The people’s failure to listen to Jeremiah

Zedekiah brought before the one who conquered Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar

You’d think after foreign powers have taken over Jerusalem, taking with them a great number of your own, you might then start to listen to Jeremiah. Jeremiah had been telling about the coming destruction and how it is the judgment of God. But no one listened. But Jeremiah was right.

I figured in reading through this that having shown his prophetic merit, the people would listen when in chapter 42 Jeremiah warns the remnant to remain in the land and not flee to Egypt. He says:

If you will remain in this land, then I will build you up and not pull you down; I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I relent of the disaster that I did to you.

But after all they’ve experienced, do they listen? No. Time and time again the people do not listen to God through his prophet, and ignoring God’s word is never a wise decision.

Looking back to Hosea and the motivation of prophets

This fits with last week’s readings, but I thought it’d be worth writing about.

Hosea is a startling story. It is unique in what the prophet is called to do, not just say. He is to marry a whore, and his relationship of faithfulness to an adulterous spouse parallels that of God’s love for his adulterous people. And that still applies to us now, to his church. It reminds me of a song by Derek Webb called “Wedding Dress.” He writes about the church’s tendency to look for something more than Christ, to find satisfaction outside of him. But this is a propesterous idea given that Christ has given us all we need. He even gave his very life.

Listen to the song below:

If you want to hear his explanation for the song, you can find it here. I’d mention this as some context–he doesn’t write and sing about the church and its sin as some third party observer. He acknowledges that he is a part of it and he is sinful, too. He doesn’t speak in condemnation of the church, but in rebuke that comes from love. We must still love the things that God loves, including the church, but that then leads us not to accept such faults, but to work for its restoration.

That is what the prophets do, as well. They love God’s people and because of such love they desire greatly for their repentence.*

*Jonah is a bit odd here since he is a prophet to a people he doesn’t love, but that’s a problem that we’ll talk about next week.