Lately I have been studying the Old Testament book Jeremiah during my quiet time with the Lord. While reading through the sixth chapter the fourteenth verse really jumped out at me. As I sat in my office I couldn’t get this verse off of my mind. So I decided to share my thoughts.
They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. – Jeremiah 6:14 NASB
Jeremiah is often called the weeping prophet, and for good reason. Much of his writing has to do with the judgement and wrath of God and is delivered through a form of writing known as a lament. His smaller canonized work even bears the name, “Lamentations.” Jeremiah lived during an incredibly tumultuous time in Jewish history. He was a prophet before and during the conquest and exile of the Jews to Babylon. It seems to me that Jeremiah was uniquely qualified among his contemporary prophets to use the word. The NASB uses the word brokenness but the transliteration for the Hebrew word is sheber. It means a fracture, something ruined; an affliction, breach, bruise, destruction, hurt, or vexation.
So what is Jeremiah 6:14 referring to as brokenness? A number of things come to mind. Among them is the moral bankruptcy of the time. God established the Law for His people to live by and, as I discussed in my last post, many clergy of the day had manipulated it to suit their own ends. Through study of the various Old Testament prophets it becomes readily apparent that much of God’s judgement which led to the Babylonian exile is a direct result of the Jews’ national moral depravity. I also believe brokenness refers to their state of being both during the conquest, and after the exile. Obviously I’ve never lived through such a time, and find it difficult to imagine; but the conquest and siege which preceded the exile led to a truly volatile time in Israel. A time in which both morality and morale were at a terrifying low.
Jeremiah witnessed mothers boiling their own children to avoid starvation. What kind of brokenness do you see around you today? What kind of fractured morality seems to be becoming the norm?
My prayer today is that God would open our eyes and hearts to those around us. Not only so that we would be aware of the state of things; but that so we would be able to reach out and lovingly help those who are headed toward, or are already lost in, brokenness. Unlike the prophets and priests of Jeremiah’s time, let us with compassion and selflessness shower and guide people in a way that truly directs them toward God, the only one who can actually “heal their brokenness.”
See the rest of the series here.