Jeremiah 6 has our prophet making clear the fury of the Lord as he declares “disaster looms out of the north, and great destruction”. Judgment is coming and there will be destruction. The attacks will come in daytime and at night. The enemy will camp outside the walls and wait for the opportunity to destroy. God reminded Judah that time was running out. Even though this judgment would not come for many years, it is indeed coming, and it was time to recognize it and be prepared to be judged.
God is going to take action. He can’t tolerate sin. “Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I turn from you in disgust, lest I make you a desolation, an uninhabited land”. God warns His people through Jeremiah. But even within the announcement of judgment is an invitation to receive the wisdom of God and avoid the threatened punishment. They can still come back to Him and be freed from the coming judgment. But they refuse to make that choice and insist on doing it all their own way.
What’s the problem with people listening and hearing God? “Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it”. We can sense Jeremiah’s frustration here; he speaks, but no one listens. The ears of the people are not spiritual, and they regard God’s Word as something to be ashamed of and avoided. They have no interest or intent on listening to God or His messenger, the prophet. They are focused on self and their own desires. It is the same issue we have as people today as we put self on the throne and push God aside.
God gives them direction on how to turn things around in their lives. “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls”.
- To benefit from the ancient paths, God told them to position themselves
- To benefit from the ancient paths, God told them to look for them
- To benefit from the ancient paths, God told them to ask for them, to desire them
- To benefit from the ancient paths, God told them to see them as the good way
- To benefit from the ancient paths, God told them to walk in it – to actually obey and follow God as indicated by His word and work in days gone by
So God proclaims a coming judgment on His people through the prophet. “Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it”. It’s coming because of their choice to embrace sin and reject God’s warning and offering to repent and turn back.