John T. Willis

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Searching for One Righteous Person [Part I]--Jeremiah 5:1-19

Jeremiah 5-6 give an account of the search for one righteous person in Jerusalem. Since these two chapters are quite long, I will divide them into three parts. The first part is Jeremiah 5:1-19. This section falls into three parts as well. Let us follow the text.

I. Yahweh Commands Jeremiah and his Companions to go through Jerusalem to try to find one righteous person. Jeremiah 5:1-5.
a. The imperatives "Run to and fro," "look around," "take note," and "search" are all plural. Thus, Yahweh is addressing a "group" of people, apparently Jeremiah and his companions. Yahweh proclaims in advance that God's people are FALSE, NOT TRUE. Yahweh has often tried to discipline his people, but they are hard-hearted. "They have made their faces harder than rock." 5:1-3.
b. Jeremiah responds: These are only the poor; they do not know God's law. Let us go to the rich. But when Jeremiah and his friends went to the rich, they also had broken God's law repeatedly. 5:4-5.

II. Because God's People are Hard-hearted, Yahweh will punish them. Jeremiah 5:6-13.
a. Yahweh uses several figures of the impending destruction. Yahweh is like a lion, a wolf, a leopard, about to pounce on its prey. 5:6a-c.
b. Yahweh enumerates several sins of God's people who have brought on this punishment. (1) Their transgressions are many and great. (2) They have forsake Yahweh and gone after other gods. (3) They have committed adultery. (4) They are false. 5:6d-13.
c. Even though Yahweh will punish his people, he will not "make a full end."

III. Yahweh will send the Babylonians to punish his sinful people. Jeremiah 5:14-19.
a. Yahweh is "the Lord of hosts." He is God of the angelic armies and in this context also the Babylonians. 5:14.
b. Yahweh describes this punishing nation in detail. This nation is from far away. It is an enduring nation. It is an ancient nation. It is a nation whose language the Judeans do not know. Its soldiers are mighty warriors, and they will devour the land of Judah. 5:15-17. This is a striking description of the Babylonians. The Judeans had "trusted in" their fortified cities, but this powerful nation will raze them to the ground. 5:17.
c. Even at that, Yahweh will "not make a full end of his people." Because God's people have forsaken Yahweh and served other gods, they will become strangers in a land they do not know, the land of the Babylonians. 5:18-19.

This text calls to mind the intercessional prayer of Abraham recorded in Genesis 18:22-33. This message is sobering. We need this message.

How do YOU respond to this message? Share YOUR thoughts and insights with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis