Jeremiah chapter five gives us a deeper look into why the Lord sent Israel into captivity.
First, there is the hypocrisy of the people. They swore: “As surely as the Lord lives . . .” In doing this, they called upon God as a guarantor – as if they trusted Him and entrusted themselves to Him. But really, it was only a statement. God wasn’t even in their minds. This reminds me of how often I hear people use the term “god:” as an expletive, and as a throwaway word without meaning or context. It’s not just the use of the word. It is the use without thought.
Second, there is the total lack of ethics. Truth is the bedrock of an orderly society, but when people feel they can shade, hide, twist, or ignore truth, there is no foundation for justice or security.
Third, there is sexual unfaithfulness. Sex is intended to be confined to the marriage relationship. When a people’s sexual habits move outside that boundary, God asks: “Should I not punish them for this? Should I not avenge myself on a nation as this?”
Fourth, there is the attitude that God either cannot or will not do anything to discipline His people, that He lacks either the ability or the moral integrity to bring justice.
Finally, not only have they abandoned the Lord, but they have embraced other gods and the religions that serve them. What difference does one’s religion make as long as you are acknowledging some god some way?
For the Lord, it is the difference between life and death. Our own live and death.