The Scriptorium

What They Wanted

They sought it; they got it. Jeremiah 5.18-31

Judgment: Jeremiah 4-6 (5)

Pray Psalm 102.1-4.
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
And let my cry come to You.
Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day that I call, answer me speedily.
For my days are consumed like smoke,
And my bones are burned like a hearth.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass,
So that I forget to eat my bread.

Sing Psalm 102.1-4.
(Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
Lord, hear my prayer and cry; hide not Your face from me!
In my distress and tears I sigh – Lord, hear my earnest plea!
My days like smoke blow past; my bones are scorched with sin.
My heart, like wilted, withered grass bends low to earth again.

Read Jeremiah 5.1-31; meditate on verses 18-31.

1. Why was God going to send the people of Judah into a foreign land?

2. How had their leaders failed them?

In a very real sense, Jeremiah explained, God was only giving the people of Jerusalem and Judah what they wanted. They wanted to serve foreign gods in the land He had given them? He would go them one better: He would send them to be slaves to foreign gods in foreign lands (v. 19).

But God would “not make a complete end” of His people (v. 18) – always, the word of hope and the promise of restoration. God disciplines, but He does not abandon His people, for to do so would be to deny His Word and promises.

The people should have been living in the fear of God, knowing His great sovereign power over all things (vv. 21, 22). Instead, they turned away from God, defiant and rebellious in their hearts (v. 23), and they refused to acknowledge His sovereignty and grace in the everyday blessings of their lives (v. 24). So, because of their sins, which they chose rather than to walk in obedience to God and His Law, God was withdrawing His blessings, and removing them to a foreign land (v. 25). God will not be set aside, and He will not be taken for granted. All the blessings we enjoy each day are from His hand, designed to lead us to fear and love Him more each day. The people of Judah attributed God’s largesse to other deities, and they turned away from Him. He was simply acknowledging their choice by leaving them to their false gods and whatever blessings they might be able to supply.

But their false gods led them into traps and snares and deceit (vv. 26, 27). The people prospered on God’s blessings, but their prophets and priests, following the lead of their rulers, led them away from God to the gods of the surrounding nations. And the people were just fine with that (vv. 30, 31). Thus God asks, “Shall I not punish them for these things?” (v. 29)

Indeed, He shall. And does yet today.

1. How do the blessings of God come to you each day? Do you thank and praise Him for these blessings? Tell others about His blessings?

2. Why are false gods – of whatever kind – always, in the end, traps and snares and deceit? How should Christians help one another to avoid such traps (Prov. 1.17)?

3. God says the failure of Israel’s leadership was an “astonishing and horrible thing” (v. 30). What causes church leaders to fail in their calling? How should you pray for your church leaders?

But every person who makes something a god serves alien gods. Do you deify food and drink? “Your god is the belly.” Do you honor silver and the wealth here below as a great good? Your god and lord is Mammon. For Jesus spoke of the love of money when he said, “You cannot serve God and Mammon. No one can serve two masters.” Origin of Alexandria (185-254), Homilies on Jeremiah 7.3.2

Show me the traps and snares that lie in my path today, O Lord, and help me to…

Pray Psalm 102.12-28.

Look to the Lord for personal revival, for revival in all His churches, and that the fear of the Lord might grow in His people. Ask Him to strengthen you to tell of His praises and blessings today.

Sing Psalm 102.12-28.
Psalm 102.12-28 (Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
But You, O Lord, abide forever in Your place.
Arise and stand on Zion’s side and lavish us with grace!
Revive Your Church, O Lord! Let all her dust and stones
be strengthened by Your mighty Word, and compact be as one.

Then let the nations fear the glory of the Lord!
For He shall in His Church appear to heed our sighing words.
Then let our children learn to praise the Lord above.
He hears their groans and knows they yearn to dwell within His love.

Yet let us tell God’s Name and praise His glorious grace;
let all as one His love proclaim together in this place.
Though now our strength is low; though shortened grow our days,
our God will not forsake us so, but keep us in His ways!

Of old You made the earth and heavens by Your hand.
Though they shall perish You endure; forever shall You stand.
They change, yet You remain the same, without an end.
Our children shall Your favor gain, and theirs shall be Your friend.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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