Jeremiah 11

Jeremiah 11 has the prophet reminding God’s people of the importance of keeping the covenant which God made with them.  He has to deliver the difficult news that making the choice to disobey would be costly.  “Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. You shall say to them…. Cursed be the man who does not hear the words of this covenant….do all that I command you”.  Jeremiah has to deliver the truth that God simply promised that He would enforce the terms of the covenant.  It wasn’t optional for the people to decide whether they wanted to obey or not.  God expected and required obedience.

God kept His part of the covenant and delivered on providing “them a land flowing with milk and honey”.  He was faithful in blessing them with an abundant land as He had promised.  His people, however, failed to keep their end of the covenant.  They were off doing their own things and ignoring what they had committed to.  Now Jeremiah has to remind them of what was agreed to.  “Hear the words of this covenant and do them. For I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt,  warning them persistently, even to this day, saying,  Obey my voice”.

This isn’t rocket science, and looking back across the centuries it seems like a pretty good deal.  God promised to protect and bless, and He delivered. In exchange He asked for their obedience and to follow Him.  It’s what God desires from us today too – to love Him and walk in obedience with Him.  Jeremiah had to deliver the message that “they did not obey or incline their ear,  but everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart”.  Self gets in the way, then, and now.  We allow our own desires to push God aside.  “They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words.  They have gone after other gods to serve them”.

As humans we slide from our relationship with God to putting self in charge.  Sin gets in the way, and we allow things other than God to take control.  For Jeremiah, people didn’t want to hear what God had him say and they were conspiring to get rid of the messenger.  The people of Anathoth wanted him dead and this was his home town.  They told him “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand”.  Of course, Jeremiah ignored their threat and trusted God as he continued to speak God’s truth.  And God was faithful to destroy and punish the people from Anathoth by killing those who were threatening His servant.

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