10 I will weep and wail for the mountains
and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.
They are desolate and untraveled,
and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds have all fled
and the animals are gone.
11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
a haunt of jackals;
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah
so no one can live there.”
12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?
13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what theLord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.”
(Jeremiah 9:10-16 NIV)
Today we continue with the interspersed thoughts of the Lord and Jeremiah.
Based on the previous section (vv. 2 – 9), Jeremiah takes up a lament for the land of Judah (v. 10). God’s judgment will extend not only to His people (vv. 2 – 9) but to the land itself. The pastures will be destroyed. With no grazing available, cattle and wild animals will be gone Even the birds have fled to a safer haven. Notice the link between the nation’s sin and natural disasters.
In verse 11, the Lord extends His judgment to the cities of Judah, especially Jerusalem. The cities will be destroyed, and Jerusalem will be leveled and desolate. The ruins of Jerusalem will be the new home for jackals. Notice the link between the nation’s defection of their faith and the loss of civilized life.
Verse 12 asks the question, “Why?”. There must be some reason for all this destruction and disruption. The implied question is to God: “Why would You let this happen?”
Verses 13 – 14 are the Lord’s response. The people have forsaken the Lord’s commands and have turned their backs on Him. They have left their first love (the Lord) and have chased after other lovers (foreign gods).
In verses 15 – 16, the Lord spells out the discipline that will happen to His people because of their waywardness. Judah’s ancestors had pledged their loyalty to the Lord many centuries ago (Exodus 19:4-8). Now, after many generations, the people of Judah had walked away from the Lord. The same bitter taste the Lord experienced by His people rejecting Him would be the fate of the citizens of Judah. They would get a dose of their own medicine, described as “bitter food and poisoned water” (v. 15). Also, the people of Judah would be scattered to other nations and no longer allowed to live in Judah (v. 16).
May we walk with the Lord and pray for revival in our nations so that we can say with the Psalmist, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…” (Psalm 33:12a).
May we remember and heed Paul’s wise words:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 NIV)