Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord,
I remember [earnestly] the lovingkindness and devotion of your youth, Your time of betrothal [like that of a bride during the early years in Egypt and again at Sinai], When you followed Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown. Israel was holy [something set apart from ordinary purposes, consecrated] to the Lord, The first fruits of His harvest [in which no outsider was allowed to share]….’”
Jeremiah 2:1-3 AMP
,,,, This is what the Lord says:
“What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines,
a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.
The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.” Jeremiah 2:4-8 NIV
Looking at a chart of the kings of Judah and Israel, only 7 in Judah did what was right in God’s eyes. Three, one of which was Solomon, started well when they were young, but did evil as they grew older.
The United Kingdom was split after Solomon’s reign into Judah in the south and Israel in the north. Thirteen of the kings in Judah did evil, and all 19 in Israel did evil. Along with the priests and prophets who deceived the people with pleasing words (living under such leadership for so many years), it is not surprising that the majority of the people refused to listen, much less desire to change, as a result of God’s warnings to them through Jeremiah.
I can barely imagine how it grieved God to see his people continually slide into evil, rejecting his continuing effort to draw them close to himself in covenant fellowship and love.
In Ezekiel 33:11 NIV, God says,
”Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back (change your way of thinking), turn back [in repentance] from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?”
And Jesus as he wept over the city:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Matthew 23:37 NIV
Let’s take time as we study Jeremiah to learn from his interaction with God and what God told him to say about how to draw close to God in our own lives. Psalm 1 is a good reminder of how to focus on remaining in God’s love and care.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. Psalm 1:1-6