Jeremiah 9 has the prophet lamenting about his sorrow over the people’s failure to walk with God and thus bringing judgment upon themselves. “Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the desert a travelers’ lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them”! Jeremiah knows what lies ahead, and gives us an image of the sadness in his heart – that of weeping nonstop because ot the sin of his people.
They are going to pay a huge price for their choices. God is not pleased and reminds Jeremiah “they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, declares the Lord….they refuse to know me….I will refine them and test them, for what else can I do”. God is at the end of His rope because His people are mired down in living in evil and they are deceived of what will happen to them. God’s plan for each of us is to refine us and make us like Himself. The heat and melting of refinement was certain and to come. And the purpose was also certain – not to destroy, but to refine and ultimately to purify.
God doesn’t get joy from punishing us. But His character and very nature require it. “Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this”? The people of God had allowed the world to pull them away from the things of God to the point they were no different than any other nation. We must be careful not to fall into that same trap. Being a Christ Follower should make us different. Their problem can easily become ours if we are not intentional and diligent to follow Christ. “They have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them”. When self gets on the throne of our life, bad things happen and we follow the wrong things.
Jeremiah warns what we need to be careful to avoid: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Man wants to board about power, wisdom and riches. God wants us focused on love, justice and righteousness. The world has it all wrong and points us toward the wrong things. We must learn to stay focused on what matters to God, and avoid the things the world tells us are important. We must follow God’s heart!