On this beautiful snow day in Chapel Hill, I finally get to sit down and blog a bit! Now when we say snow in North Carolina, it really means ½ an inch of ice, with some snow flurries that came before it. The Northerners that live here like to make fun, but we are no where near prepared when it is time for salting the roads, or plowing if needed (like the inches of snow we actually had in 2014). Anyway, now it is time to carry on with the book of Jeremiah! Sure it isn’t the sweetest and happiest prophecies to read, but they are so vital to understanding the love of our God.
So chapter 6 starts off as being labeled as “Impending Disaster for Jerusalem.” So yeah it is definitely not anything happy about this chapter, other than the fact that God loves His children so much that He has to ruin His own creation in order to show them tough love. The oppression of His people exists because of the way of life in Jerusalem, and God can only get rid of this oppression by getting rid of the city. Jeremiah prophesizes, “For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Cut down her trees; cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem. This is the city that must be punished; there is nothing but oppression within her. As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her evil; violence and destruction are heard within her; sickness and wounds are ever before me,’” Jeremiah 6:6-7. I know that I have written this before, but I cannot help but say it: the wordage is so full of passion and shows just how disappointed God is in His children. You know the common phrase from your parents when you do something wrong: “I am not angry, I am just disappointed.” Anger is one thing and being disappointed is another. God being disappointed should hurt His children even more, like how much it hurts us when our parents say they are disappointed in us, but the people of Jerusalem felt no shame or unworthiness from God’s disappointment as they should have.
In chapter 7, God is calling out the temple goers of Jerusalem as hypocrites, because although they go to God’s holy temple, they still worship false gods and prophets but still claim to be a follower of God. God then goes on to quote in the prophecy he tells Jeremiah, the words he told the Israelites in the book of Exodus. “’But this I gave them: “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts and went backward and not forward,’” Jeremiah 7:23-24. He then goes onto referring to the book of Job, and how when Job was being disciplined for no reason, he felt God was disappointed in him, and shaved off his hair, ripped his clothes to show the anguish he felt over the possibility of God’s disappointment. From leading the Israelites out of Egypt and giving them their commandments, to Job’s righteousness, and finally to the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s time, all were experiencing God’s love in different forms. The Israelites were saved by Him, and given commandments so that they could stay righteous in God’s eyes; Job kept worshipping God even when he was being disciplined when he did no wrong; finally the people of Jerusalem were being punished as a result of their unwillingness to care about God, and God was showing them tough love.
Chapter 8, God starts off by saying that the destruction that is going to come to Jerusalem will actually make death more preferable. This isn’t the same type of death that we would face as Christians, because life in Heaven because of His Son will be way better than life, but these people of Jerusalem will die as unrighteous. These people will face such pain that was part of death before Christ, but this pain will overall be better than the destruction that is to come from the North. Towards the end of the chapter we continue to hear about the anguish that Jeremiah himself faced because of his knowledge of these prophesies from God. It is like knowing that something disastrous is going to happen, but there is nothing you can do, and no one will even believe you when you say that disaster will come. He obviously felt depressed about the burden he was feeling, but God knew that Jeremiah would be the one that would be able to handle these bearings. Jeremiah was a righteous fellow and was feeling God’s disappointment firsthand, and this allowed him to be able to share these prophecies for he was passionate over them. Jeremiah’s passion along with God’s passion is what makes reading this book of the Bible so vital.