freedom from God
Jeremiah 5:1-19 (JDV)
Jeremiah 5:1 Roam through the streets of Jerusalem. Investigate; search in her squares. If you find one person, any who acts justly, who pursues faithfulness, then I will forgive her.
Jeremiah 5:2 Even when they say, “As Yahveh lives,” they are swearing falsely.
Jeremiah 5:3 Lord, don’t your eyes look for faithfulness? You have struck them, but they felt no pain. You finished them off, but they refused to accept discipline. They made their faces harder than rock, and they refused to return.
Jeremiah 5:4 Then I thought: They are just the poor; they have been foolish, because they don’t understand the way of Yahveh, the justice of their God.
Jeremiah 5:5 I will go to the powerful and speak to them. Surely they know the way of Yahveh, the justice of their God. However, these also had broken the yoke and torn off the chains.
Jeremiah 5:6 Therefore, from the forest a lion will strike them down. From arid plains a wolf will ravage them. In their cities a leopard stalks. Anyone who leaves them will be torn to pieces because their revolts are many, their rebellious deeds numerous.
Jeremiah 5:7 Why should I forgive you? Your children have abandoned me and sworn by those who are not gods. I satisfied their needs, yet they committed adultery; they gashed themselves at the prostitute’s house.
Jeremiah 5:8 They are well-fed, eager stallions, each neighing after someone else’s wife.
Jeremiah 5:9 Should I not punish them for these things? This is what Yahveh declares. Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
Jeremiah 5:10 Go up among her vineyard terraces and destroy them, but do not finish them off. Prune away her shoots, because they do not belong to Yahveh.
Jeremiah 5:11 They, the house of Israel and the house of Judah, have extremely betrayed me. This is what Yahveh declares.
Jeremiah 5:12 They have contradicted Yahveh and insisted, “It won’t happen. Harm won’t come to us; we won’t see sword or famine.”
Jeremiah 5:13 The prophets become only breath, for Yahveh’s word is not in them. This will in fact happen to them.
Jeremiah 5:14 Therefore, this is what Yahveh God of Armies says: Because you have spoken this word, notice, I am going to make my words become fire in your mouth. These people are the wood, and the fire will consume them.
Jeremiah 5:15 Notice I am about to bring a nation from far away against you, house of Israel. This is what Yahveh declares. It is an established nation, a nation from long ago, a nation whose language you do not know and whose speech you do not understand.
Jeremiah 5:16 Their quiver is like an open grave; they are all warriors.
Jeremiah 5:17 They will consume your harvest and your food. They will consume your sons and your daughters. They will consume your flocks and your herds. They will consume your vines and your fig trees. With the sword they will destroy your fortified cities in which you trust.
Jeremiah 5:18 “But even in those days”– this is what Yahveh declares — “I will not finish you off.
Jeremiah 5:19 When people ask, ‘For what offense has Yahveh our God done all these things to us? ‘ You will respond to them, ‘Just like you abandoned me and served foreign gods in your land, that is how you will serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’
freedom from God
Jeremiah thought he had found the reason for the rampant unfaithfulness of his people. He reckoned that he was only sampling a portion of the populace. He thought the reason there was so much disobedience and rebellion was that he was only looking among the poor and uneducated.
Then, he looked at the wealthy and sophisticated. He discovered that they too had “broken the yoke and torn off the chains.” The whole nation had set themselves free from God. And what a freedom it turned out to be. War, destruction, exile and bondage awaited them as a price for abandoning the God who had redeemed them.
All around me, I see the same thing Jeremiah saw. I see nations who were born from God, seeking to be unhindered by corruption and tyranny. But these same nations are now flagrantly boasting of their freedom from God. It is with pain and sorrow that I predict these nations are heading to the same place that Israel and Judah went. They were swallowed up by the nations around them. They wanted freedom from God, and God gave them what they wanted.
Lord, if by your mercy you can rescue a remnant from among us, please help us to be a part of that remnant. And help us to draw as many as we can to your ark of safety before the flood comes.