SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Today’s passage begins with God declaring that if there is one single person in Jerusalem who is truthful and fair, He would spare the city. (God made a similar statement in the past about another city called Sodom, see Genesis 18:32).
- Jeremiah saw people who had not been taught about God’s ways and went to see their leaders who were supposed to teach and guide the people. But even the leaders who knew and understood God’s laws had turned away from Him and led the people into sin.
- In verses 11-17, God says the people of Israel have been saying that God won’t do anything to them and the prophets are speaking God’s words. God declares that He will consume His people like a fire by bringing a “distant, mighty, and ancient” nation against them. (This would be the nation of Babylon, from the north).
- God then declares that He will not annihilate His people completely and those that are left must tell others that they themselves turned away from the one true God to serve foreign gods and that is the reason God brought destruction to Israel.
- God says that He will punish His people because they stopped coming to Him with respect and fear even though he created and controls the powers of nature like the boundaries of the ocean and sending the rain. His people denied the rights of the poor and refuse justice to the fatherless.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- God’s mercy is made clear through His willingness to uphold Israel on the goodness of one person. His people continued to turn their backs on Him, each and every one of them, and that is the reason for His anger. God is the Creator, and His power is immeasurable, yet the people of Israel continued to look for security and comfort by serving “idols” (false gods).
- We look to and trust our leaders for guidance and direction, but if they do not follow God, they will lead us astray.
- This passage also shows us that God cares deeply for those who cannot protect themselves – those in distress and struggling. The Israelite’s lack of support for those who were unable to help themselves is another reason for God’s anger.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Who are the defenseless people within your reach? Orphans, the poor, the homeless, and the lonely - these are the types of vulnerable and unprotected people that God wants us to treat fairly and with love. Today, can you give a cool bottle of water to a homeless person on the corner? Can you call and say hello to the person who is alone and feeling disconnected?
- Check out the opportunity to serve God through Verve’s Marble Manor outreach, which reaches children in a public housing neighborhood here in Las Vegas.