Monday, June 22, 2015
Reason for Judgment To Come
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely.” (Jeremiah 5:1-2)
God challenges them to go through the streets and see if they can find a single individual who cares about the truth or is interested in fair dealing and justice. If they can find even one, he promises to forgive them. But he knows there isn’t one. Even when they religiously state the “Lord liveth,” it is just the words they are expected to say but they don’t really believe it.
”O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. ” (Jeremiah 5:3)
God knows the truth about everything, He knows that they have even ignored his efforts to correct them, stubbornly going their own way and refusing to turn or listen, like some spoiled child or rebellious teenager.
“Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God. I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.” (Jeremiah 5:4-5)
As he looked, Jeremiah initially made the same mistake our society so often makes. He assumed that the ones who were doing wrong had been poor and deprived and as a result didn’t have any idea of What God was offering. He went to the wealthy and powerful, who had experienced the blessings of God and been taught to trust him. What he found was that they had the same attitude and had rejected the ethical and moral standards they had been taught as completely as the poor had.
“Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.” (Jeremiah 5:6)
Because they have rejected God completely, they will live in fear of the wild animals that have never posed a serious threat. Lions will come out of the forest to attack them and wolves will attack their livestock and pets. Leopards will even come into the city and attack People. Everyone who goes out alone will risk being attacked and killed because the sins and disobedience of Judah will result in drought and famine that forces the animals to the city in search of food.
“How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jeremiah 5:7-9)
How can they expect God to just keep on ignoring their refusal to make things right? Their children no longer even pretend to worship God, but base everything on the idols they worship. When he blessed them with food and belongings, they turned to other things as the source of the blessings, flocking to those who were involved in the idolatry as if to a brothel. It was a lot like Americans crediting their success on our political system and flocking to the preachers of the prosperity gospel, trying to combine religion and business, despite the fact that Jesus said in Matthew 6:24. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” How can God overlook their ongoing unfaithfulness and not take action any longer?
“Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD'S. For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.” (Jeremiah 5:10-13)
Because Israel and Judah have betrayed their God, Depending on others to protect them instead of him, he says that their defenses are to be destroyed and walls torn down. When God has defeated their purposes, trying to get them to honor their covenant, they have insisted it wasn’t Him and that He wouldn’t allow anything bad to happen to them. They consider His prophets who warned of judgment as of no more importance than the wind in the trees, and their message as not being from God. As a result, their defenses will be taken away.
It was very much like a woman I know, who, after leaving her husband, determined to move out of state with their children and got very angry when she learned that state law prohibited such a move. She told her husband she knew he thought it was God who stopped her, but it couldn't be because those laws were already on the books. Apparently never occurred to her that God could use laws that were already on the books, and didn't have to do a special miracle to stop her.
“Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say. Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men. And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.” (Jeremiah 5:14-17)
Because they insist that God’s warnings are not from Him and that his efforts to stop them are not his doing, he will make their statements like fire, inciting the people to self-destruct. He will cause an ancient nation whose language they don’t know to destroy them, taking everything they produce and leaving the strongest cities in poverty and ruins.
Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem a few years after this prophecy was made, setting thim as a satellite state. Because the Jews rebelled and refused to believe it was God who had caused it they rebelled, and he was forced to invade and capture Jerusalem two more times. The third time, He destroyed the city, tearing the walls down completely and carrying away all but the poorest of the people as captives. Later prophecies of Jeremiah will go into greater detail.