Jeremiah 26 is very interesting. The whole message of the book so far has been impending judgment and destruction on Judah and Jerusalem. God has promised dire discipline to come upon his people.
But here in Jeremiah 26, God commands the prophet to stand in the midst of the people who have come to worship in the house of the Lord. He tells Jeremiah to give a specific message but it’s not a message of judgment. It’s a message of mercy.
All throughout this book God’s complaint against his people has been that they do not listen. But look here:
“Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from their evil ways. Then I will relent and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done.” Jeremiah 26:3
Perhaps they will listen, though they have not listened.
Mercy after mercy is offered to them. It’s not what they deserve and it’s not what we expect God to do here. But it proves God’s character. He is truly merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Unfortunately, this final offer of mercy becomes the final witness against them as their response shows:
“But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, ‘You must die!'” Jeremiah 26:8