Give God Your Ear
Jeremiah 17 SCC 1/1/17
THE REASON WE CHOOSE SINFUL PATHS IS BECAUSE OUR HEARTS ARE DECEITFUL
Our sin is entrenched 1-4
17:1 The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus...with a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart. These were hard instruments used to chisel words onto stone. The indictment against Judah for her deeply ingrained sins was written permanently on the people's hearts. It stood etched there also figuratively, on their most prominent places of worship, the pagan altars throughout the land. Rather than blood, on the horns of the brazen altar in the temple courtyard, testifying to the people's commitment to Him, the Lord saw their sins staining the horns of their pagan altars.
17:2 The people of Judah thought of their idols as frequently and as lovingly as they thought of their children. An Asherim had been placed in God’s Temple by King Manasseh (2 Kings 21:7), though he later removed it (2 Chronicles 33:13, 15). It was put back into the Temple after he died because King Josiah took it out during his reforms and burned it in the Kidron Valley outside the city (2 Kings 23:6). After Josiah’s death, the people resumed their idolatry (Ezekiel 8:10). These pagan gods competed with God on the hills, in countryside and in Jerusalem and the Temple.
17:3 Jerusalem, or Mount Zion, stood like a mountain surrounded by countryside. Normally a city on such a site would be secure from invaders. But God would turn over His people's wealth and treasures, and their pagan places of worship to their enemy.
17:4 They would voluntarily let the inheritance that God had given them, their land, drop into their enemy's hands. They would serve this enemy in a strange land because they had aroused the Lord's anger by their sin. The irony is clear: Judah has forsaken her covenantal inheritance. Therefore, God will abandon Judah to her enemies and exiled.
Application: The idolatry which God condemned was never abandoning the worship of God, it was the inclusion of other religions along with the worship of God. Paul said all these religions were from demons (1 Corinthians 10:20).
Our hearts turn from God when we need to trust 5-8
17:5 God announced a curse on anyone who trusts in flesh rather than in Him. It’s the default when we need immediate help. Turning away from Him (abandoning His covenant) brought His curse.
17:6 The person who would trust in man rather than in God would experience a dry, unproductive, and lonely existence, like the dwarf juniper of the desert. Salty land lacked fertility and life. Like a bush, short-term, In the desert, where no one sees it or cares for it. Three ‘wills’ and your out!
17:7 The Lord also announced a blessing on anyone who trusts in Him, namely, all who acknowledge Him as their Lord and surrender to Him. Who so hard to trust in and the Lord? Suspect we think we know better what is in our best interest. God might not cooperate or be on time or understand.
17:8 Such a person would experience a constantly growing and fruitful life. He or she would enjoy stability, confidence, freedom from anxiety even in trying times, and a consistently radiant testimony. The difference between a bush and a tree is its root system. A tree can outlast a drought, and continue to bear fruit, whereas a bush cannot. Blessed is the man who (1) trusts in the Lord and (2) whose trust is the Lord. For he will be...like a tree, long-term, planted by the water, desired, planted and cared for, that extends its roots by a stream, watering the roots giving health to the tree and fruit, and will not fear when the heat comes, because the roots are still getting water, but its leaves will be green, indicating a healthy tree, and will not be anxious in a year of drought, which effects the surface, nor cease to yield fruit, for the benefit of others.
Application: The key is in the roots, the depth, not the fruit. There can be no fruit without good roots. Grow in your knowledge and understanding of the lord your God and your relationship with Him, and you will produce the fruit of the Spirit.
Our hearts are deceitful or depraved 9-11
Since the ways of blessing are clear, why would anyone choose the path of sin? Because the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick v 9. Jeremiah even wondered, who can understand it? God answered, I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind v 10. Therefore, only God can give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds. Nothing is hidden from Him, so He is the proper One to judge.
17:11 It is possible to earn a fortune unjustly, like a partridge that incubates the eggs of another bird. But such a fortune is fleeting and such a person is really a fool. The adopted baby bird will fly away its foster parent. So, ill-gotten wealth leaves the one who does not earn it, ends up looking like a fool.
Dwell on Gods glory 12-13
17:12 The true place of worship for God's people since Solomon's time had always been the temple in Jerusalem. The ancients regarded this temple as God's throne on earth.
17:13 God Himself was the hope of His people. Consequently, all who forsake Him will suffer humiliation. The Lord keeps a record of those who turn away from Him. It seems to be a sort of comparison in 17:1 the sin of Judah is engraved with a diamond point on the stone tablet of their heart. Those people’s names are written in dust, when the wind comes, they will be blown away.
Application: Our names are written in the Book of Life, where they will never be erased (Exodus 32:32- 33; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27).
Stay focused on Gods mercy 14-18
17:14 The prophet prayed to God, the One he praised, for healing and deliverance. He prays for his life situation as it is—precarious, terrifying, jeopardized, and threatening. Been there?
17:15 They kept asking Jeremiah for evidence that what he was predicting would happen. They implied that because his prophecies had not yet materialized, they would not. As the people have attacked Jeremiah, he now understands how God feels about the people, who have turned away from Him.
17:16 Jeremiah vindicated himself by citing three things. 1, He knew that the Lord understood that he was not eager to escape his calling (most of the time), 2. he did not enjoy announcing judgment, and 3. his messages had not come from his own mind but from the Lord.
17:17 Since God was Jeremiah's refuge from criticism and discouragement, the prophet asked Him not to frighten him (by appearing to desert him).
17:18 He prayed for God to humiliate his persecutors but not to humiliate him. The experience Jeremiah had had in his calling seemed to contradict the truth, that trust in the Lord brings blessing; for his preaching of God's word had brought him nothing but persecution and suffering. Therefore, he prays the Lord to remove this contradiction. Now Jeremiah’s prayer is, “crush them with twofold destruction!”.
Application: Similar to what they say to Peter about the End Times (2 Peter 3:4). Where is the promise of his coming? There will always be those who ridicule from Noah to you!
DEMONSTRATE YOUR FAITHFULNESS TO GOD BY OBEDIENCE TO HIS DESIRES
17:19-20 The Lord commanded Jeremiah to station himself at the gates of Jerusalem, where the king and the people passed by. The prophet was to call the kings and people to listen to the Lord's message that he had for them.
17:21-22 The Lord commanded His people to observe the Sabbath Day as the Mosaic Covenant specified. They were to refrain from carrying loads in and out of their houses and city or doing any work. This was the test.
17:23 Their forefathers had not obeyed this commandment, but had become obstinate, and refused to listen to the Lord and to take correction. The Pharisees of Jesus' day went to the other extreme and permitted almost no activity on the Sabbath Day, for which He rebuked them.
17:24-25 The Lord promised that if the people of Jeremiah's day obeyed, He would give them more Davidic kings and officials, who would inhabit Jerusalem and be strong leaders of the people. The city would then enjoy inhabitants forever, rather than experiencing total abandonment by the Lord. Security depended on obedience, and repentance was still possible when Jeremiah delivered this message.
17:26 They would then return to Jerusalem from all parts of the country. They would bring many different sacrifices to offer to the Lord at the temple.
17:27 However, if the people did not observe the Sabbath Day to keep it holy (different from other days), the Lord would consume Jerusalem with unquenchable fire. Notice the prominence in these promises and threats, of the throne of David, the temple, and the city of Jerusalem. These comprised the basic elements of the national and religious life of the covenant people.
1. The reason it is so hard for us to listen to the Lord is because we always think we have a case that can be made otherwise.
2. Obedience is an issue because it means a face off with God between our desires and His. Obedience means we choose Gods desires when they conflict with ours.
3. Self denial is necessary since we often must own the conflict we have created with God about what we believe is in our best interests. Belligerence is indicative of rebellion. Rebellion places us at odds with God; a stance we can take but never win. Just ask Judah.
4. Our heart must be guarded very carefully, deliberately or else it will deceive us with affection for what God hates and justify it without guilt. Soon we will worship idols with adoration.