Have you ever had a relative you just couldn’t invite to social gatherings? He (or she) would say the wrong things, or do something stupid – always something embarrassing!
It’s the fourth year of king Zedekiah’s reign and he’s throwing a State function. Ambassadors from Edom, Ammon, Moab and Phoenicia – surrounding nations – have gathered at the palace and Jeremiah shows up; wearing a yoke like oxen wear no less.
Of course he gets the attention of everyone and Jeremiah tells them all, in essence, God is going to put one of these on all of you. You will be slaves of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
Today’s reading brings to an end this long section (chapters 13-29) of promised doom for Judah, and it ends with competing messages. Jeremiah is proclaiming doom. But there are other prophets who are proclaiming peace and victory. Who should they believe? The same problem exists in the religious world today. In the face of conflicting doctrines, what do we believe?
Judah had a long line of prophets, all proclaiming the same thing – doom for God’s people. Isaiah was one and his words came to pass. Jeremiah was another and he was just repeating what other prophets had said. Doom was coming and the reason – sin – had not changed. The people had not changed. Why would they think the message had changed?
The word of God does not change. The people of Judah were willfully ignorant of God’s word. While continually asking “what should we believe?” the answer was right in front of them, written through the ages. But it was a whole lot easier to ask questions than seek answers.
God’s will for our lives is here. We do not have to wonder about it. We must simply open it and heed its message.