The word ‘faces’ in the Bible is often used as a synonym for ‘minds’, such as when “the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face” (Exodus 33:11). We see this today in Jeremiah. The prophet is complaining bitterly to God about the attitudes of mind he sees around him.
“O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?” (5:3). But He does not find truth! God brings trouble on them, “but they felt no anguish … they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent”. Jeremiah thinks there will be a different attitude among the rich, but there is not! “they are all alike … they have no sense … they do not know the way of the LORD” (verses 5,4).
We find these attitudes of mind today. The people “‘have been utterly treacherous to me’, declares the LORD. They have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us’” (verses 11,12). Today, mature educated people sense the world’s future is going to be increasingly difficult, but they do not recognise it is a Creator who will cause this, or make it worse.
Jeremiah is told to “Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah … Do you not fear me? Declares the LORD … your sins have kept good from you … They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice … Shall I not punish them for these things? … shall I not avenge myself …” (verses 20,22.28,29). And God did avenge Himself in the horrible destruction of the Temple and of all Jerusalem.
The chapter ends with a question we should ask ourselves. After observing “my people love to have it so” God asks, “but what will you do when the end comes?”. Do you know what you will do, for our world is similar in many ways to Jeremiah’s.
God’s word alone provides the answer. How “hard” is your “face”? Only our daily reading will enable us to absorb that answer – and the more we join together to discuss and understand God’s word, the more that answer will become clear.
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