“Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you.” (Jeremiah 14:7, ESV)

Jeremiah on behalf of the people of Judah.

This is a beautiful example of communal prayer.  Jeremiah himself wasn’t guilty of idolatry [though along with the rest of us, he was guilty of iniquity], but he realizes that Judah is guilty before God as a community (“our backslidings…we have sinned”).

Jeremiah knows God well, so he calls for God to act, not because the people deserve it (they do not), but for your name’s sake.  God saving his people would resound to God’s name and fame.

Sadly, as we find out, they people continue in their idolatry and God carries out the punishment that he has designated for his people.

As individualistic Americans we cannot imagine God punishing a community together for their sins, yet this is what we find in the Old Testament.  Can a church sin collectively?  Of course!  John Piper describes one such sin here:

 

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