As I read through Jeremiah, I sometimes get the feeling that I’m reading his memoirs. Yes, there are things that he has said, speeches he has spoken. Yes, there are the things that God has directed him to tell the people of Jerusalem. But he’s writing it up (after the fact, I think) for the generations that are to come.
I can see the prophet Jeremiah, sitting, alone in his room, perhaps kneeling, and praying. Day after day, he has been going down to the gate of the city. (In our world today, it’s like going down to the courthouse steps.) There he has gone to speak to all the notables and officials who have come to do business—official and unofficial. Time after time, he has told these people what the Lord says…but no one can tell any difference. And as he considers praying for the people one more time, God speaks to him with a different idea.
Then said the Lord to me, Pray not for this people for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.