This passage in Jeremiah reminds me of Jesus' love and concern for the city of Jerusalem. On two separate occasions, Jesus expressed His desire to rescue the people, but they were not inclined to seek His help. He says in Luke 13:34, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!" Luke 19:41-42 tells us, "And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, 'Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes."
God says the same thing of the people of Israel in Jeremiah's day. In verses 4-5, the LORD declares these people to be obstinate. His three questions essentially ask, "Why do these people who obviously continue making wrong decisions refuse to change direction? Why do they hold so tightly to a lie and refuse to return to me?"
In verse 6 He says, I have listened to them, and all I hear is a lie. This verse also provides a great insight into repentance. The NLT says "Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, 'What a terrible thing I have done?' No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!" Repentance requires the realization of what a terrible thing I have done! To rebel against the Sovereign Lord of the universe is a terrible thing. This rebellion brings horrible consequences just as Jeremiah 8 describes.
The people of Israel accepted false prophets who perverted God's word but rejected His spokesmen, whether Jeremiah or Jesus. They not only rejected them but put many to death. Jewish tradition holds that Jeremiah was stoned and Isaiah was sawn in half. We know what was done to Jesus. Those who knew the way of peace were spurned while the false prophets treated the rebellion of the people as if nothing was seriously wrong as if there was peace.
Notice the reaction of the both Jeremiah and Jesus. Jeremiah said, "My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me...I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me." (Jeremiah 8:18-21) Scripture records Jesus weeping over the death of Lazarus, in the Garden of Gethsemane and over Jerusalem. Even though the prophets of the LORD were rejected, abused and put to death, their hearts were broken for the people to whom they were sent.
Lord Jesus, Balm of Gilead, You are the real physician. You restore health to the people! You are the Peace of Jerusalem. You are the One who brings healing in His wings.
Entrance into this marriage feast, the wedding of the King's Son, requires appropriate attire. Attendees of the marriage supper of the Lamb are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 61:10 says "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness." Zechariah 3:3-4 says, "Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, 'Remove the filthy garments from him.' And to him, he said, 'Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments." Galatians 3:27 (NLT) says, "All who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes."
Thank You, Jesus, not only have You called me, You have clothed me. My filthy rags for Your righteousness; what a trade of which I am unworthy. Thank You. I look expectantly for the day of the marriage supper of the Lamb.