Worse than I Expected
Thank You for being my Father. I simply need Your provision and Your presence. I wait before You.
Read Jeremiah 5:1-13
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.
“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deut. 32:4). Such a God is worthy of our devotion and praise.
God had been willing to spare Sodom if there were “ten righteous persons” (Gen. 18:32). Now the challenge to the people is to find just “one person,” then “I will forgive” (1; the imperatives are plural). The NIV’s “honestly” highlights one aspect of the more general “justly” (NRSV), while “truth” includes the idea of faithfulness, integrity, trustworthiness. Both terms describe God’s character in Deuteronomy 32:4 (“just,” “faithful”). They are contrasted with a casual approach to using God’s name in swearing oaths or making promises (2,7) and false affirmations of what God will not do (12). Both kinds of lies continue to bring chaos to any society.
Jeremiah agonizes over the people’s failure to learn from previous situations, but they have an excuse (3,4). Any hope of change, however, is dashed as he turns to “the leaders” (5). They should know, because of their position, education and expertise, but they too rebel and mock the words of warning from Jeremiah (6,12) and previous prophets (e.g. Huldah, 2 Kings 22:14-20). Those who are listened to as “prophets” are just “wind” (13). All in positions of leadership, backed by training and experience, and anyone claiming to speak a “word” from God–today we might add those who shape public opinion–have a responsibility to “seek truth” for the well-being of society, with accountability to God.
The contrast between God’s generosity and the people’s blatant apostasy is again described in shocking imagery (7,8; see also 2:20-25). As horses primarily were evidence of royal might, “the image of ‘lusty stallions’ surely alludes to sexual infidelity and perversion, but it is also a metaphor for shameless self-assertion” (Walter Brueggemann), seen bluntly in verse 12. How can God “forgive” if people persist in going their own arrogant lying ways (7)? The rest of the book will show how hope will come only through judgment (33:7-9).
Jeremiah seems inclined to excuse the poor and blame the upper class (4-6). Are they equally at fault? Why do you think so? What does this passage appear to say?
Lord, I know I can be blind to my faults and sins. Bring into my life those who can point out my spiritual blind-spots, and hold me accountable.