A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEERMIAH

The Danger of being Unfaithful to God

Jeremiah 2 SCC 8/28/16

 

IT IS POSSIBLE TO BECOME DISLOYAL TO GOD 1-8

Remember when 1-3

Thus says the Lord; I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth...your following after me in the wilderness. When the Israelites left Egypt, she had times of disobedience, but generally, she was a nation who followed God (Ex 14:31). Israel was holy to the Lord. Holy is set apart for God (Ex 19:6; 11:31), like the first of His harvest (Lev 23:9-14), chosen to be the first nation to worship God. He would bring disaster against anyone who came against her v 3.

Application: Remember the devotion you had to God? Is there more or less devotion now? Our devotion to God can constantly be in jeopardy. The spirit of the age infiltrates our heart and minds.

My How Things Changed 4-8

Here is a message for Jacob and Israel, both guilty of unfaithfulness v 4. What injustice did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, walking after emptiness to become empty v 5?

Godís Record: (1) God brought them up out of Egypt-from bondage, slavery, humiliation; (2) God led them through the wilderness. Not just any wilderness but thru deserts, pits, drought, deep darkness, and uninhabited territory v 6. This implies dangerous and a potentially life threatening experience. God brought them into the fruitful land v 7.

PT: God often leads his people through the desert rather than from it. It can be a dry, scabbing, parched experience personally financially, relationally, professionally, and spiritually. Like Israelís 40 yrs of desert, he has purposes that only this laboratory can accomplish. Itís a time of tears, sorrow, loss, doubt, fear, panic, trust, faith, prayer, creating dependence upon Godís faithfulness if applied correctly.

Israelís Record: But you came and defiled my land making it an abomination v 7. First, The priests did not say, where is the Lord? Second, and those who handle the law did not know me. Third, rulers transgressed against Me. Fourth, prophets prophesied by Baal. Instead of declaring Godís words of rebuke and correction, they got the people to follow worthless idols, such as Baal (a Canaanite idol god of fertility; 1 Kings 18:18-40; 2 Kings 10:18-28; 21:1-3). None of this was profitable at all v 8.

Application: Donít blindly follow leadership. Think for yourself. You will appear alone before God. It is us who move, not God. For example, God came to Eden, but Adam was hiding.

 

DISLOYALTY TO GOD HAPPENS WHEN THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD

Building a Case 9-13

Therefore, I will yet contend with you declares the Lord v 9. Contend means ďto bring charges againstĒ, like a court case or lawsuit. God wants them to observe how the other lands are faithful to their idol gods who are not even real gods v 10-11a. But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit v 11b. God is a God of profit. There are essential benefits for Israel by staying with their God. This is so outrageous, such an appalling affront against their Creator that it must horrify the very heavens v 12. For My people have committed two evils v 13. (1) They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters. Natural springs, with their cool, clear running water were the most dependable and satisfying water source in Israel. (2) To hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Cisterns were large pits dug into the rock and covered with plaster. If the cistern developed a crack, it would not hold any water at all. So to turn from a dependable, pure stream of running water to a broken, brackish cistern was idiotic.

Application: There is no life in any personal, professional, or religious substitute for God. It is a dead end. Lifeless. Boring. Enslaving. Undependable. There is no genuine profit. Illusory pursuits.

Only humiliation before enemies and fake friends 14-19

Israel has become plunder her riches now vulnerable v 14. Powerful lion-like enemies have laid waste and her cities destroyed by foreign invaders v 15. Egypt (Memphis and Tahpanhes) v 16 has humiliated you in very personal ways. Have you not done this to yourself, by your forsaking the Lord your God, when He led you in the way v 17? Besides forsaking God for false idol gods, they also forsook God by making alliances with other nations like Egypt and Assyria to try to guarantee safety v 18. But no alliance could protect Judah from the results of her sin when God brings judgment on her. Then she will know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God v 19. Sin brings its own punishment and reproof. Sin carried far enough becomes its own punishment and correction. Fundamentally, Israel lacks the fear of Godóa serious flaw that enables forsaking duty to God v 19.

Application: God leads us in ďthe wayĒ of His Word. When you disobey, you will reap what you sow (Gal 6:7-8). You will have ďdone this to yourselfĒ. A fear of God is meant as a deterrent to forsaking him and the carnage that results. You can love God when you agree with Him. You must fear God when you disagree with Him. Otherwise, disloyalty is just a matter of time. He commands full, entire allegiance with no rivals.

 

DISLOYALTY IS SUSTAINED BY DECEPTION LEADING TO SHAME

1. Deception by idolatry I will not serve v 20

God broke off Israelís Egyptian yoke, but instead of serving Him, they acted like spiritual prostitutes, worshipping the idols on the high hills v 20. God planted you a choice vine, but in spite of His care, she became the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine becoming bad stock v 21. Judah was stained before God by her iniquity, and it could not be washed off, even with lye (a strong mineral alkali) or soap (a strong vegetable alkali) v 22.

2. Deception by denial I am not defiled v 23

Judah was like a wild animal in heat v 23-24. She could not be restrained in her lust for the foreign idol gods. Yet she outright denies her idolatrous behavior. God says she is sprawled upon every high hill passionately playing the harlot to gods that do not exist.

3. Deception by addiction it is hopeless v 25

God is exasperated with Israelís seductive addiction to idolatry v 25. Judah credited its very existence to the idols of wood and stone, not to God v 26-27. But when they were in trouble, they had the nerve to ask God to save them. But God said, where are your gods, which you made for yourself v 28? Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of trouble. They had as many gods as they had cities.

4. Deception by abandonment I am free to roam v 31

In a reversal of v 9 where God brought charges against Judah, here Judah brings charges against God v 29. But God said His judgment of them is deserved because you have all transgressed against me. Godís chastening judgment was to bring about correction, but it was in vain because the people refused to respond, even killing Godís prophets v 30. God pleads with the people to give serious attention to the word of the Lord v 31. Has Godís words been unknown, like a wilderness, or unable to be seen, like a thick darkness? So why do the people think they are free, independent of God? He gives an illustration. Can a bride forget to wear her wedding dress v 32? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number. Jeremiah sarcastically said that Judah had become so skilled in the art of pursuing illicit love that even the worst of women could learn new secrets of seduction by observing her perverse ways v 33.

5. Deception by lying I am innocent, I have not sinned v 35

Judah shed the lifeblood of the innocent poor v 34. If these people had been breaking in (caught as a thief), then the one responsible for the death was considered guiltless (Ex 22:2). But Judah kept insisting, I am innocent. Therefore, she would experience Godís judgment, because you say, I have not sinned. Judah kept changing the way she dealt with other nations v 36. But her new alliance with Egypt would be just as disappointing as her last alliance with Assyria because the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust, and you shall not prosper with them v 37. It will all lead to shame twice in v 36. This is where disloyalty to God ultimately leads. Shame will be the result.

SO WHAT?

1. Idolatry is appealing because you get God on your terms and not his. You get to call the shots with the God if your own making. It gives you the autonomy you crave.

2. One wonít dare argue with oneís creator but one can establish his own standards with the gods he creates. Arguing many ways to God is idolatry since one can say with many ways mine too is valid.

3. The existence of one God who calls people to obey His laws ensures accountability something all people seek to avoid.