as numerous as the streets
Jeremiah 11:1-17 (JDV)
Jeremiah 11:1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from Yahveh:
Jeremiah 11:2 “Listen to the words of this covenant and tell them to the men of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 11:3 Tell them, ‘This is what Yahveh, the God of Israel, says: “Let a curse be on the man who does not obey the words of this covenant,
Jeremiah 11:4 which I commanded your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the iron furnace.” I declared, “Obey me, and do everything that I command you, and you will be my people, and I will be your God,”
Jeremiah 11:5 in order to establish the oath I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, like it is today.'” I answered, “Amen, Lord.”
Jeremiah 11:6 Yahveh said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Obey the words of this covenant and carry them out.’
Jeremiah 11:7 You see, I strongly warned your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt until today, warning them time and time again, ‘Obey me.’
Jeremiah 11:8 Yet they would not obey or pay attention; each one followed the stubbornness of his evil heart. So I brought on them all the curses of this covenant, because they had not done what I commanded them to do.”
Jeremiah 11:9 Yahveh said to me, “A conspiracy has been discovered among the men of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 11:10 They have returned to the violations of their fathers who refused to obey my words and have followed other gods to worship them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah broke my covenant I made with their fathers.
Jeremiah 11:11 “Therefore, this is what Yahveh says: I am about to bring on them disaster that they cannot escape. They will cry out to me, but I will not hear them.
Jeremiah 11:12 Then the cities of Judah and the residents of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods they have been burning incense to, but they certainly will not save them in their time of disaster.
Jeremiah 11:13 Your gods are indeed as numerous as your cities, Judah, and the altars you have set up to Shame – altars to burn incense to Baal – as numerous as the streets of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 11:14 “As for you, do not pray for these people. Do not raise up a cry or a prayer on their behalf, because I will not be listening when they call out to me at the time of their disaster.
Jeremiah 11:15 What right does my beloved have to be in my house, having carried out so many evil schemes? Can sacred meat prevent your disaster so you can celebrate?
Jeremiah 11:16 Yahveh named you a flourishing olive tree, beautiful with well-formed fruit. He has set fire to it, and its branches are consumed with the sound of a mighty tumult.
Jeremiah 11:17 “Yahveh of Armies who planted you has decreed disaster against you, because of the disaster the house of Israel and the house of Judah brought on themselves when they angered me by burning incense to Baal.”
as numerous as the streets
When I lived in Asia, there was nowhere I could go that I did not find a shrine to some saint or image, god or goddess. Like Jerusalem in the time of Jeremiah, the signs of idolatry were “as numerous as the streets” of my city.
God had specifically covenanted with his people to be free of idolatry – to worship and serve him alone. All of the empowerments of the covenant were now in jeopardy because the people had broken that covenant. They had failed to live up to its commands, and had forsaken its commission – to represent him by living devoted lives.
Lord, lead us to a place of restoration, where we once again can know your empowerment, and represent you among the nations.