Bible Reading / Book By Book: Proverbs to Luke
Day 19 / Jeremiah 4
Jeremiah tells them if they return to God, everyone around will be amazed by how God will deliver them. But God knows they will not return. He tells them they will be destroyed, and the destruction will be appalling.
It’s easy to mistakenly believe God is saying “I will reward you for good behavior and punish you for bad behavior.” That’s really not what he is saying. He is saying “if you obey me, I can bless you and everyone will know I did it.” He can’t bless them when they don’t obey because no one would know which of their gods had done it. When we depend completely on God and let everyone know we depend on him, it frees him to work in our lives.
Jeremiah 4 (NASB)
Judah Threatened with Invasion
4 “If you will return, O Israel,” declares the Lord,
“Then you should return to Me.
And if you will put away your detested things from My presence,
And will not waver,
2 And you will swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’
In truth, in justice and in righteousness;
Then the nations will bless themselves in Him,
And in Him they will glory.”
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,
“Break up your fallow ground,
And do not sow among thorns.
4 “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord
And remove the foreskins of your heart,
Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Or else My wrath will go forth like fire
And burn with none to quench it,
Because of the evil of your deeds.”
5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say,
“Blow the trumpet in the land;
Cry aloud and say,
‘Assemble yourselves, and let us go
Into the fortified cities.’
6 “Lift up a standard toward Zion!
Seek refuge, do not stand still,
For I am bringing evil from the north,
And great destruction.
7 “A lion has gone up from his thicket,
And a destroyer of nations has set out;
He has gone out from his place
To make your land a waste.
Your cities will be ruins
8 “For this, put on sackcloth,
Lament and wail;
For the fierce anger of the Lord
Has not turned back from us.”
9 “It shall come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “that the heart of the king and the heart of the princes will fail; and the priests will be appalled and the prophets will be astounded.”
10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; whereas a sword touches the throat.”
11 In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people—not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too strong for this—will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.
13 “Behold, he goes up like clouds,
And his chariots like the whirlwind;
His horses are swifter than eagles.
Woe to us, for we are ruined!”
14 Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem,
That you may be saved.
How long will your wicked thoughts
Lodge within you?
15 For a voice declares from Dan,
And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim.
16 “Report it to the nations, now!
Proclaim over Jerusalem,
‘Besiegers come from a far country,
And lift their voices against the cities of Judah.
17 ‘Like watchmen of a field they are against her round about,
Because she has rebelled against Me,’ declares the Lord.
18 “Your ways and your deeds
Have brought these things to you.
This is your evil. How bitter!
How it has touched your heart!”
Lament over Judah’s Devastation
19 My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart!
My heart is pounding in me;
I cannot be silent,
Because you have heard, O my soul,
The sound of the trumpet,
The alarm of war.
20 Disaster on disaster is proclaimed,
For the whole land is devastated;
Suddenly my tents are devastated,
My curtains in an instant.
21 How long must I see the standard
And hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 “For My people are foolish,
They know Me not;
They are stupid children
And have no understanding.
They are shrewd to do evil,
But to do good they do not know.”
23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void;
And to the heavens, and they had no light.
24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
And all the hills moved to and fro.
25 I looked, and behold, there was no man,
And all the birds of the heavens had fled.
26 I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness,
And all its cities were pulled down
Before the Lord, before His fierce anger.
27 For thus says the Lord,
“The whole land shall be a desolation,
Yet I will not execute a complete destruction.
28 “For this the earth shall mourn
And the heavens above be dark,
Because I have spoken, I have purposed,
And I will not change My mind, nor will I turn from it.”
29 At the sound of the horseman and bowman every city flees;
They go into the thickets and climb among the rocks;
Every city is forsaken,
And no man dwells in them.
30 And you, O desolate one, what will you do?
Although you dress in scarlet,
Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold,
Although you enlarge your eyes with paint,
In vain you make yourself beautiful.
Your lovers despise you;
They seek your life.
31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor,
The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child,
The cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath,
Stretching out her hands, saying,
“Ah, woe is me, for I faint before murderers.”