20 Now hear what I, the Eternal Lord, declare: “The heat of My anger will pour out on this land, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and the fruit of the soil. My wrath will burn through this place and not be quenched.
Generally, prophets are called to speak to people on behalf of God (prophecy) and to speak to God on behalf of the people (intercession). But in this stinging message, God tells Jeremiah not to waste his breath by praying for the people because He will not hear the prophet’s pleas. God is determined to right His people’s wrongs with punishing fury. God’s honor is at stake, and so is His people’s future. The powerful and beautiful rituals God gave the Hebrews in order to shape them as individuals and as a community have become nothing more than empty rites that God cannot tolerate.
21 This is what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies and God of Israel, has to say:
Eternal One: Treat your burnt offerings the way you treat other sacrifices. Go ahead and eat the meat yourselves. I won’t have any part of it. 22 When I freed your ancestors from slavery in Egypt, burnt offerings and sacrifices were not something I required of them.