Removed as we are by more than two thousand years chronologically from Judah, and perhaps even further removed culturally and socially, it’s hard for us to understand all that was going on in the time of Jeremiah. When reading the Bible, especially the harsh warnings and threats that God uttered against the people, many people think that the Lord is portrayed here as harsh, mean, and vindictive. This, however, is a false understanding, based only on a superficial reading of the texts. Instead, what the Old Testament reveals is what the New Testament does as well: God loves humanity and wants it saved, but He does not force our choice. If we want to do wrong, even despite His pleas to us, we are free to do so. We just need to remember not only the consequences but that we were warned about them beforehand. What were some of the evils that the Lord was dealing with in Judah?
What were some of the evils Jeremiah was prophesying against? Jer. 23:14, 15; 5:26–31.
The litany of evils presented here is just a small sampling of what God’s people had fallen into. Both the priests and prophets were “godless,” an incredible irony considering that the priests were to be representatives of God, and the prophets to be spokesmen for Him. And this is just the beginning of the problems Jeremiah confronted.
The evils presented here come under a variety of types. There is the apostasy of the spiritual leaders; they also lead others to do evil “so that no one turns back from his wickedness” (Jer. 23:14, NKJV). Even when the Lord warns about coming judgment, the prophets tell them that it won’t come. Meanwhile, as far as they were from God, they had forgotten the admonition about taking care of the orphans and about defending the poor (Jer. 5:28). In every way, the nation had fallen from the Lord. So much of the Bible, at least among the prophetic books of the Old Testament, records the Lord seeking to call His wayward people back. That is, despite all these evils, and more, He was willing to forgive them, heal them, and even restore them. But if they refused, what else could be done?
Adventist Sabbath School Lesson for Adults Q4 2015 «Jeremiah» Lesson 5 – More Woes for the Prophet