Jeremiah 4:18-22

‘’Break my heart for what breaks yours.’’

Here are three simple thoughts from today’s reading:

  • The prophet weeps (19a): Jeremiah has come to be characterised as the ‘weeping prophet’. In ‘Jeremiah’ and ‘Lamentations’ we get a number of insights into his heartbreak over the situation. What breaks our hearts? Do we care about sin and how it ruins lives and ravages nations and communities? Do not our all too dry eyes rebuke us? I remember many emotionally charged services and prayer meetings back in my teenage days. I often saw tears and heard crying. It was quite unnerving at times. But what moves us? Jeremiah felt things deeply: ’I’m doubled up with cramps in my belly – a poker burns in my gut. My insides are tearing me up, never a moment’s peace.’’ The Message. How much do you care?
  • The prophet sees farther (19b-21): He or she sees what’s around the corner and they announce it. It may not be popular. People may want to stop up their ears. But the prophetic men and women see the impending disaster caused by sin, and they warn that it will happen, unless there is repentance. But there is that hopeful note in their preaching too, that things don’t have to be this way. While speaking of the coming ‘flood’, they clearly point to the ‘ark’. Praise God for the faithfulness and endurance of the prophets.
  • The prophet sees the stupidity of self-destruction (22): He knows the folly of sin and that ‘’senseless children’’ bring the roof down on themselves. It’s important to note that in the Bible the word ‘fool’ often refers to someone who is both ungodly and immoral. The crazy element of sinful self-destruction comes across particularly well in The Message: ‘’What fools my people are! They have no idea who I am. A company of half-wits, dopes and donkeys all! Experts at evil but klutzes at good.’’ (By the way, this is the only place in today’s reading where the Lord speaks directly. But we must remember that Jeremiah’s own words in this book are also God’s. The Lord is always the ultimate ‘speaker’ in Scripture, whether He is doing so directly or indirectly.)

‘’Notice Jeremiah’s deep love for his people and also his faithfulness in conveying God’s stern message to them. In a sense, Jeremiah was standing between God and the people, suffering on behalf of both. In this, Jeremiah was a forerunner of Jesus, who became the Mediator between God and men, and who suffered to bring salvation to the world (1 Timothy 2:5).’’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary, p.1084.

Prayer: ‘’Break my heart for what breaks yours.’’ Help me, dear Lord, to see through your eyes and feel with your heart.