Then the LORD said [to Moses], “I have pardoned, according to your word. But truly, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD, none of the men who have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put me to the test these ten times and have not obeyed my voice, shall see the land that I swore to give to their fathers. And none of those who despised me shall see it. Numbers 14:20-23
When the LORD promises Jeremiah today that “Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle,” I’m reminded of the two other instances in which the LORD used these exact words. Each time – with Samuel, Manasseh, and now with Jeremiah’s generation – it was a warning of such tremendous upheaval that no one could doubt it was divinely ordained. It’s safe to assume that the LORD’s higher priority is the same here as it was in the days of Moses: one way or another, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.
In chapter 19 the LORD gives Jeremiah another object lesson: smash a flask before the elders of the people, for “So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended.” Though it was now under a puppet ruler and many of its ruling class had been exiled, Jerusalem was still intact. The nation survived, even as a vassal of Babylon. But it would not last.
Resistance to this proclamation will fill the coming chapters. When Jeremiah takes his message to the steps of the Temple, in chapter 21, Pashur the priest beats him, and puts him in stocks. This drives Jeremiah into another lament, grieved that whenever he cries out “Violence and destruction!” he hears many whispering: “Denounce him! Let us denounces him!”
It’s no wonder that he sees terror on every side. Yet listen closely, for in the midst of his grief, the prophet will sing.
Our verse for this week is Lamentations 3:22-23: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Jeremiah 19 through 21. Now let’s read it!
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.