As I’ve written before, Paul wrote, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The Old Testament serves as a lesson to all to see how God has dealt with man and how man has dealt with God.
God sought to bless those who would follow his commands. However, many failed to do so and because of that, God punished them. Those who kept the commands were blessed.
Jeremiah the prophet described trying to get the people to turn back to God. The prophet’s words fell on deaf ears, for the people refused to listen to God. The book of Jeremiah shows how stubborn the people to whom Jeremiah preached really were. They had determined not to listen to the prophet’s words. Their lives were full of sin, and they enjoyed wallowing in its mire. Although they should have been ashamed, they felt no remorse.
The punishment of God was going to come upon them, and they had no fear.
God’s word is given so that man can know the direction to follow. Jeremiah wrote, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). We do not have to “direct our steps.” God’s word is for man to use as a guide. This word is a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my pathway” (Psalm 119:105). It is said they did not “delight” in the word. Man’s reaction to God’s word should be joy.
Those to whom Jeremiah wrote were willing to listen to false teachers. While Jeremiah was telling them what God thought about them and what would happen if they did not repent, the false teachers were tickling their ears with words of peace and good times. They should have listened to God’s prophet, but they failed to do so.
When the people committed abominations, they were not the least bit ashamed of their sins. They had lived a sinful life for so long, they could not even blush. Their sins are talked about throughout the book of Jeremiah: adultery, idolatry, murder, drunkenness, etc. They lived in open rebellion against God and felt no remorse. Many of these things are practiced openly in society today, and the world is not ashamed. These things still are abominations before God.
The prophet gave them the cure for all of their sins, but they rejected the cure (verse 16), which was for them was to turn back to God and his word.
The cure today is the same. Many proclaim how bad the world is while never looking toward the solution to the world’s problems — God. Will we learn from the past? Let us pray that we will.