10 This is what the Lord says about this people:
“They greatly love to wander;
they do not restrain their feet.
So the Lord does not accept them;
he will now remember their wickedness
and punish them for their sins.”
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people. 12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”
13 But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’”
14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them, their wives, their sons and their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.
(Jeremiah 14:10-16 NIV)
From yesterday’s passage, the Lord acknowledged the drought taking place (verses 1 – 6). The people responded in seeming repentance and humility but then demanded the Lord make the problem go away (verses 7 – 9).
In today’s passage, we see the Lord address the hearts of the people of Judah, calling out their feigned response of brokenness and confessions. As soon as the drought were to go away, the Lord knew that the people would go right back to their idolatrous practices and turn their backs on Him.
In verse 11, the Lord tells Jeremiah not to pray for the people of Judah. The Lord had told Jeremiah not to pray twice before (see 7:16 and 11:14) – this was the third time the Lord had told Jeremiah. Was Jeremiah previously disobedient and prayed and the Lord was reminding him again? Or was this another interim time when the Lord told Jeremiah to suspend his prayers on behalf of the people? We don’t know, as Scripture does not say.
The Lord then reiterates the triple threats of war, famine, and plague in verse 12. These three disciplinary measures were often used to bring God’s enemies to justice, and to humble His people to the point that they returned to their relationship with Him.
In verse 13, Jeremiah asks a question about the message of the other prophets. Tender-hearted Jeremiah wants to know why the Lord is bringing such severe punishment on the people of Judah when the other prophets are saying “all is well.” Did Jeremiah misunderstand the Lord and the other prophets were correct in their prophecies?
In verses 14 – 16, the Lord clears up Jeremiah’s doubts. The Lord disavowed any association with either the prophets or their words. In fact, the Lord said that these false prophets would be the first to perish by the very things they prophesied. The people who falsely put their faith in the prophets instead of the Lord would then follow the same fate as the prophets. Only when they saw the bodies of their loved ones tossed onto the streets like yesterday’s trash will they realize they have been deceived, and it is too late.
May we be so focused on the Lord that we stay His course and do not wander from the sound of His voice.
May we always seek the Lord and discernment from His Spirit, to know what is from Him and what is said in God’s name but is not from Him.
May we have the courage to live counterculturally, to resist the tidal wave of public opinion and the noise of modern culture and follow the Lord regardless of the consequences.