Jeremiah 5:26-31

Make no mistake it, when rich and powerful people make their money on the backs of the vulnerable poor and needy, these are ‘’evil deeds’’ (28a). It angers God and it will incur His Judgment. When those who should ensure that there is justice for all, are prepared to sell it to the highest bidder, Heaven notices and will respond. For a time, wicked people may seem to get away with their wickedness, but it is only for a time.

‘’My people are infiltrated by wicked men, unscrupulous men on the hunt. They set traps for the unsuspecting. Their victims are innocent men and women. Their houses are stuffed with ill-gotten gain, like a hunter’s bag full of birds. Pretentious and powerful and rich, hugely obese, oily with rolls of fat. Worse, they have no conscience. Right and wrong mean nothing to them. They stand for nothing, stand up for no one, throw orphans to the wolves, exploit the poor. Do you think I’ll stand by and do nothing about this?’’ GOD’s Decree. ‘’Don’t you think I’ll take serious measures against a people like this?’’ The Message.

In Judah and Jerusalem in those days, a clear line could be drawn from the pulpit to the pew. What was going wrong in the community was linked to what had gone so badly wrong in ‘the church’. The preachers weren’t preaching the truth. There were time-servers and hirelings being appointed to the ministry. The leaders told lies and followed their own rules, in flagrant disregard of God’s Word. What’s more, the people ‘loved it’ that way (31b). It was right up their street. In the same way, it’s not unusual to hear some parishioners today rallying around a popular ‘priest’/minister who is living an immoral life, and doesn’t have much of a belief system. ‘But we love him (or her),’ they say. ‘He’s a great priest – so kind and loving, and fun to be around.’ There is very little challenge going to come to their lives from his life and words, if any at all: ‘’…and my people love it this way.’’ (31).

‘’Unspeakable! Sickening! What’s happened in this country? Prophets preach lies and priests hire on as their assistants. And my people love it. They eat it up! But what will you do when it’s time to pick up the pieces?’’ The Message.

‘’But what will you do in the end?’’ (31). That is such an important question. Where does all this lead? To a sick and broken society (‘’horrible and shocking’’ things happening in the land: verse 30), and ultimately to the devastation of judgment. Only Jesus can save us from such an end, and we need our pulpits to be filled with people who truly do believe and live the gospel. We need a band of faithful preachers who do not lie, but point to Jesus who alone is ‘’the way, and the truth, and the life.’’ (John 14:6). ‘’People need to think about the end of their lives; it will help them make better choices while they are living.’’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied Old Testament Commentary’, p.1086.

Prayer: Holy God, in your mercy, deliver us and protect us from an unbelieving ministry.