Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Judah To Be Destroyed

Jeremiah 3:19-4:13

“But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.  Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.  A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.  Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 3:19-22)

How can God provide Israel with all the things he has offered them when they have refused to keep their part of the agreement?  They had promised to put Him first and be faithful to him but they have behaved like an unfaithful wife, moving in with some other man, but upset because their husband is angry and refuses to support them and give what she wants.

“Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.  For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.  We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 3:23-25)

The only hope for deliverance is from God.  their hopes for the gods of the various high places and idols has proven worthless.  They have lost the things their ancestors had worked to provide for them, losing the herds of livestock, and even their own children to marauders.  They are wallowing in their own humiliation, because they have consistently disobeyed and ignored God for generations.

“If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.  And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.  Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.” (Jeremiah 4:1-4)

Despite their rejection, God still offers them hope.  If they will turn back to God, separating themselves from all the idolatry and focus on God himself, recognizing him as the true and living God, they will find themselves blessed and glory in him.  They need to go back to practicing the things they haven’t been doing and stop associating with the things that are not right.  They need to dedicate themselves to god and remove the things in their heart that interfere.  If they don’t, they will face God’s fury, like an unquenchable fire because of their wickedness. 

“Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.  Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.

“The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.  For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.  And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. ” (Jeremiah 4:5-9)

Like a herald with a trumpet, Jeremiah is to warn Judah and Jerusalem to flee to their fortified cities because Judgment is coming, they better not wait until morning because Judgment is coming from the peoples of the North.  The Messiah, who will destroy the Gentile nations will start by bringing judgment on Judah and Israel, leaving the land uninhabited and desolate.  They need to be mourning what is coming because God will not put aside his anger at their sin.  The rulers would lose hope and the priests and prophets be shocked and confused that god would allow such things to happen to them. 

“Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.  At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse, Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them.  Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.” (Jeremiah 4:10-13)

Even Jeremiah felt like God had deceived Israel, promising peace when all they could see was destruction and despair.  They will not see what happens as God gently trying to remove some impurities and chaff, but as a terribly hot wind drying and blowing everything away.  God will come in like a tornado, destroying everything.

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