A WORD CONCERNING THE LAW
At this juncture I would like to say a word concerning the law of God. Paul tells us that the law was not a part of God’s original purpose. Originally, God did not intend to give us the law. Why, then, was it given? Why did God come in to give the law? In Galatians 3:19 Paul explains that the law "was added because of the transgressions." This means that after God presented His purpose to man, man did not accept God and His purpose but instead began to do things according to himself. For this reason, God came in to add the law.
Although the law is something added, it nevertheless has a positive function. The positive function of the law is to present a portrait of God. In the Ten Commandments we see a picture of what God is. The first five commandments are based on Jehovah God’s uniqueness and jealousy, and the last five commandments are based on Jehovah God’s attributes of love, light, holiness, and righteousness. By using the law to present a picture of Himself, God was indicating that He wanted His people to become His duplication.
ISRAEL’S BREAKING OF THE LAW
REACHING ITS PEAK AT THE TIME OF JEREMIAH
While the law was being given to Moses on Mount Sinai, the children of Israel were doing many evil things in violation of the Ten Commandments. In particular, they sinned against God by worshipping the golden calf. Throughout the centuries Israel continued to break the commandments of the law more and more. Eventually, their breaking of the law reached the peak at the time of Jeremiah.
The people of Israel went so far as to have a kind of coordination in their worship of idols. Regarding this, in Jeremiah 7:18 God says, "The children gather wood, and the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke Me to anger." What a coordination! It seemed that in making idols and worshipping them, everyone had a function. It is hard to believe that God’s people could have degraded to such an extent.
At Jeremiah’s time the people of Israel were doing many other kinds of evil things. In committing adultery they "trooped to the house of harlots" (5:7). They roamed about like well-fed horses, "each one neighing after his neighbor’s wife" (v. 8). They dealt falsely in order to wrest unjust gain. They had altogether lost the image and likeness of God and had become serpents and scorpions. Thus, in the sight of God, Israel had come to the end and was finished. God’s prophet Jeremiah wanted nothing to do with the people and said, "Oh, that I had a traveler’s lodging place in the wilderness / That I might leave my people and go away from them, / For all of them are adulterers and an assembly of treacherous men" (9:2). He no longer wanted to see the wickedness of Israel.
(Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)