CLICK HERE to read Jeremiah 8.
In this chapter, Jeremiah addresses those who of Judah who think they can do what they want without suffering consequences. He explains that they have sinned, and that they have chosen their consequences. Even though the Savior offers our “birthright” inheritance, even already providing the atonement, and even though the gift is freely ours and waiting – we still have to accept it. When we do accept it, our lives will be changed by it and the evidence given – the “fruits” of our changed spirits (see Galatians 5:22, 23) – as a token of our faith. The people of Judah were not living obedient lives, and the evidence of their sin had stacked against them.
The people have so rejected the ways of the Lord that they no more follow righteous kings, honor the priesthood, or follow the prophets (verse 1). Though the Lord promised them posterity like the stars in the sky, the people have forfeited His blessings by rejecting His covenant (verse 2). Instead of being held in honor, they will be shamed by all who know them when they are testified against (verse 3).
The Lord says even in this dire state, the people still have the choice to return to Him (verse 4). But the people continue to backslide, moving away from Him instead of returning to Him (verse 5). The Lord says that He has been ready and waiting for them, but the people will not repent, and instead do their own thing and choose consequences instead (verse 6).
Jeremiah compares the people to the animals, saying the people are not as in tune or insightful as even the animals are. Instinctively, the animals know their seasons, but the people do not recognize that they have earned the consequences for their sin (verse 7). They think they are wise and innocent, and yet have strayed from the Lord and listen only to false prophets (verse 8). The true prophets are ashamed of them, and grieve that the people will not hear the words of the Lord (verse 9).
Because of this, the Lord says He will give their rewards and blessings to others, even delivering the people’s consequences by taking what they do still have and giving it away – even their wives and families and properties (verse 10). The false prophets teach the people to be happy and at peace, while the Lord is warning them they are in danger (verse 11). But the people do not even recognize that they have sinned, and are not even the least bit ashamed (verse 12). The people have chosen their sins, and so the Lord must deliver their consequences and they will lose all the blessings He has given them (verse 13). He calls out to them, asking them why they are sitting still, just letting this happen, instead of assembling and gathering to mourn their sin and repent as individuals and communities (verse 14). He points out their folly of thinking they are at peace when nothing good is happening around them, and thinking they are healthy when they are about to lose everything (verse 15).
And everything they will lose, because they will not listen to Him, and their consequences are already on the way. The army coming against them has already begun to march, destroying everything in its path (verse 16). They will not be able to bribe their way out of this, and no political tactics will appease them (verse 17).
The Lord grieves, and Jeremiah grieves with Him. They only want the people to turn back to God so that He can rescue them and restore them, but they will not (verse 18). Even when He is disappointed in them and angry about their bad behavior, He still loves them and waits for them (verse 19).
He still loves us, and waits for us.
But for the people of Judah, their time of repentance is past (verse 20). The Lord is astonished that the people chose destruction over the deliverance He could provide (verse 21). He grieves that the people do not want healing, do not want happiness, and do not want to be restored to all the blessings He waits to give them (verse 22).