The Message

Jeremiah 14

Time and Again We’ve Betrayed God

11-6 God’s Message that came to Jeremiah regarding the drought:

“Judah weeps,
    her cities mourn.
The people fall to the ground, moaning,
    while sounds of Jerusalem’s sobs rise up, up.
The rich people sent their servants for water.
    They went to the cisterns, but the cisterns were dry.
They came back with empty buckets,
    wringing their hands, shaking their heads.
All the farm work has stopped.
    Not a drop of rain has fallen.
The farmers don’t know what to do.
    They wring their hands, they shake their heads.
Even the doe abandons her fawn in the field
    because there is no grass—
Eyes glazed over, on her last legs,
    nothing but skin and bones.”

7-9 We know we’re guilty. We’ve lived bad lives—
    but do something, God. Do it for your sake!
Time and time again we’ve betrayed you.
    No doubt about it—we’ve sinned against you.
Hope of Israel! Our only hope!
    Israel’s last chance in this trouble!
Why are you acting like a tourist,
    taking in the sights, here today and gone tomorrow?
Why do you just stand there and stare,
    like someone who doesn’t know what to do in a crisis?
But God, you are, in fact, here, here with us!
    You know who we are—you named us!
    Don’t leave us in the lurch.

10 Then God said of these people:

“Since they loved to wander this way and that,
    never giving a thought to where they were going,
I will now have nothing more to do with them—
    except to note their guilt and punish their sins.”

The Killing Fields

11-12 God said to me, “Don’t pray that everything will turn out all right for this people. When they skip their meals in order to pray, I won’t listen to a thing they say. When they redouble their prayers, bringing all kinds of offerings from their herds and crops, I’ll not accept them. I’m finishing them off with war and famine and disease.”

13 I said, “But Master, God! Their preachers have been telling them that everything is going to be all right—no war and no famine—that there’s nothing to worry about.”

14 Then God said, “These preachers are liars, and they use my name to cover their lies. I never sent them, I never commanded them, and I don’t talk with them. The sermons they’ve been handing out are sheer illusion, tissues of lies, whistlings in the dark.

15-16 “So this is my verdict on them: All the preachers who preach using my name as their text, preachers I never sent in the first place, preachers who say, ‘War and famine will never come here’—these preachers will die in war and by starvation. And the people to whom they’ve been preaching will end up as corpses, victims of war and starvation, thrown out in the streets of Jerusalem unburied—no funerals for them or their wives or their children! I’ll make sure they get the full brunt of all their evil.

17-18 “And you, Jeremiah, will say this to them:

“‘My eyes pour out tears.
    Day and night, the tears never quit.
My dear, dear people are battered and bruised,
    hopelessly and cruelly wounded.
I walk out into the fields,
    shocked by the killing fields strewn with corpses.
I walk into the city,
    shocked by the sight of starving bodies.
And I watch the preachers and priests
    going about their business as if nothing’s happened!’”

19-22 God, have you said your final No to Judah?
    Can you simply not stand Zion any longer?
If not, why have you treated us like this,
    beaten us nearly to death?
We hoped for peace—
    nothing good came from it;
We looked for healing—
    and got kicked in the stomach.
We admit, O God, how badly we’ve lived,
    and our ancestors, how bad they were.
We’ve sinned, they’ve sinned,
    we’ve all sinned against you!
Your reputation is at stake! Don’t quit on us!
    Don’t walk out and abandon your glorious Temple!
Remember your covenant.
    Don’t break faith with us!
Can the no-gods of the godless nations cause rain?
    Can the sky water the earth by itself?
You’re the one, O God, who does this.
    So you’re the one for whom we wait.
You made it all,
    you do it all.

King James Version

Jeremiah 14

1The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the dearth.

Judah mourneth, and the gates thereof languish; they are black unto the ground; and the cry of Jerusalem is gone up.

And their nobles have sent their little ones to the waters: they came to the pits, and found no water; they returned with their vessels empty; they were ashamed and confounded, and covered their heads.

Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.

Yea, the hind also calved in the field, and forsook it, because there was no grass.

And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.

O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, do thou it for thy name's sake: for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against thee.

O the hope of Israel, the saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night?

Why shouldest thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save? yet thou, O Lord, art in the midst of us, and we are called by thy name; leave us not.

10 Thus saith the Lord unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the Lord doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.

11 Then said the Lord unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.

12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.

13 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.

14 Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.

15 Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.

16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

17 Therefore thou shalt say this word unto them; Let mine eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease: for the virgin daughter of my people is broken with a great breach, with a very grievous blow.

18 If I go forth into the field, then behold the slain with the sword! and if I enter into the city, then behold them that are sick with famine! yea, both the prophet and the priest go about into a land that they know not.

19 Hast thou utterly rejected Judah? hath thy soul lothed Zion? why hast thou smitten us, and there is no healing for us? we looked for peace, and there is no good; and for the time of healing, and behold trouble!

20 We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee.

21 Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.

22 Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O Lord our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.