Time and Again We’ve Betrayed God 14 1God’s Message that came to Jeremiah regarding the drought: 2“Judah weeps, her cities mourn. The people fall to the ground, moaning, while sounds of Jerusalem’s sobs rise up, up. 3The rich people sent their servants for water. They went to the cisterns, but the cisterns were dry. They came back with empty buckets, wringing their hands, shaking their heads. 4All the farm work has stopped. Not a drop of rain has fallen. The farmers don’t know what to do. They wring their hands, they shake their heads. 5Even the doe abandons her fawn in the field because there is no grass— 6Eyes glazed over, on her last legs, nothing but skin and bones.” 7We know we’re guilty. We’ve lived bad lives— but do something, God. Do it for your sake! Time and time again we’ve betrayed you. No doubt about it—we’ve sinned against you. 8Hope of Israel! Our only hope! Israel’s last chance in this trouble! Why are you acting like a tourist, taking in the sights, here today and gone tomorrow? 9Why do you just stand there and stare, like someone who doesn’t know what to do in a crisis? But God, you are, in fact, here, here with us! You know who we are—you named us! Don’t leave us in the lurch. 10Then God said of these people: “Since they loved to wander this way and that, never giving a thought to where they were going, I will now have nothing more to do with them— except to note their guilt and punish their sins.” The Killing Fields 11God said to me, “Don’t pray that everything will turn out all right for this people. 12When they skip their meals in order to pray, I won’t listen to a thing they say. When they redouble their prayers, bringing all kinds of offerings from their herds and crops, I’ll not accept them. I’m finishing them off with war and famine and disease.” 13I said, “But Master, God! Their preachers have been telling them that everything is going to be all right—no war and no famine—that there’s nothing to worry about.” 14Then God said, “These preachers are liars, and they use my name to cover their lies. I never sent them, I never commanded them, and I don’t talk with them. The sermons they’ve been handing out are sheer illusion, tissues of lies, whistlings in the dark. 15“So this is my verdict on them: All the preachers who preach using my name as their text, preachers I never sent in the first place, preachers who say, ‘War and famine will never come here’—these preachers will die in war and by starvation. 16And the people to whom they’ve been preaching will end up as corpses, victims of war and starvation, thrown out in the streets of Jerusalem unburied—no funerals for them or their wives or their children! I’ll make sure they get the full brunt of all their evil. 17“And you, Jeremiah, will say this to them: “ ‘My eyes pour out tears. Day and night, the tears never quit. My dear, dear people are battered and bruised, hopelessly and cruelly wounded. 18I walk out into the fields, shocked by the killing fields strewn with corpses. I walk into the city, shocked by the sight of starving bodies. And I watch the preachers and priests going about their business as if nothing’s happened!’ ” 19God, have you said your final No to Judah? Can you simply not stand Zion any longer? If not, why have you treated us like this, beaten us nearly to death? We hoped for peace— nothing good came from it; We looked for healing— and got kicked in the stomach. 20We admit, O God, how badly we’ve lived, and our ancestors, how bad they were. We’ve sinned, they’ve sinned, we’ve all sinned against you! 21Your reputation is at stake! Don’t quit on us! Don’t walk out and abandon your glorious Temple! Remember your covenant. Don’t break faith with us! 22Can the no–gods of the godless nations cause rain? Can the sky water the earth by itself? You’re the one, O God, who does this. So you’re the one for whom we wait. You made it all, you do it all.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About