Today’s readings contain two more of Jeremiah’s “confessions” (15:10-21; 17:14-18) – occasions when the prophet speaks of the pain of his ministry and calls on God for help. But I am focused on chapter 14 today particularly.
The constant cry of Judah (and remember Jeremiah is preaching and writing before Jerusalem’s fall) is: “We don’t understand! Why is this happening to us?” You can feel a measure of sympathy for her because, through all her suffering, prophets in the land – and they were recognized as prophets – are saying: “don’t worry. Our troubles will soon be over!” (see 14:13
Yet, the prophets are lying.
How are God’s people supposed to know? On the one hand there is lone Jeremiah, speaking gloom and doom. On the other, there are prophets preaching “keep hope alive!” What is the truth supposed to be and how are they supposed to know?
However much you would like to sympathize with them, don’t! This is precisely what Jeremiah is forbidden to do.
Because God’s people are supposed to be able to tell truth from fiction. Centuries before, God gave His people a law and plainly told them what He wanted and didn’t want. He revealed the way to blessing and punishment. They are responsible for knowing.
In a society filled with a variety of religious expressions, how are we today supposed to know which way to go? One leaders says one thing, and another says another. Which way is right?
The truth is, we are each responsible for knowing. When we expect others to tell us what God wants, and give His word no attention ourselves, we will end up like Judah, always wondering “why has this happened to us?”