5 “Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say: ‘Sound the trumpet throughout the land!’
Cry aloud and say: ‘Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!’
6 Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay!
For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction.”
7 A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out.
He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant.
8 So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the Lord has not turned away from us.
9 “In that day,” declares the Lord, “the king and the officials will lose heart, the priests will be horrified,
and the prophets will be appalled.”
Today we remain in chapter four in a section titled Disaster from the North which continues to the end (verse thirty-one). The disaster was going to come from a conqueror from the north who is a destroyer of nations. It’s because of the fierce anger of the Lord who was clearly upset with the condition of the hearts of the king and officials.
The anger of the Lord was a result of continued worship of idols or idolatries. In spite of the Lord’s anger he offered a way out for Jerusalem. What would they have to do to be saved? They would have to change their hearts to be saved. Their hearts would have to be the source of the changes.
14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?
In case they do not wash the evil from their hearts judgment is coming, a judgment so that pierces to the heart!
18 “Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment.
How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!”
The vision of this punishment was so painful to Jeremiah he said the following about his own heart.
19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart!
My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent.
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry.
It is a terrible responsibility to be prophet for God when the prophecies include disaster after disaster upon the land and people you love in spite of all their faults. But as a faithful servant of God Jeremiah never turned away from the words God gave him to speak.
We can be so grateful for the gospel in the New Testament about how Jesus Christ paid for our sins and how we are permitted to escape punishment if confess our sins and make Jesus the Lord of our life.