Jeremiah 8

Jeremiah 8 Devotional
by Pastor Mark Hudson

             There are some popular verses in this chapter.  But before I point those out, these verses remind me of an advantage Bible readers have.  I hope you visit art museums or read literature other than the Bible at times.  What is your advantage?  When you walk into an art museum you understand many if not most of the Biblical stories and characters.  You can identify the major and minor characters and what prompted the action depicted.  Secular people or non-Bible readers have no clue.  Biblical themes can sometimes be 40% or more of the themes shown in museums.  It is also true with literature and the allusions past authors make.  Written in stone, the prodigal son, scapegoat, etc. are all things you understand.

Here are the verses you probably know just in this chapter:

  1. ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
  2. they did not know how to blush.
  3. Is there no balm in Gilead?

Look at verses 5-6  “Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 . . . no man relents of his evil, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turns to his own course, like a horse plunging headlong into battle.”   They hold fast, they hug deceit.  Instead of questioning their behavior and slowing down their sin, they rush ahead headlong with reckless abandon without giving second thought to their sin.

Verse 10 is such a damning indictment of their culture and land, “from the least to the greatest everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely.”  We have seen Jeremiah observe that all classes of people are in rebellion (Jer 2:8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.)   We want the police, our pastor, a teacher, a judge, someone to be just and honest.  But God looks across the land and He says, “everyone deals falsely.”

Verse 11 should be well known to you, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”  You know the saying that a pastor is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  Here the prophet is comforting people when he should be warning them with serious and sober words so they will run to God for mercy.  I would hate to be those prophets when they face God.

When you read some of the prophet’s writing you might think they are exaggerating.  For instance this verse, “12 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush.”  But if you have never read this book, you just will not believe people can be this rebellious and obstinate.  Once again, stop and think about our culture.  Do you think that verse describes our culture?  What we are proud about, what we celebrate is embarrassing.   Listen to the words of popular music, watch popular dances (well, actually don’t!), watch the tv shows that everyone is talking about (again, do not!).  That verse describes us.  And the thing that grieves me so much is how much we export to other countries.  Hollywood, musicians, etc. make so much money from foreign exports.  How that ought to grieve us.

In verses 18 and 21 we see why Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet.  “18 My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me.  21 For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me.”

Jeremiah reminds us that grieving and mourning is an appropriate spiritual response to rampant sin.  We should not laugh at everything.  While we don’t want to be sad sacks, we cannot watch, read, do all the things others do.  We cannot laugh at the misfortune of others.  We don’t think the way the world does.  One cannot love the world’s values and ways and love the kingdom of God.  Some-times, we ought to join Jeremiah in weeping over our sins and our nation’s sins.