Jeremiah 14:1–22 (NKJV)
14:1 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the droughts.
2 “Judah mourns, And her gates languish; They mourn for the land, And the cry of Jerusalem has gone up.
3 Their nobles have sent their lads for water; They went to the cisterns and found no water. They returned with their vessels empty; They were ashamed and confounded And covered their heads.
4 Because the ground is parched, For there was no rain in the land, The plowmen were ashamed; They covered their heads.
5 Yes, the deer also gave birth in the field, But left because there was no grass.
6 And the wild donkeys stood in the desolate heights; They sniffed at the wind like jackals; Their eyes failed because there was no grass.”
7 O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us, Do it for Your name’s sake; For our backslidings are many, We have sinned against You.
8 O the Hope of Israel, his Savior in time of trouble, Why should You be like a stranger in the land, And like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
9 Why should You be like a man astonished, Like a mighty one who cannot save? Yet You, O Lord, are in our midst, And we are called by Your name; Do not leave us!
In this opening section of chapter 14, Jeremiah mourns over the lack of water during the drought in Judah. The animals are dying. The ground is cracked and produces no grass. The servants can find no sources of water anywhere and are ashamed. Jeremiah cries out to God not to leave them, to show His power.
10 Thus says the Lord to this people: “Thus they have loved to wander; They have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will remember their iniquity now, And punish their sins.”
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for this people, for their good. 12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.”
13 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ ”
14 And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’—‘By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed! 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; they will have no one to bury them—them nor their wives, their sons nor their daughters—for I will pour their wickedness on them.’
17 “Therefore you shall say this word to them: ‘Let my eyes flow with tears night and day, And let them not cease; For the virgin daughter of my people Has been broken with a mighty stroke, with a very severe blow.
18 If I go out to the field, Then behold, those slain with the sword! And if I enter the city, Then behold, those sick from famine! Yes, both prophet and priest go about in a land they do not know.’ ”
The Lord responds to Jeremiah by telling him that He will not hear their prayers, and that they will die by the sword, famine, and pestilence. He tells him to not even pray for them. Jeremiah responds that the prophets declare that none of these things will happen. The Lord responds by saying that the prophets lie, and they will be killed and left out in the streets. He then sends Jeremiah to tell them that tears will flow and the nation will be broken.
19 Have You utterly rejected Judah? Has Your soul loathed Zion? Why have You stricken us so that there is no healing for us? We looked for peace, but there was no good; And for the time of healing, and there was trouble.
20 We acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness And the iniquity of our fathers, For we have sinned against You.
21 Do not abhor us, for Your name’s sake; Do not disgrace the throne of Your glory. Remember, do not break Your covenant with us.
22 Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are You not He, O Lord our God? Therefore we will wait for You, Since You have made all these.
Jeremiah responds with questions and prayers. He asks if Judah is utterly rejected, to the point that their is no hope, and that the covenant is broken. Then He intercedes, asking God to forgive and heal the land. The final verse, 22, is powerful in its wording. Who can bring rain? Only you, God, can open the heavens. Therefore, we will wait for You. When troubles come, when their is lack in the land, do not try to fix it. Do not look for manmade solutions. Do not form a committee. Pray! Repent if necessary, but pray. Only God can solve the problems and meet the needs of mankind. Turn to Him, for He is the answer! In times of sword, famine, and pestilence, wait on the Lord.