The people of Judah reached a very disturbing place. They tried God’s patience for hundreds of years, and now they had reached the end. God declared judgment on them; a judgment from which He would not relent.
15:1 – Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth.
Both Moses and Samuel were great prophets of Israel. Many times they not only proclaimed God’s word to the people, but also stood between the people and God’s wrath. In times past, when God had declared judgment, He had allowed His prophets to intercede on the people’s behalf in order to demonstrate His mercy. But not this time. No one would be allowed to persuade God from what He had decided to do. Jeremiah actually tried to intercede a few times, but God said no. The people would be allowed to continue down their path to destruction.
15:2 – And it shall be, if they say to you, “Where should we go?” then you shall tell them, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.’”
Jeremiah’s message from God was for the people to continue doing whatever they were doing; to let them go in the direction they were going. If any of the people actually listened to the message and happened to ask what that destination was, Jeremiah was to lay it out for them in no uncertain terms; the destination was either death or captivity.
Death would occur either by sickness, by sword, or by famine. Those who survived all of those would be taken away captive by an invading army. In any event, they had lost the privilege of living in the land of Israel. God was fulfilling the word He spoke to Moses regarding the consequences of not obeying Him.
15:3 – “And I will appoint over them four forms of destruction,” says the LORD: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy.”
God goes into more gruesome detail regarding the means of death. Whether the people were slain by the invading army, or died as a result of sickness or famine, or were attacked by wild beasts, no one would be around to bury them. Their bodies would be food for dogs, scavenger birds, and other wild animals.
The Bible tells us that God is very gracious and full of mercy in His dealings with His people. He does this because He loves us and wants what is best for us. But God is also holy and completely righteous. His patience has limits for He cannot abide evil.
Don’t make the mistake of the ancient Israelites. Keep your focus on Him to reap the benefits of His blessings and not the consequences of His wrath.