Jeremiah 14

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Read Jeremiah 14

Drought, Famine, Sword

14 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:

“Judah mourns,
    her cities languish;
they wail for the land,
    and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.
The nobles send their servants for water;
    they go to the cisterns
    but find no water.
They return with their jars unfilled;
    dismayed and despairing,
    they cover their heads.
The ground is cracked
    because there is no rain in the land;
the farmers are dismayed
    and cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field
    deserts her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass.
Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights
    and pant like jackals;
their eyes fail
    for lack of food.”

Although our sins testify against us,
    do something, Lord, for the sake of your name.
For we have often rebelled;
    we have sinned against you.
You who are the hope of Israel,
    its Savior in times of distress,
why are you like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler who stays only a night?
Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
    like a warrior powerless to save?
You are among us, Lord,
    and we bear your name;
    do not forsake us!

10 This is what the Lord says about this people:

“They greatly love to wander;
    they do not restrain their feet.
So the Lord does not accept them;
    he will now remember their wickedness
    and punish them for their sins.”

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people.12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry; though they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword, famine and plague.”

13 But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.’”

14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish by sword and famine. 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury them, their wives, their sons and their daughters. I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.

17 “Speak this word to them:

“‘Let my eyes overflow with tears
    night and day without ceasing;
for the Virgin Daughter, my people,
    has suffered a grievous wound,
    a crushing blow.
18 If I go into the country,
    I see those slain by the sword;
if I go into the city,
    I see the ravages of famine.
Both prophet and priest
    have gone to a land they know not.’”

19 Have you rejected Judah completely?
    Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us
    so that we cannot be healed?
We hoped for peace
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord,
    and the guilt of our ancestors;
    we have indeed sinned against you.
21 For the sake of your name do not despise us;
    do not dishonor your glorious throne.
Remember your covenant with us
    and do not break it.
22 Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
    Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
    Therefore our hope is in you,
    for you are the one who does all this.

Go Deeper

Jeremiah 14 opens with Jeremiah painting a picture of a drought-stricken land (v. 1-6). In an agricultural society, droughts were a matter of life and death. Even more problematic was the tendency for Judah and Israel to turn to Baal, the Canaanite god of weather, in seasons of drought as they searched for a quicker fix than the one, true God. This drift into idol worship only further perpetuated their problems in God’s eyes. Next, Jeremiah shows what it would look like if Judah really repented (v. 7-9). Reading through those words of repentance feels like the same kind of prayer we can (and should) pray today when we sin against a holy God. 

Notice the response from the Lord in verse 10: He says that the people “greatly love to wander; they do not restrain their feet.” Repentance in name only isn’t true repentance–it’s just an acknowledgment of wrongdoing. When we sin, we should feel conviction from the Holy Spirit. But conviction isn’t enough–we need repentance. Repentance is more than a simple apology for missing the mark; it’s a forsaking and turning away from sin and a further pursuit of holiness. 

David Guzik in his Enduring Word commentary says, “Repentance, confession, humility before God that is only in the mind (or heart) but not in genuine action to Him is of no effect. It must go beyond a feeling. The repentance described in Jeremiah 14:7-9 was wonderful, but not real.” We, like Judah, love to wander. We get distracted by the fads of the day. We idolize things that will give us fleeting satisfaction, even though we’ve been warned time and again to not fall for it. But we’re also given grace by a Father who loves to show mercy to his children (Micah 7:18-19). 

The chapter ends with a warning against the false prophets of the day. They were prophesying lies and were leading people astray towards sin and death. Jeremiah, brokenhearted over the situation, weeps and pleads with God on behalf of the people. In this we see Jeremiah’s heart for the people. Let Jeremiah’s words and actions serve as a reminder to us today of what it looks to be broken over the sin and wandering happening all around us.


  1. What stuck out to you on your first reading through this chapter? Why?
  2. In what ways do you “greatly love to wander”?
  3. How do you discern what is false vs. what is true?

Listen Here

Listen to this version of “Come Thou Fount”, an old hymn about God’s love despite our tendency to wander. 

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4 thoughts on “Jeremiah 14”

  1. A phrase in v9 stood out to me in this chapter,
    “we bear your name.” The people are experiencing God’s judgement due to their sin and rebellion against holy God. Their pleas do nothing to move the heart of God because they are meaningless words that have not moved them to repentance. While Israel was God’s special possession and could have experienced divine blessing, they instead chose to relentlessly chase after idols refusing to remain in relationship with him. As Christ-followers we also bear his name. Practically we acknowledge we are sinners, accept his payment as forgiveness for our sins, revere his name, saturate ourselves in his teachings, then live them out daily in our choices by the power of the Holy Spirit. We become “little Christs”. What a privilege to know we have been called out of darkness into his glorious light to be on mission with him!

  2. God told Jeremiah to step back and let the cookie crumble. For myself this is hard, I want to fix people. BUT GOD has told me also to step back. Look internally to mine and His walk, not at what I can never fix externally. I can pray until He says stop, I can love, I can give, speak God’s word and be hospitable but it is freedom of choice. Just like Jeremiah’s’ people, they had to make the choice. We will all go the shadow of the valleys but our God is protecting us even then as rely on Him. The key word is go=action of moving. Don’t stay and settle in the valley where the enemy is lying to you or go to the top of the mountain without Him. Kathy taught us last night that we are more protected in the valley with God than on the mountain top without Him. Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The safest place is in the center of God’s will for your life because He is in it with all the way. BUT GOD death to life with Him, the Gospel to me first then flowing outward.

    God thank You for helping me keep my eyes fixed on You. My walk is where my focus needs to be. Thank You for listening ears to hear Your voice and peace to know that it is Yours. Thank You for Your love goggles to see Your people that I can speak or just love on for You. God thank You for You being in the center of all my thoughts, actions and voice. God thank You for the minutes of this day to glorify and honor You in all I say and do in Jesus name amen

  3. 22 “Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain?
    Do the skies themselves send down showers?
    No, it is you, Lord our God.
    Therefore our hope is in you,
    for you are the one who does all this.”

    Lord, please keep me from my default setting of pursuing “worthless idols”!

  4. Diane Frances Rogers

    Vs.14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name…
    False teachings encourage men to expect peace and salvation without repentance, faith, conversion and holiness of life.
    “Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge.” Psalm 16;1

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