Jeremiah chapter 6                        Back to Bible Studies

In verse 1 Jeremiah takes great care to warn the people of his own tribe and those of his own home town of Tekoa to leave Jerusalem as it is going to be destroyed. It is interesting to note that in the original Hebrew script Jerusalem is referred to in verse 6 as the 'City of visitation'. The NIV simply has 'The city must be punished'. However, a 'visitation' from God has a much more spine-chilling ring to it. How would we do right now if God had to 'visit' our lives?

Verse 7 introduces a very important theme in our study of the chapter. "...As a well pours out it's water..." This immediately calls to mind two scriptures in the New Testament. In Matthew 15:18-19 we read “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.” and in John 4:14 we read: ...but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  In these passages Jesus uses the imagery of a well or a source from which sinful or praiseworthy deeds spring. It is clear that sinful deeds are in fact just the result of a sinful heart and that is what needs to be addressed. The same idea is expressed here in Jeremiah 6. God further describes the nation's condition in verse 7 as a 'sickness' which speaks of an underlying cause and not just a symptom.

In verse 10 when referring to the hearer's ears, we have the word 'uncircumcised' in the original Hebrew text (the NIV has 'closed'). What does it mean to have 'uncircumcised' ears or as we read elsewhere in Scripture, 'uncircumcised hearts'?. On the one hand we have the circumcision in the flesh done by the hands of men as part of the old covenant. In Colossians 2:11 we read "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ..." This circumcision then clearly has to do with the removal of sin. This links very strongly with the thread that we have been following in the chapter before us. When we look at verse 14 the picture becomes even clearer. There the prophets and priests are said to 'dress the wound of the people lightly', implying again that the remedy that is brought to bear is only skin deep and superficial, while the problem lies much deeper. It lies with hearts that are full of deceit, greed, lust and evil while on the outside the people still continue their 'religion' and bring offerings to God as we can see in verse 20.

Very much like the prophets and priests that we read about in this chapter of Jeremiah, many ministers today bring a feel-good superficial message but altogether avoid confronting the sin in people's hearts. They 'dress the wound but lightly'. As a result deceit, greed, lust and a host of other evils firmly remain in people's hearts even as they merrily go about worshipping, praying, leading bible studies or doing community service in the name of Christ.

What was God's answer to all this in Jeremiah's time? He sends disaster and a refining fire to show up what is truly in the hearts of His people and as the bellows blow fiercely (verse 29) it is revealed that they contain nothing but dross, that there is no precious metal inside, and they are subsequently rejected. Dear friends let us ask God to bring us into that refining fire sooner rather than later, to cleanse us and purify us completely inside and out. Only in this way will our wound and our sickness be addressed properly and will we become fountains of love, joy and peace and bring glory to His name as He indwells us.       

© 2011 Werner Schreiber

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