Hear and pay attention, do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings the darkness, before your feet stumble on the darkening hills. You hope for light, but he will turn it to utter darkness and change it to deep gloom. If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord ’s flock will be taken captive. Say to the king and to the queen mother, “Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads.” The cities in the Negev will be shut up, and there will be no one to open them. All Judah will be carried into exile, carried completely away. – Jeremiah 13:15-19
Jeremiah continues his conversation with God about the coming darkness that will befall the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Light and darkness have come up before but this reference sounds almost more like the new testament. God is calling the people on their arrogance toward Him.
When one is faced with a coming darkness it is encouraging to know that light will return. Each day the sun sets and we endure the cold and darkness of the night. It would be a very different thing if we knew that the onset of darkness had no clear ending. That is where the people of Judah and Jerusalem find themselves. They see an impending sunset but have lost sight of the subsequent sunrise.
The passage then turns to tears over the recalcitrance of the people, “If you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord ’s flock will be taken captive.” As I read this it sounds like the “I” in this sentence is Jeremiah, but it could also be God. I am not sure it matters for the meaning as I think Jeremiah shares God’s grief for the people.
Both God and Jeremiah are “soul sick” over the people’s descent into darkness. They have chosen the path they are on and it will take great hardship and pain to convince some of them to return: “Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads.” The cities in the Negev will be shut up, and there will be no one to open them. All Judah will be carried into exile, carried completely away.”
I am struck by the last part of that description “All Judah will be…carried completely away”. I think in a sense the people were jumping into the arms of their future captors by taking on their idols and customs and not obeying God’s commands. This trap is ready to ensnare all those who lose sight of the light and pursue paths that lead to darkness. But the snare has now been broken by God Himself when He came to lead us out of darkness into the light. We have but to faithfully follow Him.
Prayer: God help us to reject the paths that lead to darkness and follow You into the light.