And if you still refuse to listen, I will weep alone because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, because the Lord’s flock will be led away into exile.
After I read Jeremiah 13, I told a friend of mine that I knew what chapter I was going to turn to if ever I felt like I was struggling with pride. In my notes, I simply wrote that “this chapter tears me to shreds.” Verse seventeen sums up God’s warning and hatred for pride beautifully. When God sees someone caught up in pride, it breaks His heart. Here, we see that God weeps and His eyes “overflow with tears” when a person lives life and makes decisions based on pride. God hates pride so much because it blinds us.
In the context of what’s going on as Jeremiah is prophesying, the kings and the people of Israel are so caught up in idol worship, they’ve become arrogant. They have become ignorant of the fact that they are no longer trusting or believing in the Lord their God. They have been caught up in politics and religious practice. By forgetting God in everything that they do, their foreign policy started falling apart. It came back to bite them. They would be led into exile, slavery.
This is what it means to have pride go before the fall.
We, as people, place a lot of our trust in our strength and knowledge. We get caught up in trusting our understanding about the ways that we live. We believe that we can do whatever we want, and in our pride, we think that we can avoid the consequences. Now, when I say consequences, I’m not talking about jail time for robbery, murder, or driving drunk. When I say avoid the consequences, I meant that we think that the things that we do actually work to satisfy and grant us a fulfilled life.
We believe that we are capable of filling up this expanse within our chests. The reality is that nothing temporal works to fill that gap. Not only do they not satisfy, they eventually enslave us as we get caught up in trying to satiate our desires. If we could just get a little more money, a little more sex, just a little more fame, then we think that we are that much closer to being fulfilled and living a life that matters. None of these things, though, were ever designed to satisfy that deeper need that I believe we all share, and if we follow these things, then we are eventually trapped by them. We are led into exile, becoming slaves to our desires.
It breaks God’s heart to see people fall into this trap. He wants all of humanity to overcome this wretched entrapment created by a submission to desire. True, genuine peace is found when we trust Him to make us whole. He has made us for intimacy with Him and He sheds tears every time we give ourselves over to something else. For anything else we put our trust in eventually leads us into exile away from the only One who is our grace, redemption, and wholeness.