Bible Studies For Life
August 12, 2012
Candace K. Hardin
Baptist Health, North Little Rock
Jeremiah 8:4-13, 18-9:1
As God’s spokesman, Jeremiah exposed Israel’s lack of remorse and repentance over their lifestyle of “wickedness” (Jer. 8:6, NIV 1984). Instead of pursuing the way of the Lord, everyone chased after his or her own path to serve his or her own purpose.
But Israel didn’t see it that way. They protested, saying they were wise because they had “the law of the Lord” (Jer. 8:8).
God objected, saying in Jeremiah 8:8-9 (NIV 1984), “How can you say, ‘We are wise, for we have the law of the Lord,’ when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected God’s word, what kind of wisdom do they have?”
God continued His indictment against Israel’s scribes, priests and prophets, declaring they were greedy (Jer. 8:10), deceitful (Jer. 8:10), truth-twisters (Jer. 8:8, 11) and unconcerned (Jer. 8:11). God avowed they would fall among the fallen; they would be brought down.
The Israelite nation was sick with sin, separated from God and filled with selfishness. Jeremiah’s response was unusual for a prophet. He did not blame the people or rage at them, calling down fire and brimstone. He did not lament that the nation of God was beyond hope and help. Instead, Jeremiah looked to God and pleaded for the people, saying, “O my Comforter ... my heart is faint within me. Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away” (Jer. 8:18-19a).
Jeremiah identified with the lost Hebrews as he spoke for them before God: “Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me” (Jer. 8:21).
Since Israel was sick with sin, Jeremiah pleaded in Jeremiah 8:22, “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?”
Jeremiah teaches us to respond with sacrificial love and prayer to those whose lifestyles run counter to the way of God. Followers of Jesus are called to be a balm, spiritual physicians and healing agents in dealing with the sin-festered wounds of others. Like Jeremiah, may our hearts be broken for the world around us.