Therefore Yahweh says: Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will take it. The Chaldeans, who fight against this city, will come and set this city on fire, and burn it with the houses on whose roofs they have offered incense to Baal, and poured out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.
“For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have done only that which was evil in my sight from their youth; for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, says Yahweh. For this city has been to me a provocation of my anger and of my wrath from the day that they built it even to this day, so that I should remove it from before my face, because of all the evil of the children of Israel and of the children of Judah, which they have done to provoke me to anger—they, their kings, their princes, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned their backs to me, and not their faces. Although I taught them, rising up early and teaching them, yet they have not listened to receive instruction. But they set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to defile it. They built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through fire to Molech, which I didn’t command them. It didn’t even come into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”
As Jeremiah expresses his confusion, God responds by repeating what He had been saying. There are two phases to what God is doing, not just one. The first phase is what Jeremiah was now witnessing. Because Israel and Judah had made God so angry by their defiant sin, God was going to punish them using the Chaldeans and king Nebuchadnezzar. This was just the first phase of His plan, though. We look at the next phase in the next passage. Everything God has said will happen even though there are two extremes.
As I read through this passage, I thought of some things I would like to share. First, God says here that Israel and Judah never did anything right. Instead, they were just rebellious all the time. That sounds like a horrible thing to say. It sure seemed like they were doing good things some of the time, but God tells us that they weren’t. This is actually an important thing for us to consider. What this tells me is that the law of God didn’t save a single person in Israel. Even Moses, Aaron and David didn’t make the cut. I would argue that Elijah sinned when He ran away to the cave and complained that he was the only one left. If the law of Moses couldn’t save Moses and the Proverbs of Solomon couldn’t make Solomon wise, then how can there be hope for anyone? I believe that this is the question that God intends for us to start asking. We can’t expect the Proverbs to save us. We can’t expect to follow the Law and build a good relationship with God. The only provision that the Bible shows us is Jesus the Messiah. He was able to be wise and to follow the Law. If we come to Him, we can be saved.
I also noticed that God repeats certain sins He hates over and over again. I consider this to be a warning to other nations that practice the same things. God says here, again, that they burned their children to Molech. He says again that not only did He not command this, it didn’t even come into His mind! He calls it an “abomination!” Somehow, the people were thinking that sacrificing their children was actually a good thing that God approved of. As I write this, government officials are arguing that abortion is a right that must be protected by the government. In other words, sacrificing your children is a good thing that must be defended. Let it be known that God has not commanded these government officials to do this, neither has it come into His mind. It is an abomination and it causes the nation to sin.