Israel denied the reality of consequences. They felt that they were alone in the universe and could do as they wish without repercussions of any kind. When Jeremiah confronted them with the reality of the laws of sowing and 21 applereaping, they became angry and they turned Jeremiah’s prophecy back on himself. They’re response is recorded in Jeremiah 5:13. They said, “The prophets will become wind; the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them!” The prophecy of judgment is nothing but wind. Jeremiah is simply another windbag standing on the street corner proclaiming “the end is near!” He’s not to be taken seriously. They know nothing and have no special insights into an ultimate reality beyond the one we see, touch, taste, and smell. May the “reaping” they proclaim that’s coming upon us, fall directly on them since they believe in such nonsense.

A radio news series about honesty in America talked about excuses. The commentator said that people use three types of excuses when guilty of wrongdoing. The first is outright denial—a rejection of any involvement. Sometimes this is done even though the person is obviously guilty.  The second is the “It’s not my fault” excuse. The person looks around for someone he can blame. (Often it is a loved one – a husband or wife or parent. Sometimes it’s the boss.) A third form of excuse is the “I did it, but…” approach. In this instance the person blames circumstances for his shortcoming. Either he’s been struggling with some illness or the assignment wasn’t clear or the car’s been giving him trouble, etc…”[1]

It is not uncommon that during counselling to ask a counselee if they’ve considered the possibility that some action, attitude, or word of their own could have contributed to the current painful circumstances they were experiencing. Several times in the past 35 years, I’ve been attacked verbally by that person for even considering such a possibility. In one instance a young Vietnam Veteran was sitting at my kitchen table where I had served him a glass of lemonade. When I asked him that question, he through the entire contents of his glass in my face! This is what the leaders of Jerusalem did to Jeremiah. Living in denial, they were enraged at the suggestion that they could bear any responsibility for their own situation. I wonder how often I do that.

[1] Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002).