Chapter 7--Jeremiah has been instructed by God to go to the Temple gates (in Jerusalem) and to prophesy to the people of Judah. Some of the things that he is to tell them are:
- Amend your ways and your doings (v.3)
- Do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, & the widow (v.6a)
- Do not shed innocent blood...or follow after other gods (v.6b)
- Go to Shiloh and see what happened to them for disobeying God (v.12)
- You gather wood, knead dough, and offer cakes & drink offerings to false gods...and have provoked me to anger (vv.18-19)
Jeremiah is to boldly proclaim all the evils of the people! He is not to pray or intercede for the people, because God will not listen to those prayers. The people have refused to obey God, and truth has vanished from their mouths. Therefore, God is going to judge them.
Note: As God is telling Jeremiah to say these things to the people (especially the religious leaders in Jerusalem), I can imagine what may be going through his mind. "They are going to stone me!" In fact, that is exactly what happened to Stephen when he spoke boldly to the Jews concerning Jesus (Acts 7). The people were so incensed by what he said to them (even though it was all true)...they stoned him!
There is coming a time (and it may already be here) when Christians in America will be called upon to speak the truth...at the risk of severe persecution (maybe even from their own churches).
Chapter 8--God continues telling Jeremiah what to say. He accuses Judah of "backsliding!" He describes their condition in the following manner:
- They hold fast to deceit
- They refuse to return to God
- No one repented of his wickedness (saying, "What have I done?")
- Everyone has turned to his own course
- Everyone has given to covetness
- From the prophet to the priest everyone deals falsely
As the chapter concludes (vv.18-22), Jeremiah mourns over the words God has given him to speak. "I would comfort myself in sorrow; my heart is faint in me...Is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the healt of the daughter of my people? (v.18, 22)
Chapter 9--Jeremiah continues his mourning for Judah. He wishes that he could weep for them night & day. But then he wishes that he had a lodging in the wilderness whare he could escape from all his people. (Oftentimes, that is what I want to do when things get tough! Just let me get away from all the troubles. "Calgon, take me away!")
God tells Jeremiah to pass on to the people that they should not glory in wisdom, might, or riches...but in Him!