Scriptures are from the NIV.
Verses 14-15, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all;…so…they will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD.” This is a warning to Israel about the punishment God is bringing because of their disobedience. The people had chosen to listen to the pleasing words of false prophets rather than the warnings of God’s prophets. “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:31)
Verses 16-17: “…ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I appointed watchmen over you and said, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But you said, ‘We will not listen.’” These verses show the hardheartedness of Israel. The nation did not listen nor take heed to the prophets (watchmen) that God had sent to them.
Verse 18: “Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them.” The once revered and great nation of Israel will be brought down, and their humiliation will be seen by all nations.
Verse 19-21: “I am bringing disaster on this people…because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land?…your sacrifices do not please me… (therefore) I will put obstacles before this people. Parents and children alike will stumble over them; neighbors and friends will perish.” The reason for this calamity is because the people have chosen to ignore God’s laws and have turned to their own form of worship (idolatry). They intermarried with foreigners and adopted their idols.
Verses 22-23: “the LORD says: ‘Look, an army is coming from the land of the north (Babylon)…they are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men in battle formation to attack you, Daughter Zion.’” Therefore God will allow the nation from the north (Babylon under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar) to conquer them, thus beginning a 70 year desolation (606 – 536 B.C.) of the land of Israel. (Jeremiah 25:11)
Life lesson: Keep your heart from the idol worship of loving the world. Instead, obey and love God. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” 1 John 2:15.