In these passages, we continue to see Jeremiah bravely speaking the truth as inspired by God. Unfortunately, the news is full of doom and sorrow for the evil deeds and disobedience of Judah. He was essentially a “whistle- blower” of his time; never a job that makes a lot of friends. Furthermore, he was surrounded by false prophets who preached their own version of the “truth” which was not of God, as noted in Jeremiah 23:35-36: “This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: ‘What is the Lord’s answer?’ or ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ But you must not mention ‘the oracle of the Lord’ again, because every man’s own word becomes his own oracle and so you distort the words of the living God.”
The phrase “every man’s own word becomes his own oracle” really jumped out at me as I read this passage. I know sometimes I am guilty of creating my own reality, my own versions of right and wrong to justify or excuse behaviors that are not of God. As in Jeremiah’s time we too are surrounded by false prophets, and often those “prophets” are ourselves! That’s why it is so important to remain in God’s word and surround ourselves with people who are committed to do the same. Sometimes the truth might make us uncomfortable, might expose our sin, but we cannot each make our own rules. If we are to become more like Christ, we must rely on the absolute truth that has been revealed to us in the Bible. We need to “blow the whistle” on our own shortcomings and stop pointing a finger at the sins of others.