We’re only three chapters into our study of the book of Jeremiah, and already we can see that the prophet, and the God who “puts the words in his mouth,” used very strong language. Jeremiah employed shock tactics to capture the attention of God’s people. As he said the nation had allowed herself to be “ravished,” he coined an obscene word for sexual violence. It’s a disturbing image but an appropriate one: temptation offers fun, but when we allow habitual sin to take root in our lives, we end up defiled.
Jeremiah’s language is graphic because of the deception sin carries. Despite her multiple sins, Judah was brazen, as if her actions were normal and carried no consequences. This is especially challenging for us, because we’re living in a culture where increasingly immoral behavior is touted as being normal. “It’s just the usual way to live,” the subtle whisper suggests. “Everyone’s doing it.”
We forget that God has different standards. Jeremiah points us to the truth that, if we’re not careful, we can drift on, never learning from the disastrous decisions of others or the failures in our own lives. The southern tribes of Judah had been given the opportunity to learn from the mistakes made by the northern tribes of Israel and the sentence that had fallen as a result a century earlier.
But instead of turning away (the word occurs eighteen times in this brief Jeremiah passage), they ambled on. Is God desperately trying to get our attention, calling us away from lifestyle patterns and choices that are nothing less than disastrous?
Pray: Startle me when I drift, Lord. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Amen.