Time For Some Punishment

Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD,
the people have been deceived by what you said,
for you promised peace for Jerusalem.
But the sword is held at their throats!”
The time is coming when the LORD will say
to the people of Jerusalem,
“My dear people, a burning wind is blowing in from the desert,
and it’s not a gentle breeze useful for winnowing grain.
It is a roaring blast sent by me!
Now I will pronounce your destruction!”
Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds!
His chariots are like whirlwinds.
His horses are swifter than eagles.
How terrible it will be, for we are doomed!
O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart
that you may be saved.
How long will you harbor
your evil thoughts?
Your destruction has been announced
from Dan and the hill country of Ephraim. (Jeremiah 4:10-15)

How could Jeremiah tell God that he had deceived his people? Was he calling God a liar? Not at all. Instead, he was pointing out that the people of Israel had only listened selectively to what God had said. They comforted themselves with God’s promises of blessing and conveniently ignored what they had to do to get them. And they forgot the promised curses that were inevitable for disobedience.

Like a cheating husband telling his betrayed wife, “but you said you would love me and honor me and always be there for me, in sickness and health” when she serves him with divorce papers, so the Israelites seemed unable to wrap their heads around how the bad things they were facing could have anything to do with how they had betrayed God. Just as God had promised peace for Jerusalem, so he had also promised its destruction: it was up to the Israelites which promise they were going to get. People tend to believe only what they want to believe.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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