Run you to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if you can find a man…
God's warnings still go on concerning the same thing - the deeply seated, the deeply destructive wickedness of the people. But though the same subject has to be spoken of, there is no monotony in the treatment of it. It can be looked at from fresh points of view, and put into fresh lights. A careful reading of Jeremiah 4. will show how many different things can be said concerning wickedness; and now, with Jeremiah 5:1, the reproaches and appeals still continue. Note -
I. THE INDIVIDUALIZING ASPECT OF THE APPEAL. The nation and Jerusalem and the leaders in it have all been referred to; but as long as there are generalities and nothing more individuals will think they can get away from blame under cover of them. Here, then, is a bold challenge which fastens up in a corner every dweller in Jerusalem. The challenge, of course, is not to be taken literally. The true state of things may be known, and known very distinctly, without any running to and fro at all. Let every one take a glance at those whom he knows, and then come home to a candid inquiry concerning the life within his own breast. It is an easy thing to blame others, to throw the fault of disaster upon those who occupy prominent positions. Followers are to blame as well as leaders. The iniquity of Jerusalem, deep, turbid, incessant as the stream of it is, is made of many contributions which, individually considered, may seem very slight. A few men in every age are called to toil for the removal of evils of which, personally, they are not guilty; but every one has the opportunity of improving the world, by doing his best to keep his own heart right. Others are to blame, and there are times when they must be faced, blamed, and resisted; but there is given a daily need, duty, and opportunity to do in cur own hearts what no one else can do for us.
III. HOW COMPREHENSIVE AND CONFIDENT THE CHALLENGE IS. It amounts to this, that there cannot be found in all Jerusalem one man who is just in all his dealings, and a seeker after truth. Not one. Must we, then, take this literally? The answer is, No, and Yes. It would have been strange if Jerusalem had become so utterly bad a place that every soul within it was perverted from the ways of right and truth. There must have been some men desiring and striving to live a right life. We bear in mind what God said to Elijah when Elijah said, in the despair and bitterness of his heart, that only he was left to serve God. Not so by any means; the searching God, who counts hearts where fallible men can only Count heads, told his prophet there were still seven thousand with knees unbowed to Baal. And did not Jeremiah discover from his own experience that there were some on Jehovah's side (Jeremiah 26:24; Jeremiah 39:15-18)? But they were not enough to exert a leavening and recovering influence. And yet the very men whom we may call good and just and true, seeing something of the right, and trying to do it as far as they saw, would have drawn back in confusion and self-distrust if they had been asked, in a direct way and so that the question could not be evaded, "Do you answer this description?' "Are you doers of justice and seekers after truth?" In trying to answer such a question, would not the moments of unfaithfulness and hesitation come to mind-the occasions when they were tempted to escape from loss and pain by some convenient Compromise? It will never do for us to congratulate ourselves on being a great deal better than others so long as we come short of what God wants us to be.
III. The thing to be specially considered is, how THIS ACCUSATION APPLES TO THE GREAT MASS OF THE PEOPLE. Many would have said, cynically enough, "Justice and truth are no concern of ours." These are words that sound very well in general statements; but directly the attempt is made to bring them close to the individual, it is alleged that they do not apply, or else there is the name and not the thing. Things are called just which are not just, and true which are utterly false. Let men of noble minds talk of justice and truth, and only too many are found to allege that such speaking is but cant and hypocrisy. When Jesus said to Pilate that he came into the world to bear witness to the truth, Pilate answered him with the question, "What has truth got to do with the matter?" Men want to get on, to get rich, to get known, to live easily, to satisfy the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye and the pride of life; and the claims of justice and truth would make sad havoc with such purposes. Those who have learned from Christ that justice and truth are great necessities of life, necessities in a far higher sense than food and clothing, have often to notice, with great pain and concern, the number of those who do not seem to have any conception of what it is really to do justice and seek after truth. They do not comprehend the objects which God and Christ set before them any more than a blind man comprehends colors. Why, then, blame them? it may be asked. The blame is that they will not come to Christ that they may have sight. To Christians the power and disposition are given to do justice. The spirit is put in them to seek for truth as those who seek for hid treasures, and those who seek with such a zeal and impulse can never seek in vain. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.
WEB: "Run back and forth through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places of it, if you can find a man, if there are any who does justly, who seeks truth; and I will pardon her.