Jeremiah 4:23-31

‘’The gospel is bad news before it is good news.’’

In verses 23-26 Jeremiah has a vision of the earth returning to its most primitive state (see Genesis 1:2). It is as if the Lord has ‘uncreated’ the earth, and ‘’the fruitful land’’ God had given His people exists no more (26).

‘’I looked at the earth- it was back to pre-Genesis chaos and emptiness. I looked at the skies, and not a star to be seen. I looked at the mountains – they were trembling like aspen leaves, And all the hills rocking back and forth in the wind. I looked – what’s this! Not a man or woman in sight, and not a bird to be seen in the skies. I looked – this can’t be! Every garden and orchard shrivelled up. All the towns were ghost towns. And all this because of GOD, because of the blazing anger of GOD.’’ The Message.

The last section of this chapter paints a picture of the enemy army wreaking devastation among the people while they desperately seek out potential refuge (29). The final two images make a shocking contrast. In the first (30), Jerusalem is portrayed as a gaudy prostitute. She hopes somehow to ‘seduce’ Babylon, but she will be destroyed by her desired ‘lovers’ (30). In (31) we see her as a mother dying in childbirth. It is all desperately sad, and, remember, totally unnecessary.

Again we find that amidst the dark night of a judgment scene, something of the light of hope begins to shine (27). Jeremiah will expand on this later on in the book. But Christians know that the only true and lasting hope is to be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith in His saving work on the cross a person can be delivered from God’s anger against sin and brought to experience the fullness of His love.

‘’The gospel is bad news before it is good news.’’ We must be brought to see how desperate our situation is before we will be prepared to reach out for the available cure.

At this time Judah was gravely ill.

Prayer: Thank you Lord that in your mercy you warn us and give the opportunity to turn back to you. May I not be blind or deaf to your Word.