Jeremiah 6The Voice (VOICE)
God, through His prophet, speaks about the ills of a greedy people who have forgotten how much the poor and orphaned matter to Him. The stench of injustice has become unbearable. For God, it is time to act.
As the swirling clouds gather to form a storm only Jeremiah sees on the horizon, the destruction of Jerusalem seems at hand. This ancient city, this storied place, is on the brink of a disaster beyond imagination. God is raising up an army from an ancient nation, known for its power and cruelty. For the prophet of God, the minutes are blurring into seconds. There seems to be little time to run and hide as the city will soon fall into the hands of those who mean her harm.
6 Eternal One (to His people): Run away, people of Benjamin,
6 This is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, decrees.
Eternal One: Cut down her trees—make battering rams and siege ramps—
9 This is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, decrees:
Eternal One: The enemy will pass over the remnant of Israel again and glean what is left,
10 To whom should I speak and give this warning?
Eternal One: Pour it out on children playing in the streets,
13 Greed has corrupted this culture, from the least to the greatest:
This is what the Eternal decrees:
16 Eternal One (to the people): Stand at the crossing, and consider the ancient path,
17 Even then I sent watchmen to warn you of what is to come.
18 Now listen to Me, nations of the earth.
Many people in Judah keep going through the motions of worship; they offer sacrifices and incense to the one True God. They speak superficial words when they think it counts, and they give Him extravagant gifts. But the prophet knows the mind of God, and God is not impressed with any of it. Empty worship is meaningless. In fact, empty worship may do more harm than good. These gifts and actions, it seems, have no meaning unless the hearts of the people are attuned to God, unless they are willing to hear and do what God asks. Obedience, you see, is better than sacrifice.
20 Eternal One: What use do I have of your expensive incense from Sheba
21 And so I, the Eternal One, will place stumbling blocks on your path of rebellion.
22 Look in the distance, and you will see an army
As clear as God’s pronouncements have been, there must be a moment of decision. The warnings are all invitations for the people of Jerusalem to return to the God who loves them. But their fate is up to them; it is their choice. At this place of decision, long overdue, Jeremiah voices the fear in the hearts of those who hear of the impending attack. Speaking for the nation, he once again responds to God’s awesome decree.
24 We heard the news, and our strength vanished—anguish and fear grip us.
27 Eternal One (to Jeremiah): Put My people to the test.
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