Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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      Jeremiah - Chapter 14 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. When there had been no rain for a long time, the LORD told me to say to the people:
    2. Judah and Jerusalem weep as the land dries up.
    3. Rulers send their servants to the storage pits for water. But there's none to be found; they return in despair with their jars still empty.
    4. There has been no rain, and farmers feel sick as they watch cracks appear in the dry ground.
    5. A deer gives birth in a field, then abandons her newborn fawn and leaves in search of grass.
    6. Wild donkeys go blind from starvation. So they stand on barren hilltops and sniff the air, hoping to smell green grass.
    7. Our terrible sins may demand that we be punished. But if you rescue us, LORD, everyone will see how great you are.
    8. You're our only hope; you alone can save us now. You help us one day, but you're gone the next.
    9. Did this disaster take you by surprise? Are you a warrior with your hands tied? You have chosen us, and your temple is here. Don't abandon us!
    10. My people, you love to wander away; you don't even try to stay close to me. So now I will reject you and punish you for your sins. I, the LORD, have spoken.
    11. The LORD said, "Jeremiah, don't ask me to help these people.
    12. They may even go without eating and offer sacrifices to please me and to give thanks. But when they cry out for my help, I won't listen, and I won't accept their sacrifices. Instead, I'll send war, starvation, and disease to wipe them out."
    13. I replied, "The other prophets keep telling everyone that you won't send starvation or war, and that you're going to give us peace."
    14. The LORD answered: They claim to speak for me, but they're lying! I didn't even speak to them, much less choose them to be my prophets. Their messages come from worthless dreams, useless fortunetelling, and their own imaginations.
    15. Those lying prophets say there will be peace and plenty of food. But I say that those same prophets will die from war and hunger.
    16. And everyone who listens to them will be killed, just as they deserve. Their dead bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, because their families will also be dead, and no one will be left to bury them.
    17. Jeremiah, go and tell the people how you feel about all this. So I told them: "Tears will flood my eyes both day and night, because my nation suffers from a deadly wound.
    18. In the fields I see the bodies of those killed in battle. And in the towns I see crowds dying of hunger. But the prophets and priests go about their business, without understanding what has happened."
    19. Have you rejected Judah, LORD? Do you hate Jerusalem? Why did you strike down Judah with a fatal wound? We had hoped for peace and a time of healing, but all we got was terror.
    20. We and our ancestors are guilty of rebelling against you.
    21. If you save us, it will show how great you are. Don't let our enemies disgrace your temple, your beautiful throne. Don't forget that you promised to rescue us.
    22. Idols can't send rain, and showers don't fall by themselves. Only you control the rain, so we put our trust in you, the LORD our God.
Reflections

Jeremiah - Chapter 14

Entered: September 20, 2004
[SEE CHAPTER 13]

Entered: November 12, 2010

A non-reflective people, people who do not reflect on their actions, motives, spiritual condition, etc, seem to assume God is no more aware of these things than are they. Such lack of personal awareness also reveals a faulty perception of God. Is it not obvious that the Creator God is all-knowing, even to the extent of knowing our own thoughts and motives? Judah seemed oblivious to this. 

God struck Judah with a drought so severe they were running out of drinking water. Even the animals were in distress for lack of food and water. This condition got their attention and they began to call out to God for help. Why didn't they call out to the gods to which they are turned instead of the God they had rejected? Finally they admitted that those other gods were worthless. So why did they turn to them at all? They were in trouble now so they turned to the true God that they knew could help them. Their plea sounded sincere: "Though our guilt testifies against us, LORD, act for Your name's sake. Indeed, our rebellions are many; we have sinned against You." (14:7) They confessed their sin and based their plea for help on God's honor rather than their own worthiness. This is good. So what was God's response? God said to Jeremiah, "Truly they love to wander; they never rest their feet. So the LORD does not accept them. Now He will remember their guilt and punish their sins. Then the LORD said to me, 'Do not pray for the well-being of these people.'" (14:10-11)

God knew their hearts and knew the shallowness of their confession. As He said, "They love to wander." Had God taken away the drought and restored their water, the people would have soon returned to other gods. But the people were either so shallow and unreflective of their own motives that they did not recognize the shallowness of their confession, or they were foolish enough to try to "con" (defraud or exploit) God. Again God told Jeremiah not to pray for the people. He was going to carry through with His plans to judge His people.

Complicating Judah's situation was the deception of her religious leaders. While Jeremiah delivered God's message of judgment, hoping to bring the people to true repentance and a return to God, other prophets, who had not been sent by God, were telling the people, "You won't see sword or suffer famine. I will certainly give you true peace in this place." (14:13) Thus, these false prophets were not only telling the people what they wanted to hear and bringing favor to themselves, they were also keeping the people from truly turning to God and bringing real peace.

God knows us better than we know ourselves. "Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart." (16:7) Though we may not examine our own hearts and know our real motives, God knows, and it is useless for us to make insincere confessions or promises. We do better to fall at His feet in submission and let Him reveal the condition of our hearts, then allow Him to give us new hearts.