"An Appalling and Horrible Thing"
It was written by Jeremiah, a prophet to lived in another time and in another land. He was speaking out against the corrupt leaders of the land, and the people to whom moral and spiritual corruption no longer mattered. Jeremiah, guided by God's Spirit, said, "An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and priests rule by their own authority, and My people love to have it so! But what will you do at the end of it?" (Jeremiah 5:30,31).
Earlier, God had chastised the nation's leaders and its people with these words: "Why should I pardon you? Your sons have forsaken Me and sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the harlot's house. They were well fed lusty horses, each one neighing after his neighbor's wife. 'Shall I not punish these people,' declared the Lord, 'and on a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself?'" (Jeremiah 5:7-9).
Because of this great travesty, the Lord said, "So the house of Israel is shamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests and their prophets." (Jeremiah 2:26).
Some points to consider: First, the people were no longer holding their leaders accountable on issues of morality and character. At one time they would have, but no more. When this change of attitude occurred, the nation was doomed to be led by the unscrupulous, the dishonest and the depraved. But, after all, these leaders sure did know how to have a good time! Isn't that what is important?
Second, though the Lord had richly blessed the nation in the past, because of its present immorality and lack of spirituality, He was withdrawing His care. The prosperity of the nation would soon be lost, indeed, already it was beginning to decline. Greed and selfishness had replaced nobler ideals when character issues no longer mattered to the people.
What were the religious leaders doing through all this? They were as much involved in the disloyalty to God and His laws as were the secular leaders. They would voice their support of the immoral, and ridicule Jeremiah and others who called for a return to God's laws. They were false prophets and corrupt priests, called upon to support ungodliness of all kinds. Smooth words and flattering lips typified the popular sermons of the day. Blatant sin was ignored.
Jeremiah said the nation was shamed because of these matters. Well, all this took place centuries ago, in another time and place. Aren't we fortunate to live in our own time and place where such events and circumstances are so far removed from us? Yeah, right.
By Jon W. Quinn
The Final Page
From Expository Files 5.3; March 1998