Jeremiah is to live out the prophet of doom cliche.
God didn’t actually tell him him to wear a sandwich board saying “the end is nigh”. But he does tell him to stand at the gate of the temple announcing judgement on the people as they enter.
The theme again is their religious and moral hypocrisy. The Northern Israel kingdom has already fallen, but the temple in the South is the tangible place of God’s presence, and the people need to know that won’t protect them.
So his message is about Shiloh, the first place of worship in the premises land, where the 12 tribes were divided up. That was in the north and has now fallen and been abandoned by God. Just because somewhere once had God’s presence, doesn’t mean it always will.
The message continues that it is not about the people acknowledging God’s place or rituals. It’s about heartfelt obedience over time: walking in God’s way.
God then tells Jeremiah that he fully expects the people won’t listen to what he is saying, and that he is not to beg for mercy for them. He is to publicly morn them by cutting his hair.
The chapter ends ominously with God saying that the place where worship of the other Gods occurs, including where the child sacrifices are offered, will become known as the valley of slaughter, and there will be no one to bury the bodies piled up there as they are pecked by birds.
God still calls us to a life of sincere and consistent obedience. And we still prefer to rely on tokens of self righteousness rather than our calling: being good parents, working hard, maybe going to church or volunteering.
To make up for worshipping the trappings of success and power, sex or youth, and denying or failings rather than humbly recognising that we need God’s grace and building a life of obedience from there.
Jeremiah message is extreme, and repetitive. But so is our human ability to deny and ignore or creator.