Jeremiah 11 contains the first of what scholars call “Jeremiah’s confessions.” All of these occur in the first twenty-five chapters and are expressions of Jeremiah’s frustration. He doesn’t like the message he has been given. He doesn’t like preaching it and he really doesn’t like the persecution and ill-will his preaching is bringing him.
And so, he pours out His frustrations to God. It is interesting that as he pours out his heart, he is not afraid to call for the justice of the Lord to punish his adversaries. Like God, Jeremiah too is conflicted. He doesn’t want this judgment to take place, but it is the right thing to do.
Something else you should have seen in these readings is God’s characterization of Israel as “stubborn.” They have as many religions as cities. And why? Because each pursues “his own course” (8:6). In our own time, when the variety of church buildings signals so many different and conflicting ways to God, Jeremiah stands as a lasting rebuke to those who think Christianity is a matter of charting one’s own course with the Lord. There is only one course that leads to promise, and it is the course God has mapped out Himself. The wise of Judah had the law of the Lord, but handled it falsely (8:8), seeking their own way rather than God’s. When people today, no matter how sincerely, stray from the narrow path of God’s choosing, they will find themselves in a thicket of judgment. Only the way of the Lord “leads home.”