Thursday, June 18, 2015

Their Only Hope

Jeremiah 4:14-31

“O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?  For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim.  Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.  As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD.  Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.” (Jeremiah 4:14-18)

The Jews in Jerusalem had already demonstrated that their new gods were unable to save them.  If they were to have any hope of deliverance, they were going to have to elicit God’s help, and that would require them getting rid of their wicked attitude.  As long as they continues to have the same attitude and think the same way, they will continue to act in a way that is offensive to God and he will not help them.  The message has already gone out to their enemies that god is no longer protecting Jerusalem and the spies have been watching.  It is their own rebellious refusal to obey God that has put them in the position they are in because it is the heart attitude not just a momentary indiscretion.    

“My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.  Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.  How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?  For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” (Jeremiah 4:19-22)

Like a father watching an older child getting involved in alcoholism or drugs, God is pained in his heart as he watches Judah.  He cannot help trying to warn them of the dangers of their actions.  He already hears the sound of the sirens coming and seen their deteriorating health and self-control.  This leads to arrests, damage to their own and other’s property, arrests and legal problems.  Like a bunch of drunks, Judah doesn’t understand His love and resents God’s efforts to help them.  Like the drunk or addict they can always figure out how to get the money to support their habit even though they can’t buy groceries for their family or pay their bills.   

“I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.  I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.  I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.  I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.” (Jeremiah 4:23-26)

When God first created the world, it had no particular shape and there wasn’t any light, and the mountains and hills were not firmed up but moved like a soft dough.  There were not people or animals nor even any plants.  What are now jungles and forests and rich fields were barren. 

“For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.  For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.  The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.” (Jeremiah 4:27-29)

No matter how much God allows to happen on the earth, He will not let it go back to the point where He started, where there was nothing.  He will completely destroy the earth and the heavens, according to II Peter 3:10-14.  “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.”

He will save those who have obeyed him, and will create new heavens and a new earth for them.  The new earth will be thoroughly detailed when it is made, as Revelation 21:1-2 describes.  “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  He will not destroy all the people and start over from scratch like he did originally.   

When that time comes, the entire earth will be affected and people will panic, but god will not be diverted from his purpose.  The people of Jerusalem themselves will be in terror of the enemies of God, hiding in the mountains and deserts, leaving the cities unoccupied. 

“And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.  For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.” (Jeremiah 4:30-31)

What do the Jews think they are going to do when that time comes?  Do they think that by fixing themselves up like a prostitute and offering themselves to their enemies they can convince them not to do anything to them?  Their enemies are there to kill them, not just to get sexual gratification.   They will be like a bunch of invaders who kill the babies before raping and killing the women.  They don’t understand their enemies will not be bought off.    

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