Jeremiah 6

Jeremiah 6
by Pastor David Groendyk

This is the horrific outcome of Judah continuing to ignore God’s warnings and calls to repent. This is also exactly what God had predicted many times would happen when his people continue in sin. One instance of this is in Deuteronomy 28. If the people of God would not be careful to obey all God’s commands, curses would fall upon them. Crops, cattle, wombs, physical health, mental health, houses, freedoms, home country, and reputation would all be lost. The people would lose their Promised Land and lose the protection of God if they continued to forsake him. Roughly speaking, the warnings of Deuteronomy 28 were spoken around 1400 BC, and the words Jeremiah is speaking now are around 600 BC. That’s 800 years of God’s people being reminded of these punishments and evils, and yet they still didn’t listen.

The covenant that God had made with his people now being broken, God rejects his people and pours his wrath out on them. War, violence, and destruction were coming. An enemy nation from the north (Babylon) would march up to Jerusalem and overtake the city. Homes would be destroyed, family members would be ripped away from each other and killed, and all that they knew and loved would be taken away. Although the false prophets and ungodly priests continue to say, “Everything is fine” (vv. 13–14), there is nothing left to do but mourn (v. 26).

One of the repeated themes throughout these chapters has been the shamefulness of sin. Judah never once felt ashamed of their abominations, never once blushed at the atrocities they committed (v. 15). This is an important reminder about sin. Sin ought to be embarrassing, humiliating, shameful, disgusting, and dishonoring in our sight. It’s not something to shrug off or take lightly. We ought not merely to feel like we’ve missed a mark or been in error or come up just short when we sin. Sin makes us dirty. It should make us feel uncomfortable. It should cause us to blush. I don’t say that to make us all masochistic or despairing, but to say that if sin does not make you feel dirty and uncomfortable, then perhaps your spiritual sensitivities have been dulled or you don’t understand what sin really is. But, again, that dirtiness should not drive us to despair. The good news of God’s salvation is that, though your sins be like scarlet, he makes them white as snow (Isa. 1:18). What a beautiful reminder of God’s grace! There is no dirtiness or uncleanness that God cannot remove. There is no stain that God cannot cleanse. If you feel shame because of your sin, don’t let that drive you from God. Just the opposite! Let it drive you to the only God who can truly cleanse you.

This is the message Judah has ignored. They do not feel any shame, and they are not driven to find cleansing in God. Rather, they continue to renew their sins (v. 7). It’s a good reminder that God doesn’t pour out his wrath on this people just because they sin; he pours out his wrath on them because they refuse to repent of their sin. They’re “stubbornly rebellious” (v. 28). It is prideful impenitence that leads to destruction. When God sends warnings, listen to them. God had tried to refine and purify this people and bring them back to himself through other trials and hardships, but Judah would not return (vv. 27–30). When we hear the imagery of precious metal being refined by fire, I would bet most of us think of 1 Peter 1:6–7 where God sends trials to his people to purify their faith and cause them to trust more fully in him. But the same fire that purifies gold consumes lead (v. 29). When passing through the fire, Judah shows itself to lack the precious faith necessary for salvation. They are rejected and consumed. It’s a warning for us that when trials come our way, how we respond to them reveals our spiritual character. Whoever refuses God’s call to repent will face his wrath, but whoever turns to him in faith seeking salvation in Jesus Christ will be delivered from that wrath.