Thursday, July 2, 2015

Like Dealing With An Addict

Jeremiah 9:1-26

 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!  Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.  And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:1-3)

As he looks at the attitudes and actions of Judah, the lord is broken hearted.  His entire head would need to be just water and his eyes like a spigot for him express his feelings about his wayward daughter Judah.  Knowing they will not change.  The Lord would like to have some remote place he could go so he wouldn’t have to see what they are doing.  It is almost like they are addicted to crack cocaine or meth, prostituting themselves, betraying their friends and lying about everything to feed their habit.  They have no interest in the truth, and will commit any crime, totally rejecting and ignoring their family.   

“Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders.  And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.  Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:4-6)

The Lord warns others about Judah like parents warning their friends and relatives about an addicted son or daughter, that they cannot be trusted.  They will take things they no right to, slander their neighbors, deceive everyone around and lie constantly, working at doing wrong.  They live in a dream world and deny reality, refusing to acknowledge those that know the truth because they don’t want to deal with it.    

“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?  Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.  Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?  For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.  And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 9:7-11)

Though he knows they will not appreciate his efforts, God has to take action because he has seen how much Judah has hurt others, slandering and insulting them, taking advantage and lying.  He cannot just ignore what they are doing, because it only gets worse as they are allowed to get by with it.  Though He doesn’t want to, for the sake of others, He will destroy both the mountains and the deserts so that they have no soured of food, and Jerusalem will be destroyed, suitable only for insects and lizards, and other cities will be just heaps of rubbish. 

“Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through?” (Jeremiah 9:12)

God is looking for a person who is able to comprehend what is going on that God can explain it too?  He will be sent to warn Judah and Jerusalem why the land is being destroyed and why nobody does business with them anymore. 

“And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.  I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them.” (Jeremiah 9:13-16)

These things are happening to them because they have turned their backs on the Lord, deliberately disobeying his commands and doing as they pleased.  As a result God will give them misery and bitterness, scattering them among those that hate them and send their enemies after them to destroy them. 
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come: And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters.  For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out.
Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation.  For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.  Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them.“ (Jeremiah 9:17-22)

Judah and Jerusalem will be in sorrow and suffering because God has taken everything from them.  They will be forced to leave their land and death affects every home and family.  They will learn what it means to be sad and lonely.  So many will die they will not even attempt to gather them up and bury them but will just leave the bodies lie. 
Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Instead of focusing their wisdom, or strength or wealth, they needed to learn to focus on knowing understanding God and what he desired.  They needed to understand that he is the God who shows love to his people, gives justice and makes things be right.  Unlike other people and political leaders who are only concerned with their own benefit, God delights in these things. 

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.” (Jeremiah 9:25-26)

God’s people will be punished for their sins right along with those who make no claims to know him.  In fact, I Peter 4:17 states, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”  The Idea that God will pull out all the Christians before he allows judgment to fall has no scriptural precedent or support.  When Israel and Judah sinned they were judged just like the other peoples.  Their circumcision was meaningless since their heart attitude was no different than the uncircumcised. 

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