Holy Lord, may Your Word and Your Spirit empower me to live life each day in Your might and victory.
Read JEREMIAH 14:1-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“In some sense, as dark to the intellect as it is unendurable to the feelings, we can be banished from the presence of him who is present everywhere” (C.S. Lewis).
There are images here of battle and exile, but the dominant image of droughts (the word is plural) brackets the chapter (1-6,22). No rain, no water, no grass, no pasture. Picture the parched land, the desperate people, the confused animals. Remember that Israel stands on the end of a vast desert. The drought is a judgment. Idols cannot bring rain. The Lord is the “hope of Israel” (8)—but it is the Lord who is doing all this (22)!
Three themes intertwine through this chapter like strands of a rope. Theme one is confession—we have sinned, our backsliding is great: Lord, forgive our backsliding. Theme two is judgment. In ch. 13 Judah’s sin has been refusal to listen. Now the Lord’s judgment is his refusal to listen (11). People will listen to something, though. If they will not listen to the truth, they will hear falsehoods, delusions and lies: May the Lord help me to speak the truth in a world which is full of lies. Theme three is protest. Lord, do something! Stay, stranger! Wake up, soldier! You, Lord, are in our midst, aren’t you? (But is he? See 8:19.)
Jeremiah weeps and begs God to remember, not to break his covenant (21). What the Lord remembers, though, is the people’s wickedness (10)! Their wound is grievous, incurable. For the moment the chapter ends with a deafening silence. Not till some time later does God promise not to remember their sins any more (31:34). Judah has turned its back to God (2:27) and he has turned his back to them (18:17). The way back will be long and hard. The stakes could hardly be higher: eternal life or everlasting loss.
Presumption and despair are two forms of hopelessness. If you feel either or both emotions today, steady your heart to focus on Jesus, the “hope of every contrite heart” (Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153).
Here I am, Lord, of little power and sometimes despairing. Infuse me with Your love and fullness. Keep my heart focused on You. I praise Your name.
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