“This city must be punished” (Jeremiah 6:6). Judah refused to listen to God’s word. So now Jeremiah, using the authority God gave him over nations, commissioned Babylon to attach the Holy City. Because the word of the Lord was offensive to the people of Judah, the city must be punished.
“Stand at the crossroads and look” (verse 16). The invitation here is a call to consider, with echos of Psalm 1. The “ancient paths” represent the ways laid down in God’s Law. These are good ways, for when a person walks in them he or she “will find rest for your souls”(Matthew 11:28)
Jeremiah now outlined the consequence of the only other choice available. One must either walk in the ancient paths, or strike out to find a new path for himself. Yet the new paths offer no one rest. Instead, as we peer with Jeremiah down the alternate highway, we see in the distance clouds of dust raised by marching men. We see the sun glinting on the points of spears, and hear the thunder of hooves as cavalry approach in battle formation. And suddenly we are gripped by fear, for we realise that along that road judgment rushes to meet us.
How thankful we can be that we have chosen the good way, the ancient way, and that we walk in it. Keep walking in it. Don’t be tempted to move off from the path.
There are two important applications to note in our reading of this passage. First, Christ identified Himself with “these brothers of mine” who live on earth. What we do to meet the needs of others is not just done “for” Christ, but in a significant sense, to Him.
Second, as disciples of Jesus who do hunger and thirst, we can take comfort that Christ shares the experience with us. He does not just watch, but participates.
Both the righteous, who help the brothers of Jesus, and the wicked, who do not, were surprised when the basis of their judgment was explained. Just as we may be surprised when Jesus returns to learn how deeply He was involved in our every experience.
Yet, if we tune our hearts and minds to what Jesus teaches here, a great and wonderful peace will come. We truly are not alone, whatever suffering we experience and comes our way, we can know that Jesus is with us. In his presence we can find comfort and peace.
Have a great day,