I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world (John 17:14).
Jeremiah continues to faithfully preach God’s words to Judah. He warns them of Babylon’s invasion (chapter 13) and he describes the drought that will ensue (chapter 14). And then God, knowing Jeremiah’s compassionate heart, tells him not to pray:
The Lord said to me: “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence” (Jeremiah 14:11-12).
Jeremiah is devastated.
Have you utterly rejected Judah?
Does your soul loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us? (Jeremiah 14:19)
And Jeremiah prays for the people anyway! He repents on behalf of the nation. He asks God to remember His covenant. Just as Moses and Samuel had interceded for the people, Jeremiah asks God to save the people for His name’s sake (Jer. 14:20-21). But God will not relent. His mind is set on judgment. It is the only way to bring true repentance from his people.
And then Jeremiah’s life goes from bad to worse. The people of Judah begin to treat him as a debtor and his life is in danger (Jer. 15:10). Jeremiah cries out to God, accusing Him of abandoning him just as He had abandoned Judah. But God will not be accused of wrongdoing! He condescends to Jeremiah and assures him…
I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
declares the Lord.
I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless (Jeremiah 16:20-21).
God will not cast off His faithful. We learn from Jesus’ high priestly prayer that God is passionate about the lives of his disciples. He keeps them, He guards them, He sanctifies them, and most of all He loves them.
As we read Jesus’ prayer in John 17 – we can have confidence that, unlike Jeremiah’s prayer for Judah, God listened to Jesus’ prayer for us. We are his children, and He keeps us, He sanctifies us, and most of all, He loves us!