Jeremiah 9:7 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?”

As we read through these chapters in Jeremiah, it is easy for us to make the mistake of thinking in terms of God’s punishment on us as a nation because of our culture’s blatant rejection of his revealed truth in the Scriptures – not only making things that the Bible labels clearly as sin ‘acceptable’, but legislating strongly against anyone who dares to uphold Biblical truth.  (It seems that the full impact of ‘cancel culture’ is yet to be felt by God’s people.)

But NO – we note that the LORD God is addressing his remarks through Jeremiah to ‘my people’.  His judgement against all the other nations takes a different form, as in the initial conquest of the Canaanite nations (cf eg 1 Samuel 15:1-3).  Rather, the LORD appoints Jeremiah as an ‘ASSAYER’ (Hebrew ‘bachon’) of ‘HIS [chosen/redeemed] PEOPLE’ (cf Jeremiah 6:27-30).

The task of an ‘assayer’ is to ‘test’ precious metals by putting them through the fires of a rigorous refining process, not in order to DESTROY them, but to get rid of any harmful impurities.  So, as we apply the message of this part of God’s Word to our situation today we need to look INWARD, not OUTWARD.

The Apostle Peter puts it like this: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.  If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.  However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.  For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And, ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’  So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” (1 Peter 4:12-19).

As Jeremiah weeps and pours out his heart over rebellious Judah, let us hear him pouring out his heart over us, God’s redeemed Church, today.