Verse 1 – “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her.
Jerusalem was the capital city and center of worship for Judah, but God challenged anyone to find one honest and truthful person in the entire city. God was willing to spare the city if just one righteous person could be found.
We too, as Christians, need to remain faithful in representing God to those around us. You just might be the only person that another sees as Jesus.
Verse 2 – Though they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ surely they swear falsely.”
Verse 3 – O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to return.
Nothing but truth is acceptable to God. When we pray, sing, or speak, He only hears honesty from the heart. It’s useless to pretend with an all-knowing God.
Verse 4 – Therefore I said, “surely these are poor. They are foolish; for they do not know the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God.
Verse 5 – I will go to the great men and speak to them, for they have known the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God.” But these have all together broken the yoke and burst the bonds.
Even the leaders who knew God’s word, rejected Him. They were supposed to teach and guide the people, but instead led them into sin.
Verse 6 – Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, a wolf of the deserts shall destroy them; a leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many; their backslidings have increased.
Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean army here are pointed at under the metaphor of beasts of prey – lion, denotes great power,courage and pride; the wolf for greediness unsustainable; the leopard – vigilance.
Verse 7 – “How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me and sworn by those that are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in harlots houses.
God held the parents accountable for the children’s sins.
Verse 8 – They were like well-fed lusty stallions; every one neighed after his neighbor’s wife.
Verse 9 – Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord. “And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?
Verse 10 – “Go up on her walls and destroy, but do not make a complete end. Take away her branches, for they are not the Lords;
Verse 11 – For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously with Me,” says the Lord.
Treacherous-fraud – they lied and deceived about God.
Verse 12 – They have lied about the Lord, and said, “It is not He. Neither will evil come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine.
Verse 13 – And the prophets became wind, for the word is not in them, thus shall it be done to them.”
Jeremiah said these false prophets were “wind-bags.” They were filled with wind instead of God’s Spirit.
Verse 14 – Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: “Because you speak this word, behold I will make My word in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.
Verse 15 – Behold, I will bring a nation against you from afar, O house of Israel,” says the Lord. “It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say.
Babylon! In Jeremiah’s day, Babylon would soon rebel against Assyrian domination, from its own arm, conquer Assyria, and become the next world power.
Verse 16 – Their quiver is like an open tomb; they are all mighty men.
Verse 17 – And they shall eat up your harvest and your bread, which your sons and daughters should eat. They shall eat up your flocks and your herds; they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; they shall destroy your fortified cities, in which you trust, with the sword.
Verse 18 – “Nevertheless in those days,” says the Lord, “I will not make a complete end of you.
Verse 19 – And it will be when you say, ‘Why does the Lord our God do all these things to us?’ then you shall answer them, ‘Just as you have forsaken Me and served foreign gods in your land, so shall you serve aliens in a land that is not yours.’
Verse 20 – “Declare this in the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah, saying,
Verse 21 – ‘Hear this now, O foolish people, without understanding, who have eyes and see not, and who have ears and hear not:
This is more to the heart than the actual eyes and ears on the body. Some will open their hearts to the gospel and then accept it, while others will have closed hearts and continue the way they’ve always gone.
Verse 22 – Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.
Verse 23 – But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; they have revolted and departed.
Verse 24 – They do not say in their heart “Let us now fear the Lord our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
God was striping away all the benefits that Israel and Judah had grown to respect more than Him. Shouldn’t we stand in awe at a God who gives us our very breath?
Verse 25 – Your iniquities have turned these things away, and your sins have withheld good things from you.
Verse 26 – ‘For among My people are found wicked men; they lie in wait as one who sets snares; they set a trap; they catch men.
Verse 27 – As a cage is full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich.
Verse 28 – They have grown fat, they are sleek; yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; they do not plead the cause, the cause of the fatherless; yet they prosper, and the right of the needy, they do not defend.
Verse 29 – Shall I not punish them for theses things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’
God was not pleased with the people who were able to take care of the poor and needy.These people only got fatter themselves!
Verse 30 – “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land:
Verse 31 – The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so, but what will do in the end?
As I finished this chapter, it causes me to reflect on our own leaders in government here in the US. The corruption and greed are huge, all for them to gain wealth off the tax payers backs so they can have more, more, and more! How is it that they are not millionaires going into office, but yet when they come out or retire, they have two or three mansions and millions in the bank? They continue to spend hard-earned taxpayer money as if it were their own. They’ve placed wolves to watch over the hen-house. They seem to forget “God sees it all and they will answer for what they’ve done!