The last verse from today’s reading is the prophet saying in Jeremiah 13:17 “my inner self will weep in secret places” and the first study section is the Lord saying in Jeremiah 5:30 “A horrific event and something horrible has happened in the land”. What is it? They have cast aside God’s word. Yes, they follow the ritual, but in Jeremiah 6:13 “For from the smallest of them to the greatest of them … everyone practices deceit”. And even the Lord laments in Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and admonish, that they may hear? Will anyone ask, will anyone in Jeremiah 6:16 “Stand at the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the way of the good is, and walk in it”. Will you be one that does?
A Horrific Event and Something Horrible has Happened
What is this horrible thing that has happened? What is this horrific event the Lord is reacting to in Jeremiah 5:30-31? Certainly it is that the “prophets prophecy falsely” (see Je 23:14; Ho 6:10)1 “and the priests rule by their own authority” in Jeremiah 5:31 that is “literally, “according to their hands,” that is, under their guidance (1 Ch 25:3). As a sample of the priests lending themselves to the deceits of the false prophets, to gain influence over the people, see Je 29:24–32”.1 but even worse than this misrepresentation of God by the prophets and the priests, the Lord says in Jeremiah 5:31 “and my people love it so much” or “love to have it so—(Mic 2:11)”1.
To Whom Shall I Speak and Admonish
Jerusalem, the place of God’s covenant for blessing has become a place where in Jeremiah 6:7 “Violence and destruction are heard within her”. But it isn’t just that violence has happened as a random event, here, the Lord describes the whole city saying they are, in Jeremiah 6:7 “As a water well keeps its water cool, so she keeps cool her wickedness”. This is understood to be “rather, a well dug, from which water springs; distinct from a natural spring or fountain … (2 Ki 21:16, 24; Is 57:20)”.1 The city has a culture of violence and destruction, a lifestyle of wickedness that they have fostered developed.
So now the Lord asks who can he talk to about correcting their ways? Who will hear what the Lord has to say? in
Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and admonish, that they may hear? Look, their ears are closed, and they are not able to listen attentively. Look, the word of Yahweh is to them an object of scorn, they do not delight in it.
Ask for the Ancient Paths, Where the Way of the Good is
Here is a people that is practicing the ritual, they are offering the sacrifices as prescribed by Moses, there is a priesthood that officiates and they are not holding back on the best ingredients for their ceremony in Jeremiah 6:20 “Frankincense comes from Sheba, and the precious spice reed from a distant land” but the Lord says, “Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.”
How is it that this sacrifice that the Lord prescribed is not acceptable? It is because in
Jeremiah 6:13 “For from the smallest of them to the greatest of them, everyone makes profit for unlawful gain. And from the prophet to the priest, everyone practices deceit.
The Lord goes on to say in Jeremiah 6:14–15 “they have treated the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace. 15 Have they acted ashamed, for they have committed a detestable thing? Not at all”. There is a disconnect between behavior and character, there is a religion of form without content of righteousness and justice. The instruction from the Lord has been clear and he says it again, in
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says Yahweh: “Stand at the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the way of the good is, and walk in it, and find rest for your inner selves. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
Put to the Test Their Ways
It isn’t the trial, the destruction, the judgement that the Lord wants. There has always been one request from the Lord and he restates it here in
Jeremiah 7:5–7 For if you truly make your ways and your deeds good, if you truly do justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, and the widow, you do not shed innocent blood in this place, and you do not go after other gods to your harm, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your ancestors forever and ever.
To Be for Me a People
My Inner Self Will Weep in Secret Places
- Jeremiah 5:20–31 A Horrific Event and Something Horrible has Happened
- Jeremiah 6:1–10 To Whom Shall I Speak and Admonish
- Jeremiah 6:11–20 Ask for the Ancient Paths, Where the Way of the Good is
- Jeremiah 5:20-31
- Jeremiah 6:1-30
- Jeremiah 13:1-17
- 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 512). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.