Jeremiah 4: Beyond Return
Jeremiah chapter 4 is tragic. It is important to remember that Jeremiah was a prophet who really did not get listened to very much. In this chapter, he predicts that in the invaders coming from the north who had already done a lot of damage to the Gentile nations. In other words, Babylon was coming, and there was not an awful lot that the people could do about it.
Jer 4:21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?
Jer 4:22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
Jer 4:23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.
Jer 4:24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.
Jer 4:25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
Jer 4:26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.
Jer 4:27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.
Jer 4:28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.
It had come to a point where there was going to be domination no matter what. That makes verse 28 particularly interesting. God was not going to turn back from what had been put in place. I think that the immediate response from you and I is of great concern. What if all of the people repented? Wouldn’t God call off the punishment? That verse seems to imply that He wouldn’t.
I think that it is important to go back to verse 22 to appreciate the perspective here. The people have not repented, and they are not going to repent. Compare this to the story of Jonah and Nineveh. God was going to destroy Nineveh, but the people did repent. It is not that God changed His mind, but that was the original deal. If they repent, they will be saved. God knew that they would repent.
In the case of Israel, God already knew that they would not repent. Again, because He knows the future, God knew they would not repent, so the judgment was coming no matter what. God was not going to hold back because He is a God of justice.
This is a tragic story for the people of Israel. They had fallen so far that God knew that they would not return to Him. Even with dire warnings like this one, it is hard to believe that the people missed it.