Jeremiah continues to rail against Judah and its leadership. He tells them of unspeakable horror that will be theirs. Babylonia will descend upon them out of the north and devastate their land. There will be famine and pestilence such that even those who are living will wish to die. It is a scenario that sounds like a Stephen King horror novel and this one will come true. Jeremiah's prophesies come true within just a few years.
God tells Jeremiah that as these things begin to happen the people will ask, "why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us?" Have you ever heard someone say something similar? How could a good God allow such evil to happen? Sometimes evil sweeps up the good and the bad, but remember that our good is only relative to the good of some other mortal. When our good is compared to the standard of God's good it is as filthy rags. And it is true as the Bible as state often, the sins of the father is often visited upon subsequent generations. A corrupt leader will take a state to a place where even the inhabitants of the state will suffer for the evil of the leader. Legalizing gambling, juice bars, nude dancing, legalizing the use of drugs may decriminalize, but God will still call sin a sin and the wages of sin, no matter what human society calls it, is still death.
Judah has been on a slippery slope for generations. the people have allowed corrupt leaders to lead them in false directions. The church is prophesying falsely and failing to speak against injustice and violence. The failure of these systems desensitize the populace to to God's calling for righteousness. The end comes and the cry goes up, "why me?" The why is found in the corruption of the nation and we suffer societally for the failure.
But even in pronouncing the sentence, God offers grace. (16:14-15) "However, the days are coming declares the Lord, when men will not longer say, As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt, but they will say, As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them. For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers."
As vile as Judah has become, God will not withhold his grace forever. He tells Jeremiah that the exile will not be forever and in fact in 60 or so years Judah will return from exile and be lead by Ezra in the restoration of the temple.
We must be the yeast of righteousness in our culture. We must overcome evil with our love. We must be the light that pushes the darkness away. We must be the church that holds the gates of hell at bay. We can, with the grace of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. But we cannot know the way without consulting with the one who is the way, the truth and the life. We must acknowledge our sin, accept God's ways as our ways and work unceasingly to encourage our families, communities and nations to do the right, work against injustice, tear down the idols that keep us from worshipping in Spirit and in Truth.
Have a great Sabbath!!