Thursday, June 25, 2015

They Asked For It

Jeremiah 6:2-21

“I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.  The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.  Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.  Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces.” (Jeremiah 6:2-5)

Jerusalem is like a beautiful woman who wears beautiful clothing is flirtatious.  Guys swarm around her like flies, vying for her attention and showing off their wealth.   Eventually her flirtatious behavior and refusal to choose just one suitor leads to jealousy and fighting and they turn on her, stalking, beating and hurting her.   Though she may not realize it, and it is politically incorrect to say, by playing with their emotions, she is asking for it as surely as a man teasing and abusing a dog is asking to get bitten.    Jerusalem and Judah have brought their problems on themselves. 

“For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her.  As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds.  Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.” (Jeremiah 6:2-8)

God has called for a siege against Jerusalem.  The standards of right and wrong have been totally ignored and they take advantage every way they can, spreading the attitude beyond their boundaries like water splashing out of a fountain.  It leads to violence and theft and people are constantly complaining about what has been done to them.  If they don’t listen, God will turn his back on them and allow total destruction, leaving the land unoccupied. 

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets.  To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.” (Jeremiah 6:9-10)

When God sends their enemies against them, they will be a thorough as a grape picker, making sure they get all the grapes, even going back to check the vines they have already picked.  Unfortunately Jerusalem isn’t listening, and there is no one who seems interested,  They are so caught up in what they are doing that they refuse to listen to the warnings, getting angry at those who try to tell them. 

“Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.  And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD. Jer 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.  They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:11-14)

Because they refuse to listen at all, attacking him when he tries to warn them, God is now angry at them, and tired of holding in his frustration.  He’s going to allow it all to come out, and everyone from the children who are out playing and the college students will feel the results.  Both families and the elderly will be killed or lose their homes and their businesses and marriages destroyed.  God will cause them to suffer because they have been so greedy that even the religious leaders cannot be trusted, although they have tried to make people feel better by telling them it’s okay and they don’t need to worry about it. 
“Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.  Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” (Jeremiah 6:15-16)

They are not ashamed of their sin or embarrassed at being caught but flaunt as if it was something to be proud of.  As a result, they will be destroyed along with other wicked people, losing their prestige when God comes in judgment.  If they would just step back and look at what is happening, and go back to old ways, doing what is right, they would find peace and satisfaction, but they have refused to do those things. 

“Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.  Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them.  Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.” (Jeremiah 6:17-19)

God sent prophets and teachers among them to remind them to listen to the warnings, but they said they didn’t want to know and weren’t going to pay any attention to them.   Other nations and those among them who care should listen and see what they are doing so they understand what He is going to do.  Terrible things are going to happen to them, but they are the natural results of the attitudes and actions they have chosen, refusing to listen to God’s word and ignoring his laws and principles. 

“To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.  Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish.” (Jeremiah 6:20-21)

What value is there in offerings of sweet incense and sugar cane from exotic places?  It is like an unfaithful husband bringing his wife a bottle of perfume or a box of candy to try to appease her, while refusing to stop seeing the other woman.   It is insulting for him to imply what he has done is that unimportant.  It was insulting to God for the Jews to go completely against Him, then try to appease Him with such meaningless gifts.    They are not acceptable.  God is going to cause situations to arise where they might stumble or fall, and observe what happens.  When they do he will use the actions against them to destroy them, like a woman who caught her husband in another affair.   

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