Ever know someone who is a constant nag? Always reminding, correcting and saying stuff like "don't forget to put on clean underwear," or "looks like you missed a spot" or "repent for your sins or God will kill you, no one will even care you're dead and you'll sit outside and rot like garbage." If so, you've got a good start on understanding the first half of Jeremiah.
Show a prophet some love
Being a prophet back in Jeremiah's time had to be tough. Remember back in the good old days of Elijah and Elisha? Prophets were like rockstars! There were throwing down fire, controlling the weather and commanding bears to maul teenagers. Israel had respect for Yahweh and his prophets. By the time we meet Jeremiah though, that has completely changed. Yahweh and prophets have been replaced by false idols. Man, those Israelites were so dumb! Am I right or am I right? Caring more about a hunk of metal than the God of the universe? Are you serious, Israelites? I'm sure glad we've gotten smarter since then.
Would you care for a boiling hot cup of wrath or a cool stream of water?
So the Israelites have completely forgotten about Yahweh and instead are all down with the false gods. Jeremiah, speaking for Yahweh, lets the Israelites have it for 29 chapters. Basically saying, here's what you're doing wrong, here's the bad crap that's gonna happen if you keep it up. (This week's design comes from the vibe of those first 29 chapters.) Here's the thing though.... God ends it by pleading with Israel to come back to him. He talks about what it will be like if Israel does repent and come back to him, saying things like "They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel's father...." He doesn't want that bad crap to happen to them. Maybe the Israelites will come to their senses, choose to repent and turn back to Yahweh. Maybe?
I'll take the wrath, please
Dangit! Oh Israelites, don't you realize the lament you cause Jeremiah?