Day 18 Jeremiah 2:2b-27 ... National Adultery

Zephaniah was not the only prophet active during King Josiahâs days. Just as Josiah was reaching adulthood, the doleful voice of Jeremiah began to be heard in the streets of Jerusalem. Later, Jeremiahâs messages were collected into a book that is the Bibleâs longest, and easily its most passionate. Jeremiah was subject to violent swings of mood, and his book reflects that same emotional temperament. The English word Jeremiad, which means "a long complaint," conveys something of his tone.

This chapter, full of strong images and rhetorical blasts, typifies Jeremiahâs style. He uses sexual imagery to present Judahâs crisis as a king of loverâs quarrel between God and Judah. She is like a prostitute who lies down under every spreading tree; like a rutting she-camel; like a donkey in heat driven wild with desire.

But what is the object of Judahâs desire? Incredibly, she is trading the glory of God for worthless idols of wood and stone. She is exchanging a spring of living water for a leaky well. God, the wounded lover, cannot comprehend his peopleâs actions, and neither can Jeremiah.

Jeremiah had two main complaints against Judah: She prostitute herself both through idol worship and through alliances with foreign nations. When a military threat loomed, Judah turned to empires like Assyria, Egypt, or Babylon for help, not to God.

Josiah, one of Judahâs all-time best kings, led a mostly successful campaign to rid the nation of idols. But even Josiah succumbed to the temptation of foreign entanglements. Against Jeremiahâs counsel, he thrust himself into international politics by leading an ill-advised march against Egyptian armies. Josiah died in that battle, and his death shocked the nation. A grieving Jeremiah wrote laments in honor of the king.

Judah would never recover from Josiahâs fatal mistake. Egypt installed a puppet king over Judah, and from then on no one had the ability to rally Judahâs religious or political strength. Jeremiah lived through the reigns of four weakling kings, and the messages collected in this book heap scorn upon them.

Point to Ponder: To whom do you show the most consistent loyalty? Are you loyal to God?