The people have not obeyed God's covenant with them
1 The Lord gave this message to Jeremiah: 2 ‘Listen to the rules of the covenant that I made with my people. Tell them to the people who live in Jerusalem and the other towns in Judah. 3 Tell them that the Lord, Israel's God, says, “I will curse anyone who does not obey the rules of this covenant. 4 I gave those rules to your ancestors when I brought them safely out of Egypt. That place was like a hot oven where they were in great pain. At that time, I said to them, ‘Obey me and do everything that I command you to do. If you obey my covenant with you, you will be my people and I will be your God. 5 I will do what I promised to your ancestors. I promised to give to them a land where there was plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone.’ That is the land that you still live in today.” ’
I answered, ‘Amen, Lord, I would like that to happen.’
6 The Lord said to me, ‘Speak all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: “Listen to the rules of my covenant with you. Obey them! 7 I clearly warned your ancestors that they must obey me. I warned them many times since I brought them safely out of Egypt. I have continued to do that, even until today. 8 But they did not listen to me. They did not agree to obey my covenant. Instead, they continued to do all the wicked things that they wanted to do. They would not change how they lived. So I punished them in the way that the covenant said they deserved. I had commanded them to obey the rules of the covenant, and they did not do that.” ’
9 The Lord said to me, ‘The people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem have decided to turn against me. 10 They are doing the same evil things that their ancestors did. Their ancestors refused to obey my commands. These people do that, and they also serve and worship other gods. I made a covenant with their ancestors. But the nations of Judah and Israel have refused to obey that covenant. 11 So now, I, the Lord, say this: “I will bring great trouble to these people. They will not be able to escape. When they call out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12 The people who live in Jerusalem and in the other towns of Judah will ask their false gods to help them. Those are the gods that they offer sacrifices to. But when this terrible trouble comes, those gods will never be able to rescue them. 13 You people of Judah have as many gods as you have towns! You have built many altars to offer sacrifices to that disgusting god, Baal. You have built as many of those altars as there are streets in Jerusalem!”
14 So, Jeremiah, do not pray for these people. Do not ask me to do anything to help them. Do not ask me to save them. When trouble comes and they ask me for help, I will not listen to them.
15 The people that I love are doing wicked things.
They should not be in my temple.
They think that they will be safe
if they offer animal sacrifices to me.
They enjoy the evil things that they do,
and their punishment will certainly happen.
16 I, the Lord, called you a beautiful olive tree.
It was a tree that gave lots of good fruit.
But now I will destroy you with fire.
The flames will make a loud noise.
All your branches will be useless.
17 I, the Lord Almighty, planted you in the land, like a tree.
But now you have caused me to be angry.
You nations of Israel and Judah have done evil things.
And you have offered sacrifices to Baal.
So now I have decided to punish you with great trouble.’