Jeremiah is often referred to as the “weeping prophet”. This reading gives us a taste of that. He has spoken the words that God has placed within his heart. He has reminded the people of Israel of the faithfulness of God, who has redeemed and brought them to freedom over and over again. The one thing it seems God cannot or will not save them from is themselves. Jeremiah warns them that the direction they are headed as a people is a sure path to destruction. If only they would turn back to God, walk in God’s ways, turn outwardly and tend to the wellbeing of others, then surely God would protect them from the encroaching Babylonian empire. Instead of heeding his cry, the people reject and threaten him. And it breaks his heart to see the people he loves on the brink of self-imposed disaster. Like the ancient Israelites, we often reject others when they call us to examine our attitudes and behaviors. We become defensive when someone suggests our words or actions have caused harm. We would rather head down our own path of destruction than acknowledge and repent of our sin.
Can you think of a situation where someone made a decision that harmed them despite your advice? Were you able to provide some sort of healing balm for them or did you leave them to the consequences of their decision? How can we strike a balance between the two?
In prayer, lift up a person or group for whom you especially feel heartbroken.