(NOT-SO) HOLY CITY RUINED
Lord, Your Word is not a reproach to me but a delight.
Read JEREMIAH 6:1–15
Jerusalem Under Siege
6 “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.
2 I will destroy Daughter Zion,
so beautiful and delicate.
3 Shepherds with their flocks will come against her;
they will pitch their tents around her,
each tending his own portion.”
4 “Prepare for battle against her!
Arise, let us attack at noon!
But, alas, the daylight is fading,
and the shadows of evening grow long.
5 So arise, let us attack at night
and destroy her fortresses!”
6 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.
7 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.
8 Take warning, Jerusalem,
or I will turn away from you
and make your land desolate
so no one can live in it.”
9 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.”
10 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.
11 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.
12 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.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say,
when there is no peace.
15 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.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Many false prophets have cried peace in the name of the Lord when the Lord had no intention of granting it. We will have it only when the Prince of Peace returns.
One of Jeremiah’s main tasks is to convince the people of Judah and Jerusalem that their view of reality is actually quite wrong. They think that because Jerusalem is the place God has chosen for the Temple to be built, it is sacrosanct and will never be destroyed, whatever they do. They are dreadfully wrong! Ezekiel 10, written from exile in Babylon, makes the same point by describing the “glory of the Lord” leaving the temple. They think that because they have known God’s blessing in the past they are guaranteed his blessing in the future. They are wrong! They think that because they have heard God speaking in the past, they no longer need to listen (10). They are wrong! They feel that the good life and lots of money is the only thing that really matters (13). They are wrong! They think that it no longer matters what they say or do because they are guaranteed “peace” (14). They are wrong!
There is a lot of hope found later in Jeremiah, but the extent and range of these judgment passages show just how seriously Jeremiah’s message has to be taken. It is only when Judah has a right view of reality, a right view of her own corruption, and a right view of the need for repentance could she rely on the message of hope. It would be proclaiming “peace, peace… when there is no peace” (14). It is tempting to assume that we, or our churches, or our denominations or traditions, must be right for reasons very similar to those of the Judeans excusing their “detestable conduct” (15). This passage warns us to make sure that our view of ourselves and the world around us matches up to God’s view.
How frustrated are you when you observe all the abominations committed around you in utter defiance of God’s Word? See verses 10,11.
Lord, we all make mistakes, but thank You that the moment we acknowledge those mistakes and seek to get back on track You are there with mercy, forgiveness and encouragement.
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