Pastor Steve Ellison
Jeremiah 2:1-8 is Jeremiah’s first message to Israel. It has just a few words of narration by Jeremiah but the vast majority of the passage is directly from the mouth of God. Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth, The love of your betrothals, Your following after Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown. 3 “Israel was holy to the Lord, The first of His harvest. All who ate of it became guilty; Evil came upon them,” declares the Lord.'” (NASU) Israel was designated by the Lord as His mission to the nations of the world. Verses 2-3 indicate that early in its history, Israel was walking closer to the Lord and being more faithful to their faithful God. They were under the protection of God who punished those who attacked or mistreated Israel.
Verses 4-8 reveals Israel’s failure to persevere in obeying the Lord, Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord, “What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me And walked after emptiness and became empty? 6 “They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and of pits, Through a land of drought and of deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed And where no man dwelt?’ 7 “I brought you into the fruitful land To eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land, And My inheritance you made an abomination. 8 “The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me, And the prophets prophesied by Baal And walked after things that did not profit. (NASU) Israel would have to be chastised, disciplined, and punished because of their lack of faithfulness to the Lord.
In verse 5, God once again posed a rhetorical question, which He really needs no answer to What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me And walked after emptiness and became empty? Obviously, the children of Israel found no injustice in the Lord. He is always and forever just. Therefore, since they can have no complaint whatsoever against the Lord, they can have no valid reason for walking away from Him. God also points out that they sought for emptiness and found it. The Israelites did not dredge their memories to seek out the blessings and the Blesser from their past. They did not remember and celebrate the past faithfulness of God to their forefathers. Instead, they treated God’s past protection with contempt as they worshiped and followed the worthless works of their hands.
In verse 8, God specifically names three sets of leaders who were given authority to lead but did not. The priests who were supposed to teach the knowledge of God to the people did not remind the people of their covenant God. The rulers (literally shepherds) of the people were unable to correct the people because they were in need of correction themselves. The prophets who should have been busy proclaiming the word of God in the authority of God and thus reclaiming the people to the true worship of God instead were speaking the name of the idol Baal. To him whom much is given, much is required. If God has granted influence to you, please use it faithfully. His discipline awaits.