Mighty God, you are the desire of those who seek you, you are the joy of those who find you. Even in my darkest days, there are so many things for which to praise you.
Read JEREMIAH 8:20 – 9:26
“The harvest is past,
the summer has ended,
and we are not saved.”
21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;
I mourn, and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing
for the wound of my people?
9 [a]1 Oh, that my head were a spring of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears!
I would weep day and night
for the slain of my people.
2 Oh, that I had in the desert
a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,
a crowd of unfaithful people.
3 “They make ready their tongue
like a bow, to shoot lies;
it is not by truth
that they triumph[b] in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
they do not acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.
4 “Beware of your friends;
do not trust anyone in your clan.
For every one of them is a deceiver,[c]
and every friend a slanderer.
5 Friend deceives friend,
and no one speaks the truth.
They have taught their tongues to lie;
they weary themselves with sinning.
6 You[d] live in the midst of deception;
in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.
7 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:
“See, I will refine and test them,
for what else can I do
because of the sin of my people?
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
it speaks deceitfully.
With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,
but in their hearts they set traps for them.
9 Should I not punish them for this?”
declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?”
10 I will weep and wail for the mountains
and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.
They are desolate and untraveled,
and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds have all fled
and the animals are gone.
11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
a haunt of jackals;
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah
so no one can live there.”
12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?
13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.”
17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:
“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come;
send for the most skillful of them.
18 Let them come quickly
and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
and water streams from our eyelids.
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
‘How ruined we are!
How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
because our houses are in ruins.’”
20 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;
open your ears to the words of his mouth.
Teach your daughters how to wail;
teach one another a lament.
21 Death has climbed in through our windows
and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
and the young men from the public squares.
22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:
“‘Dead bodies will lie
like dung on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
with no one to gather them.’”
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.
25 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places.[e] For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”
- Jeremiah 9:1 In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-26 is numbered 9:1-25.
- Jeremiah 9:3 Or lies; / they are not valiant for truth
- Jeremiah 9:4 Or a deceiving Jacob
- Jeremiah 9:6 That is, Jeremiah (the Hebrew is singular)
- Jeremiah 9:26 Or wilderness and who clip the hair by their foreheads
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Recall special vacations and thank God for the refreshed feeling you experienced as you returned home.
Some years ago I contributed to a file of secondary-school assemblies entitled Community Cohesion. Today’s passage paints a picture of a community that would benefit from such a file. As so often, sexual impropriety comes top of the list of ills (9:2), but much of the community breakdown has its roots in what people are saying to one another. They bend the truth (v 3), inform on one another to gain an advantage (v 4), slander and deceive (v 8). This has now become endemic (vs 5,6). Jeremiah has two options: to stay and endure deep, personal anguish (v 1) or to retreat to a desert refuge (v 2).
I, too, have sometimes longed to get away from the incessant daily diet fed by the media. I’m tempted by the lure of TV programs setting up home in rural isolation, with their promise of relief from the stress and complexity of living in a community. Over past decades my wife and I have at times welcomed the option of such an escape, whether a cottage in France or our present motorhome, but it has only ever been a break, so that we might then return, refreshed, to life where we belong.
Community cohesion does not come through political and sociological strategies, scientific and philosophical analyses, or power and wealth (v 23). It can only come through knowing God in the relationship given to us by Jesus and in understanding his ways through the gift of the Holy Spirit (v 24). Equipped in this way, it’s our task to introduce our communities to his enduring love, his justice and his holy righteousness. Where we belong. We are God’s glue for his cohesion.
Choose three situations that grieve you within your local community: dispute between neighbors, a local injustice, personal slander, for example. Pray about them, then listen for what God invites you to do.
Lord I think of the great tasks you have called us to accomplish in the world. Empower me to be a peacemaker rather than a source of conflict, a reconciler rather than a divider.
Last Updated on April 28, 2023 by kingstar