Jeremiah 6 describes what happens when people don’t seriously consider the results of their actions. The people of Israel paid no attention to God, but even as He held back His own righteous anger and continually spoke to them. Their hearts hardened and they found God’s words offensive. Jeremiah says throughout their society honesty and truthfulness couldn’t be found. They had no feelings of embarrassment or disgrace related to their rebellion.
Verse 16 is God’s final plea to stop and make better choices. Stand still. Look around. Ask how to live better lives. Then take the steps needed to be better people, people who demonstrate their love of God with their actions. Return to truth, because truth brings peace.
[Jeremiah 6:16-17 CSB] 16 This is what the LORD says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths, “Which is the way to what is good? ” Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But they protested, “We won’t! ” 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, “Listen for the sound of the ram’s horn.” But they protested, “We won’t listen! “
The last portion of verse 16 states their reply. “We won’t!’” We won’t stand and look. We won’t ask. We won’t listen. We won’t change. We don’t need to change. Everything is fine. We’ll keep doing things that way we are.
God reminds them of the watchmen stationed on the city wall who faithfully stood guard with a single mission. They sounded the alarm when danger was approaching. These sentinels were still on the wall and the enemy was on the way. The shofar was about to sound. God pleads with Israel to heed the warning. Their response? “We won’t listen!”
And, disaster struck and devastation came.
Dear Heavenly Father, Amos wrote that You do nothing without revealing Your counsel to Your servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7). Never let me forget the power of Your words. They created stars and filled our world with wondrous things. They quiet storms and they create storms. Everything hinges on Your words and Your voice. Help me hear and recognize Your words, no matter how they come to me. When I hear your voice, help me to stop and listen.