In Jeremiah 6:16, God’s plea to Israel is clear. It’s straight, to the point, the way you talk to someone in deep trouble. And it begs the question, How did Israel get to this desperate spot?
One clue is found in Israel’s response to God’s instructions. (Jer 6:16) They refused to listen. Previous verses indicate they were much like rebellious teenagers. They hated hearing their Heavenly Father’s voice. Their hearts were hardened. They weren’t embarrassed of their sin and rebellion.
In verse 14, God summarizes the root of the problem. They were broken and wounded, and the wound had not been treated properly. A band-aid was put on and they tried to ignoring the problem hoping it would go away. They comforted each other with “Don’t worries. Everything will be okay.” They lied to each other.
[Jeremiah 6:14 CSB] 14 They have treated my people’s brokenness superficially, claiming, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.
But how did it get so bad? Hadn’t there been someone to warn them? Of course, God sent prophets to warn them that they were headed the wrong direction. And the enemy sent his own messengers. These words were easier to hear. The enemy told them that their disregard for God wasn’t a problem. He told them not to worry about impending doom, peace would be had by all. He promise that nothing needed to change. He lied to them.
And they listened to the wrong voice. This was not the first time they had listened to the wrong voice. Each time, when they chose to put a band-aid on it and listen to the wrong voice, their hearts grew sicker and sicker, hardening so much that hearing was affected.
Even today those voices continue to speak. Decisions and choices are made. Hearts are either healed or made sicker. Peace is either gained or missed.
[Hebrews 3:7-11 CSB] 7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers tested me, tried me, and saw my works 10 for forty years. Therefore I was provoked to anger with that generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known my ways.” 11 So I swore in my anger, “They will not enter my rest.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for not editing out the hard things to read in the Bible or the stern words You sometimes spoke. You always speak truth and You can always be trusted. You show us a better way. Teach me to listen to Your voice and obey Your voice. Your words may be hard to hear, but they are truth and life. The alternative is decay, disaster, destruction, and death.
Thank you for not treating my wounds superficially. You took great pains to heal them and You freely offer healing when I listen to Your voice. We all are broken and have heart problems. I am broken. My mind and heart fight daily to align with Your voice and Your words. Hope for peace only comes as I allow You to heal me. I need daily check-ups! Forgive me for listening to other voices. Help me not to flinch and flail as You do Your good work in me.