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16th June

Jeremiah 4-6; Psalm 12

Bible in a Year
5 minutes
In this article
16th June

Jeremiah 4-6; Psalm 12

Bible in a Year
5 minutes


So far in Jeremiah we’ve started the book, looking at Jeremiah’s calling and accusation against Judah. The book of Jeremiah is a collection of messages and poems by the prophet Jeremiah, who was a prophet to Judah immediately before their exile. We read as God called Jeremiah to be his mouth pieces to Judah to weed out corruption and idolatry in Judah. The people would not listen to him, but his teachings would serve as a foundation for the people after they’d been exiled.

Jeremiah then started off focus on the people’s relationship with God. God had been the one who led them out of Egypt, but they quickly forgot that. The Israelites instead chose to worship other gods, essentially committing adultery against God. God pointed out that Deuteronomy made it clear if a man divorces his wife and she goes off with another man, she can’t then return to her first husband. In the same way, God couldn’t accept Israel back as his wife after all that she’s done.

Jeremiah then reflected on Israel after the split into two kingdoms; Israel in the north and Judah in the south. He used the metaphor of them being sisters who were both married to God. Israel continued to have affairs and chase after other gods, so God sent her away. But Judah didn’t learn from her sister’s mistakes. Instead, she started doing the same. So God gave her a warning. If she repented and turned back to him he would restore her. If not he would bring her to shame.

Jeremiah 4-6

Jeremiah calls to the people of Judah to repent. To turn away from their wickedness and once again put their trust in him. He then warns them that he is sending disaster from the north. This disaster will be like a lion laying destruction to Judah's cities. It will affect everyone all the way up to the kings and priests. No one will be safe. Judah are encouraged to wash their hearts, to remove all wickedness from their lives, to save themselves from this judgement.

Jeremiah then grieves and mourns Judah's destruction. He does not take delight in it. He hurts him to see the pain and destruction that is coming. The destruction that Jeremiah can see in his mind is so great it takes him back to before the world was made. It will be a decreation. Back to Genesis 1 when it was "without form and void" (Jeremiah 4:23). Back to when there was no sun or stars to give light. There will be no people or animals. Judah will be like a desert wasteland with no greenery, plants, or trees. Jeremiah accuses Judah of dressing up and doing her makeup like a harlot. Right up to the point of their destruction, they will try to flirt with and seduce the enemies that have come to destroy them, rather than repent and turn to God.

God sends Jeremiah out to look through Judah to find anyone who is righteous. Much like Abraham asking God to save Sodom for the sake of five righteous people (Genesis 18). But as Jeremiah looks, he can't find any. At first he looks amongst the regular, everyday people, but then concludes that these people are poor and uneducated. They do not know any better. So he then looks amongst the wealthy and the leaders but finds they are all wicked too. Because of this, God is justified in his destruction of the wicked.

Again Jeremiah reports to the people that a foreign nation is coming from the north that will come and consume the land and its people. But God will not completely destroy his people. Instead, he will send them off to serve a foreign people in their foreign land. This will all happen because of the wickedness in Judah. They do not fear God. They are a stubborn people that have forgotten the God that has given them many blessings, providing rain for them in season. 

The people set traps for one another. They do not judge justly, or care for the needy. And worst of all, their prophets prophesy falsely, saying things that are not from God. Jeremiah tries to warn the people. Disaster is coming to Jerusalem. He encourages them to flee the city so they might have a chance. For a people will soon come from the north to destroy the city.

God then encourages Jerusalem's destruction. He tells her enemies to come, cut down her trees and turn them into siege weapons to use against her. Jerusalem is a place of oppression that has cultivated wickedness. God points out that he has tried to warn his people, but they have scorned and ignored his words. At this point, he is tired of holding back his wrath against them. He will pour it out on them all; man, woman, or child, prophet, or priest. Every one of them has lived wickedly and will face their punishment.

God has encouraged them to seek his ways, the ways that he taught them to live many years ago so they may have life to the full. But they have refused to walk in them. They may continue to bring God sacrifices and offering, but they refuse to keep his law. And so God once again tells them that an army is coming from the north, bringing destruction.

Turning to Jeremiah, God calls him a tester and a refiner. Like a fierce fire that refines silver, Jeremiah's job is to burn away the corruption of the people so that only the pure remain. Unfortunately, the people are too corrupt, and so God has now rejected them, like a silversmith would reject a bad batch of silver.

Psalm 12

This psalm is attributed to king David and falls into the category of lament psalm. It follows the similar structure of a chiasm (where the passage reflects itself) that we’ve seen before.

A) Psalm 12:1 - A godly man ceases to be

B) Psalm 12:2 - People speak falsely

C) Psalm 12:3-4 - God condemns the wicked

C) Psalm 12:5 - God vindicates the righteous

B) Psalm 12:6-7 - God’s words are pure and truthful

A) Psalm 12:8 - The wicked continue to wander freely

The psalmist brings his complaint to God. It seems like there is noone godly left on earth. It’s like they’ve all disappeared. To the psalmist, it looks like everyone around them lies. They mean one thing and say another.

This leads to the psalmist’s big ask of God. Condemn the wicked for their evil. Cut off their tongues so they can no longer lie. For those that think this is a big gruesome, it’s important to remember this is poetry. The writer is using figurative language to ask God to stop the people from lying.

Having brought his request, the psalmist now declares his trust in God. Just as he has asked God to condemn the wicked, God will also vindicate the righteous. Those that are poor and needy will be protected and made safe.

In contrast to the lying words of man, God’s words are like silver. They are faithful and true. They can be trusted. God is not a liar and always keeps his word.

But then the psalmist ends by slipping back into focusing on his problems. Just as all the godly seem to have disappeared, the wicked seemed to be all around.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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