Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
4:11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert toward my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse–
4:12 a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgment against them.
4:22 “For my people are foolish, they do not know me; they are stupid children, they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good.”
4:23 I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.
4:24 I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro.
4:25 I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled.
4:26 I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.
4:27 For thus says the LORD: The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.
4:28 Because of this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above grow black; for I have spoken, I have purposed; I have not relented nor will I turn back.
This passage depicts a bleak and sad picture for the nation of Israel. They had once again fallen into their sin and disobeyed God, rejected who He is and all that He’s done for them. Jeremiah uses imagery as a means to show the severity of Israel’s actions. The coming of God’s judgment was only going to get worse before it got better. This is the consequence that Israel faced as a result of their rebellion.
This serves as a warning to those who are aware of their sin and yet choose to keep walking in it. God is not in the business of dismissing sin and allowing for sin to get away without any form of His holy righteous judgement coming to light. If He allowed for us to get away with our sin, then it would go against His character and who He is.
This passage is not meant to paint God as harsh and cruel. God’s word says that He chastises those whom He loves. His love for us is what drives Him to punish sin because He wants us to learn that sin can only lead us to destruction and will cause us to miss out on His blessings.
There is one key note that I want to point out in this passage. Despite His wrath, Gods Grace is still ever present. In verse 22 He still refers to them as “my people.” He never stops loving or caring for us. He longs to draw us closer to Him and that may require His children to learn the hard way, but it is to reveal that sin is a road that separates us from God and obedience brings us closer to Him.
Now it is I who speak in judgment against them.
For my people are foolish, they do not know me; they are stupid children, they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good.
How many warnings did you get when you were a child? When I was a kid I got one warning if it was my mother. If it was my father there was no warning. We knew the rules so any warnings at all were out of grace and leniency. However, as most parents already know, many times children repeat the offense even after a warning. That is when discipline and correction comes in.
How many warnings Israel have? 1, 2, 5, 10? It would be very exhausting to count go to the Old Testament and count the many times God warned His Children to straighten up. Even if we are generous and consider each prophet who has a written work as a single warning then we are already at 17 warnings. If we count the judges and the prophets without their own biblical books then we are at about 55 warnings. How patient is God with his children? It appears very patient.
Yet, eventually God had to discipline and correct His children. This is what we see in Jeremiah 4. The warning are over. God is done counting. He is done with alternative measures. He simply has to discipline them and discipline He did. They were hauled off into captivity for 70 years.
God is patient with us but like any good father, He will eventually have to discipline us if we don’t shape up. Whether in this life or the next, all of our deeds will be reckoned. Do not misuse or abuse God’s patience and grace. Do not make Him count to 2, 5, or any other number. Be obedient to the greater and reap abundant life.
Seek good, not evil,
that you may live (Amos 5:14)