Speaking to People Who Would Not Hear

In the early years of our ministry of training laymen in local churches to work with their youth I came across a front page newspaper article that grabbed my attention. In detail it told how on a New York street Kitty Genovese was slowly and brutally stabbed to death. At … More

Responsibility

This closing part of Jeremiah’s sermon focuses on the invading Babylonian army, from the north, and the devastation it would bring to Jerusalem and Judah (vv. 1-2). At this time the city and the country seemed secure and they were under no apprehension of danger. Jeremiah tells them that they shall soon be invaded by a foreign power which shall completely destroy them. In fact, God threatened to destroy Jerusalem so completely that shepherds would pitch their tents and graze their herds on its site (v. 3). This extensive destruction is confirmed by Nehemiah (Neh. 2:3, 11-17). Then he spoke to the Babylonian leaders and shared His strategy (vv. 4-5). He told them to make a surprise attack at noon (in the heat of the day when no one would expect it) and continue through the night (when most armies retire). He further directs the attack (vv. 6-15) by telling the Babylonians to chop down trees and build ramps against the walls of the city. He tells them how to do this with precision.

Jeremiah took no delight in bringing messages that threaten and make those around him uneasy (v. 11) but he could not contain himself. First he questioned why he should be speaking to a people who would not hear (v. 10). Then he acknowledged that it was his responsibility to speak because he had been made aware of God’s wrath (vv. 11-12). This was a result of their sins of covetousness (v. 13), because of them giving false hope by saying “peace, peace; when there was no peace (v. 14),” and by their not being ashamed when they should be (v. 15).

Application

It may not be popular for me to give a warning of God’s judgment but I have a responsibility to share with people that Jesus, God’s son is the only way they can escape this judgment and go to Heaven.

Jeremiah 6:1-15 (English Standard Version)

Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem, for disaster looms out of the north, and great destruction. The lovely and delicately bred I will destroy, the daughter of Zion. Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her; they shall pitch their tents around her; they shall pasture, each in his place. "Prepare war against her; arise, and let us attack at noon! Woe to us, for the day declines, for the shadows of evening lengthen! Arise, and let us attack by night and destroy her palaces!" For thus says the LORD of hosts: "Cut down her trees; cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem. This is the city that must be punished; there is nothing but oppression within her. As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her evil; violence and destruction are heard within her; sickness and wounds are ever before me. Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I turn from you in disgust, lest I make you a desolation, an uninhabited land." Thus says the LORD of hosts: "They shall glean thoroughly as a vine the remnant of Israel; like a grape-gatherer pass your hand again over its branches." To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in. "Pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the gatherings of young men, also; both husband and wife shall be taken, the elderly and the very aged. Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together, for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land," declares the LORD. "For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown," says the LORD.

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