Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Despite Their Sin, God Will Not Destroy Judah Completely
Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you. And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.” (Jeremiah 5:18-19)
Like a husband who still loves his wife that has been unfaithful to him, while he refuses to support her or come to her rescue when she gets into trouble, he will not kill her or have her killed, God will not have Judah completely destroyed. When they ask why he doesn’t give them the things they want or need, the prophet is to tell them it is because they have taken another mate and he no longer owes them anything, and when they lose their home it is their own fault.
“Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?
But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” (Jeremiah 5:20-24)
The prophet is to point out that Judah, though they can clearly see and hear pay no attention to what they observe and have no respect for God. They are not afraid of his tremendous power, even though he has created the sea in such a way that it cannot run up over the land, and that no matter how big the waves get or how far they go up on the shore, they ultimately run back into the sea. They deliberately revolt against his boundaries and run away to escape him. They never even consider turning back to God to receive his blessings, though he is the one who gives the rain, deciding when it should come and had set aside a period of dry weather for harvest.
“Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:25-29)
Their sin and deliberate rebellion have prevented them from receiving the blessings God has for them. As Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Wicked men use their authority and prestige to entrap people, and their family power and reputation is founded on dishonesty and fraud that is dependent on everything being kept locked up. If anything gets out it will all disappear like bunch of birds in a cage, but at the moment they are rich and highly respected. They ignore and excuse things that wicked people do, ignoring wrongs done to the weak and helpless, and ignore their rights. How can God overlook such behavior, especially when they do it and claim his authority for doing it?
“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
It is a horrible thing which was being done in Judah. The prophets were lying about what God had commanded and the priests were following their teachings rather than the laws God had written for them, with the full approval of the people who preferred it that way. It wasn’t much different than what we see today when nationally known speakers and authors recommend things that contradict what God has said and the pastors and preachers adopt it as the proper way of doing things. People flock to their churches because they love being so contemporary and up to date. What will they do when they face the consequences of their actions?
“O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction.” (Jeremiah 6:1)
The tribe of Benjamin had chosen to Go with Judah and worship god when the kingdom was divided after Solomon’s death. Now Judah has turned away from God as well, and He warns the tribe of Benjamin and their most respected leaders to separate from Judah and warn all their people because Judgment is coming in the form of an invasion from the north and the destruction of Judah.