By: Gary L. Hutchens
Jeremiah prophesied during a time when Israel was on the precipice of disaster due to her own wickedness. Over and over Jeremiah proclaimed God’s call for the nation to repent and be reconciled to Him, or else God would destroy them as a nation, allowing their enemies to conquer them and take them captive into a foreign land. Jeremiah found few receptive ears to his continual warnings.
Note the following characterization of Jerusalem’s wickedness: “As a fountain wells up with water, so she wells up with her wickedness” (Jer. 6:7). There wasn’t just a little sin in the camp; their wickedness ran deep, and their unfaithfulness was demonstrated everywhere in the land. Their wickedness was overflowing. Jeremiah sounded God’s subsequent warning: “Be instructed, O Jerusalem, lest My soul depart from you; lest I make you desolate, a land not inhabited” (Jer. 6:8). God’s warning was pointed- if they would not repent, He would turn His back on them and remove them from their land!
Perhaps the most telling description of their state of spiritual decline is found in the following passage: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down, says the Lord” (Jer. 6:15). These reverberating words are repeated in a later chapter (8:12). Jeremiah confronted the people as to their state of mind being so hardened that “You refuse to be ashamed” (Jer. 3:3).
Blushing is a physical manifestation of an emotional response, such as embarrassment, anger, shame, modesty or pleasure. The people whom Jeremiah was attempting to teach should have been embarrassed and ashamed over their sinfulness, but they were not! Indeed, they refused to be ashamed. Their collective conscience had become so seared that they did not know how to blush!
The apostle Paul describes this kind of spiritual condition as “being past feeling” (Eph. 4:19). In other words, the conscience becomes conditioned to accept sinfulness, unrighteousness, unfaithfulness and wickedness as being normal behavior. At that point a person is not far from being completely upside down regarding evil and goodness. Isaiah warned, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isa. 5:20).
We need to be careful to not dabble in sin, for dabbling can lead to deeper involvement in sin. As one’s life becomes more deeply rooted in sin his conscience becomes more conditioned to accept sin as being all right. He may even get to the point where evil looks good, and good appears to be evil. How tragic and dangerous it would be to become so spiritually degenerated as to not know how to blush!…
Gary L. Hutchens