My uncle Johnny was an expert on Barron Von Richthofen, better known as the Red Baron. He shot down 80 enemy aircraft during World War 1. Johnny made a model of his Fokker 1 tri-wing airplane and flew it at airshows around Florida. On April 12, 1918, Richthofen was chasing after a Canadian fighter pilot and in the chase flew his red airplane too far into enemy territory and was shot down. Eye witnesses said the Red Baron had been flying way too low, and was probably so mentally involved in chasing after the other pilot that he never 10 red baronrealized he had flown into the enemy’s air space, which cost him his life. There are many casualties in the faith who get shot down for the same reason. Chasing after the things of this world, the wrong things, they become so focused on what they want they lose track of where they are. Possessions, pleasures, positions can easily lure us away. Like people in a trance we blindly go after what we want. Jeremiah says that’s what happened to Israel.

After comparing the children of Israel to an adulterous, a corrupt branch, and irremovable stain, he confronts their denial of their situation. In Jeremiah 2:23 he says, “How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’?  Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done.” Just watching your behavior proves your sinfulness. Jeremiah 2:24 says that watching you is like watching a wild animal in heat. Nothing could be more obvious! He writes, “a restless young camel running here and there, a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her.”

According to Gingrich, “Judah had become as a young camel in heat running back and forth looking for any male camel to gratify her desire. She had become as a wild ass snuffing the wind for the scent of a mate. The false gods did not have to court her, for she eagerly sought them that she might give them her favors.”[1]  Another commentary clarifies the disgusting nature of the female donkey. He writes, “The habits of the female [donkey] in heat are dramatic and vulgar. She sniffs the path in front of her, trying to pick up her scent of a male (from his urine). When she finds it, she rubs her nose in the dust and then straightens her neck, and with head high, closes her nostrils and “sniffs the wind.” What she is really doing is sniffing the dust which is soaked with the urine of a male [donkey]. With her neck stretched to the utmost, she slowly draws in a long, deep breath, then lets out an earthshaking bray and doubles her pace, racing down the road in search of the male.”[2] She runs after her own destruction. Lord, help us not to do that!

[1] Roy E. Gingrich, The Book of Jeremiah (Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing, 2001), 9.

[2] K. E. Bailey and W. L. Holladay, “The ‘Young Camel’ and ‘Wild Ass’ in Jeremiah 2:23–25, ” Vetus Testamentum 18 (1968), pp. 258–259.[2]