What do people love today? Are there parallels today with the people of Jeremiah’s day? God said, “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land; the people prophesy falsely and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so” (5:30,31).

Why would the people love it this way? In earlier verses we read more of God’s complaints about the attitude that had developed among His people, “They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God’” (verse 24). They had not appreciated that He provided the “rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain”. They were taking God’s blessings for granted. God says He sees, “their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich” (verse 27).

There are so many parallels with attitudes in this 21st Century. Human nature has not changed in 2,500 years! Wealth is built by clever dealing or trading and less of it is the result of honest labour. Even worse there is no fear, that is, no awe of God, the great Creator. As we have quoted, “the priests rule at their direction”. Today, politicians in many countries gain power and keep it by promising to give what the people want and pass laws that allow all sorts of behaviour.

Consider the spiritual scene. It is tragic today that many who see themselves as being in the service of God bring a false message to those who hear them, such as ‘your loved ones who died are still alive, they are in heaven looking down on you’. They also say, ‘God is totally a God of love, He always forgives whatever you do that is wrong – once saved you are always saved’.

Jeremiah laments about those who “have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said of God, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us …’” (verse 12). In tomorrow’s chapter (6) we will read, “Thus says the LORD … Hear, O earth, behold I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words” (verses 16,19). May we all pay more attention to God’s words.