- Jer. 3:6-5:13
Today's reading contains the first exchange of Jeremiah and GOD over the punishment He will hand down to His children Judah. Jeremiah challenges GOD regarding His message and GOD explains:
10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Surely You have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, Saying, ‘You shall have peace,’ Whereas the sword reaches to the heart.” 11 At that time it will be said To this people and to Jerusalem, “A dry wind of the desolate heights blows in the wilderness Toward the daughter of My people—Not to fan or to cleanse— 12 A wind too strong for these will come for Me; Now I will also speak judgment against them.”
(Jer. 4:10-12 NKJV)
In the course of this reading we gain valuable insight into how GOD feels regarding the punishment He will send upon His children. He absolutely hates it. He can barely endure seeing their suffering because of His great love for them. See what He says:
18 “Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!”
(Jer. 4:18 NIV)
Jeremiah follows these statements by GOD with his own laments:
19 O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried, For the whole land is plundered. Suddenly my tents are plundered, And my curtains in a moment. 21 How long will I see the standard, And hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 “For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.” 23 I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. 25 I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. 26 I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were broken down At the presence of the LORD, By His fierce anger.
(Jer. 4:19-26 NKJV)
GOD does not enjoy or get any pleasure out of the punishment of His people. But He does it anyway because He knows (in His infinite wisdom) that discipline is necessary to bring about the repentance that is needed in order for His people to have a relationship with Him. Sin must be punished.