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Greetings guys, kindly be patient and read through. Stay blessed.
God sent the prophet Jeremiah to denounce the people of Judah for their disobedience to His commandments. Jeremiah recalled the devotion of Israel during the wilderness period: "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness. Israel was holy to the Lord, the first fruits of his harvest."
Jeremiah then wondered what fault their fathers found in the Lord for which they forsook Him and took to worthless gods:" What wrong did your father's find in me that they went far from me and went after worthlessness and became worthless".
They had forgotten the Lord who delivered them from Egypt and brought them into the land of plenty. On reaching the promised land, they defiled it and made their heritage an abomination. The religious leaders were in the forefront of this abomination. For instance, the priest who should be conversant with the laws of God even failed to bring people to their senses. Similarly, the prophets no longer prophesied by the Lord. They prophesied by Baal, thus encouraging idolatry.
Jeremiah said God was in contention with the people of Judah because no nation had forsaken its own gods, though they were worthless gods. But His people had forsaken their glory, thus committing evil. They had not only forsaken God, the fountain of living waters; they had heard for themselves broken cisterns, that could not hold water. And consequently, Israel had become a slave; lions were roaring from all sides to swallow her, and men from the east were on their way to destroy her.
Jeremiah said that when Israel entered into convenant with God, she gained her freedom in the Lord; but now she had forsaken God by establishing the false gods on every high hill, she had restored her slave status. She had become a slave once again. Jeremiah said that the people had become so degenerated that no amount of washing would clear them of guilt:"Though you wash with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me says, the Lord".
Destruction awaited Israel for her faithlessness. The inhabitants of Israel, their kings and princes, priests and prophets alike would be brought to shame. Jeremiah said all the people had gone to worship trees and stones, yet in time of trouble they called upon God to save them: "For they have turned their back to me, not their face. But in time of trouble they say, 'Arise and save us'".
Jeremiah said that they would rather call upon the gods of their own hands to save them, for as many cities as there was in Judah, were the number of god's they had. Jeremiah also said that God would not save His people from the hardships they were undergoing. They were paying for their backsliding. The prophet Jeremiah was prevented by God from pleading on behalf of the people. The Lord said that he should not pray for the welfare of people who had turned their backs on His message by refusing to acknowledge their guilt. What they rightly deserved was to be destroyed by the sword, famine and pestilence.
Also, as part of the punishment for the Israelites, Jeremiah said God had raised two nations to destroy the city of Jerusalem and carry the people into exile. God said through Jeremiah: "Behold I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and he shall take it". Jeremiah said that God would cause the Chaldeans to set Jurusalem on fire and burn it because the people provoked the Lord by worshipping idol. Their political leaders as well as their religious leaders had not stopped the people from their wickedness and apostasy but joined them. They had gone after their idols such as Baal and Milcon and for this they would be punished.
HOPE IN THE LAND?
In Jeremiah 3:11-18, we can see that Jeremiah assured the people of Judah that there was hope of salvation for the nation. God was prepared to revoke the punishment in store for them on the condition that they would acknowledge their guilt as rebellious people, who had disobeyed the commandments of the Lord. If they were indeed sincerely penitent, the Lord won't be angry with Israel Forever. Jeremiah said faithless Israel should return to the Lord because He was their Master. He would gather them and bring them to Zion. He would give them a shepherd after his own heart who would give them knowledge and understanding. The Lord would multiply them and the Old convenant, the symbol of which was the Ark, would be no more. The lord would enter into a new relationship with His people.
However, the people of Judah did not need the message of hope. They continued in their wickedness. They backslided and wavered in their faith: "For our backsliding are many, we have sinned against thee". Jeremiah thus said the people suffered because of their bad leaders who had led them astray. The Lord grieved for His people in their suffering because the priest ms and the prophets lacked knowledge. The Lord would continue to neglect and reject His people so long as they failed to acknowledge their guilt. They would look for peace but no good would come; or for a healing, but only terror would come. He alone could end the drought and bring rain. The people could hope in Him, but their hope could only be realised when they sincerely acknowledge their guilt and did what was right.
Thanks for reading and see you in my next article.