“Oh that my head were waters,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh that I had in the desert
a travelers’ lodging place,
that I might leave my people
and go away from them!
For they are all adulterers,
a company of treacherous men.
They bend their tongue like a bow;
falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land;
for they proceed from evil to evil,
and they do not know me, declares the Lord.
Let everyone beware of his neighbor,
and put no trust in any brother,
for every brother is a deceiver,
and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.
Everyone deceives his neighbor,
and no one speaks the truth;
they have taught their tongue to speak lies;
they weary themselves committing iniquity.
Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit,
they refuse to know me, declares the Lord.
Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
it speaks deceitfully;
with his mouth each speaks peace to his neighbor,
but in his heart he plans an ambush for him.
Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?
I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
a lair of jackals,
and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation,
“Who is the man so wise that he can understand this?.. Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? ‘Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it… Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’” Jeremiah 9:1-6,8-9,11-13,23-24
A cold heart, barren of compassion or concern, begets relationship deserts. A mindset bent on conniving and manipulation is void of life-giving truth and constructive purpose. A famine of spiritual drink and Christian fellowship leads to dry, fruitless living. Whoring after the world and its pet idols leaves a wilderness of soul that rejects the Lord who created it, the only One who can fill its shape with zest and meaning. Rejecting the knowledge of the Lord and His good ways leads to empty living, and grieves Him Who made us for so much more.
There are desolate times that come upon us unwittingly, where we have no ability to diffuse the trauma, or hurt, or loneliness. But there are other situations where we can make a change, or a difference. Not every wilderness needs remain barren, but can become a place of hope and flourishing when we repent of our contribution. Will I forsake the treachery in my idolater’s heart? Every trace of disdain for others? Any deceit in appearance or speech?
Lord, may I daily understand You better. Transform my wildernesses into pure, fruitful lands, for the sake of Your delight and glory.