come against her; they will pitch their tents around her, each tending his own portion.”  “Prepare for battle against her! Arise, let us attack at noon! But, alas, the daylight is fading, and the shadows of evening grow long.  So arise, let us attack at night and destroy her fortresses!”  This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Cut down the trees and build siege ramps against Jerusalem. This city must be punished; it is filled with oppression.  As a well pours out its water, so she pours out her wickedness. Violence and destruction resound in her; her sickness and wounds are ever before me.  Take warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you and make your land desolate so no one can live in it.”  This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Let them glean the remnant of Israel as thoroughly as a vine; pass your hand over the branches again, like one gathering grapes.”  To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.  But I am full of the wrath of the LORD, and I cannot hold it in. “Pour it out on the children in the street and on the young men gathered together; both husband and wife will be caught in it, and the old, those weighed down with years.  Their houses will be turned over to others, together with their fields and their wives, when I stretch out my hand against those who live in the land,” declares the LORD.  “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.  They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.  Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,” says the LORD. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is the most serious problem among the Israelites here?
For centuries the “Lord of armies” had defended the city of Jerusalem. But now Israel’s God himself has determined to destroy Zion through invaders from “the north” (1), and a vivid poem (1-8) describes their coming. Feel the pathos in the phrase “so beautiful and delicate” (2). It is as if a rare, indeed priceless, vase is to be smashed to pieces! What on earth would make the Lord do such a thing? Apart from a reference to “oppression” in verse 6, the main charge against God’s people comes in verses 13 to 15. See how many different sins you can find mentioned in these verses. Now think of your own church, community or nation. Is there evidence of some of these sins there? God’s message to Moses explaining what he was like said he was “compassionate and gracious … slow to anger” (Exod. 34:6). The Lord never loses his temper as we sometimes do! But when sins pile up and leaders even deny there is a problem (14), the time comes when God says, “Enough!” and judges severely.
Ask God for wisdom in how to confront the evils of greed, deceit and oppression. Speak honestly where they exist.
Father, help me to seek true and lasting peace and to be willing to honestly stand for it even when opposed.
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