“Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
And look now and take note.
And seek in her open squares,
If you can find a man,
If there is one who does justice, who seeks truth,
Then I will pardon her.
“And although they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’
Surely they swear falsely.”
O Lord, do not Your eyes look for truth?
You have smitten them,
But they did not weaken;
You have consumed them,
But they refused to take correction.
They have made their faces harder than rock;
They have refused to repent.
Then I said, “They are only the poor,
They are foolish;
For they do not know the way of the Lord
Or the ordinance of their God.
“I will go to the great
And will speak to them,
For they know the way of the Lord
And the ordinance of their God.”
But they too, with one accord, have broken the yoke
And burst the bonds.
Israel’s future was getting more grim by the minute. Jeremiah’s warnings continued, and yet, no one was listening. With destruction around the corner, Jeremiah wanted to find a glimmer of hope among the people. Surely there was someone still seeking God, even in the sea of sin.
Not a single righteous person could be found. Now, whether or not that was a literal statement, the fact remained that Israel was marked by unfaithfulness and injustice. The best Jeremiah could find among them were people who gave lip service to God, but weren’t actually faithful (v. 2). They spoke the truth with their words, but their actions didn’t match. Even though they had experienced God’s discipline, it had not resulted in their repentance (v. 3). Neither poor nor rich, educated nor uneducated—none were found faithful.
Reading these words from Jeremiah, we might recall Abraham’s conversation with God in Genesis 18 about Sodom. As God was going to destroy the cities for their utter depravity, Abraham pleaded for His reprieve if even a few righteous people could be found there. No one could be found in Sodom, and no one could be found in Israel to warrant a divine pardon. We are reminded here, not of any ability we have to earn God’s forgiveness, but of the utter despair we will find when we turn our back on Him. Despite opportunity after opportunity and endless warnings, Israel would not repent. The rampant injustice was indicative of deeper unfaithfulness. God’s grace was being offered, and they refused to receive it. In Christ, we are kept securely in our salvation. Our lives should reflect our constant dependency on God’s grace to forgive us.
● Do your actions match your words? Are your statements about your faith backed up by how you live your life? If not, where is the discrepancy?
● Is there anywhere in your life that you are refusing to turn toward God? A part of your life (even if it is small), that you refuse to surrender or repent? What needs to change?
● Ask the Lord to search your own heart and life, to see if there are any unrepentant or unrighteous tendencies within you. Acknowledge your constant need for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness.