I have a hard time getting a lot out of Jeremiah 11:1-8,14-20. It includes some imagery for how God relates to us that I have trouble wrapping my mind around. I think it’s ok to not quite see how to relate to a text, or even to find a text objectionable. Paul tells is in 1 Corinthians 7 that Scripture is a mixture of the Lord’s words and of human interpretations about that. This means there are stories and images I may not need to buy completely or I can be free to question – which parts of this are truly the Lord’s? Which are not?
The one clear message I get from Jeremiah 11, though it is couched in some language I am not sure I completely can embrace, is that we cannot always expect God to rescue us from our own failings and their consequences. Grace is not that. Sometimes we – and others – must experience the consequences of our actions to learn, mature, and gain wisdom. To simply rescue us each time would be to enable us in our selfishness, short-sightedness, and mistreatment of ourselves and others. But grace means God remains with us and available even in those moments. Jeremiah is less clear about God remaining present in this chapter and more clear about God not rescuing us from the consequences of our actions, but I find texts like Romans 8 make it very clear even in these moments in which we go through times it is hard to feel God’s presence and where we must face trials and even ones that stem from our failures, God remains beside us as help and guide if we will but learn to reach out and listen.