“Run to and fro through the streets,
look and take note!
Search her squares to see
if you can find a man,
one who does justice
and seeks truth,
that I may pardon her.
Though they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’
they swear falsely.
O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?
You have struck them down,
but they felt no anguish;
you have consumed them,
but they refused to take correction.
They have made their faces harder than rock;
they have refused to repent.
“How can I pardon you?
Your children have forsaken me
and have sworn by those who are no gods.
When I fed them to the full,
they committed adultery...
They were well-fed, lusty stallions,
each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.
“[They] have been utterly treacherous to me,
declares the Lord.
They have spoken falsely of the Lord
and have said, ‘He will do nothing;
no disaster will come upon us,
nor shall we see sword or famine.’
“Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes, but see not,
who have ears, but hear not.
Do you not fear me? declares the Lord.
Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.
They do not say in their hearts,
‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives the rain in its season...’
“They have grown fat and sleek.
They know no bounds in deeds of evil...
Shall I not punish them for these things?
declares the Lord,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?
“An appalling and horrible thing
has happened in the land.” Jeremiah 5:1-3,7-8,11-12,21-24,28-30
It is a sad thing to harden your face. What was once soft to conviction and malleable to correction becomes rigid, unyielding, unrepentant. Eyes that see and ears that hear become blind and deaf. Truth is tainted by falsehood, humility is swallowed by pride, compassion and justice are conquered by self-interest and -promotion. Reason becomes foolishness, worship becomes treachery, discipline turns to reckless indulgence, and accountability to God morphs to fear of man. And God will not be mocked. (Galatians 6:7; 1 Peter 1:16)
He who puts limits on the sea also limits our rebellious living. We either yield to His softening waves of mercy and Spirit-conviction and repent, or we suffer the consequences. The beautiful reality this side of the cross is that the justice of His righteous wrath has been borne for us by Jesus at Calvary, and God’s call in grace today is, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What a Savior! (1 John 1:9)
Where have I stiffened my face, in bitterness against another, in rebellion to God’s standards, in flaunting His gifts as my own desert, and seen the poison spread?
Lord, break my heart with what breaks Yours. Identify and remove any inward treachery. May all my life be repentance, and glory to You. (Martin Luther)