A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH

God Does Not Overlook Sin

Jeremiah 5 SCC 9/25/16

 

ENTRENCHED SIN CONTROLS YOUR LIFE DESTROYING ANY RESISTANCE TO IT

Take note of the descriptions of the entrenched sin of Judah. They refused correction, repent v 3. They were poor, foolish, and ignorant v 4. They broke, stormed Godís standards v 5. They forsook God v 7. They were very treacherous v 11. They were liarís v 12. They were senseless v 21. They were stubborn, rebellious v 23. They were guilty v 25. They were full of deceit v 27.

Verse 1-3: God sent Jeremiah out to roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem v 1. He was to see if you can find a man, if there is one who does justice, who seeks truth. If he could find even one, on his "scavenger hunt," the Lord promised to pardon the city. But Jeremiah could not find even one. Instead he found hypocrisy v 2. They said the right words, but they were lies. They showed no respect for Him by breaking their promises made in His name. They refused correction v 3. They have made their faces harder than rock refusing to repent.

Application: God looks for one person who will stand for Him; Noah (Gen 6:5-6), Abraham looking at Sodom for the righteous (Gen 18:22-33), Ezekiel, a contemporary of Jeremiah, wrote that God said, ďI searched for a man among them who should ... stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no oneĒ (22:30). In your family, among your friends, God is looking for one person to stand for Him and His righteousness. Does He see you or does He find no one?

Verse 4-6: Jeremiah, as he searched for righteous people in the city, initially concluded that only the ignorant and foolish ordinary citizens were blind to God's ways and laws v 4. But as he continued to investigate, he discovered that the informed leaders among the people had also rebelled against the Lord v 5. So God would judge the leaders and the people for their sin against Him v 6. The people would become prey for their savage, animal-like enemies. When they later tried to flee their towns, the foe would devour them. The reason they had transgressed Godís covenant greatly.

Application: The more you have received from God, the more itís expected for you to know the way of the Lord. Whatever amount of knowledge, to know it and disregard it is rebellion and blame.

Verse 7-9: God asks two questions of Judah: Why should I pardon you v 7. Shall I not punish you v 9. God makes the answers obvious: The first reason is idolatry v 7. The second reason is adultery v 8. So God would punish Judah for her idolatry and her adultery.

Application: God does not overlook sin. His justice demands punishment for sin. The nature of justice is such that God is always correct in his treatment of good and evil. And evil is treated correctly when it is punished. Otherwise there is not such thing as justice. Jesus death was punishment for sin.

 

RATIONALIZING THIS SIN IS AN ATTEMPT THAT BREEDS FALSE SECURITY

Verse 10-13: Speaking to the invading soldiers that He would use to judge Judah, the Lord instructed them to prune His vine v 10. However, they were to leave a remnant. Both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms had behaved treacherously toward the Lord v 11. They had lied about Him, saying that He would not judge them by sending misfortune, war, or famine to touch them v 12. In other words, they denied Godís warnings about judgment. There were many prophets in both kingdoms whose alleged prophecies were nothing more than hot air v 13.

Application: So as at the flood, Sodom, and the Second Coming, the evil ones would be taken, stripped away like dead branches, and Godís faithful remnant is left. Both Israel and Judah lied about the Lord and said: Not He, or He is not, which seems to be a denial of God and His power. Misfortune will not come upon us. Very similar to what Satan told Eve, surely you will not die when God had said, surely you will die. Itís a denial of the consequences of sin and a denial that God has the power to carry out the judgment. Treating sin cavalierly or as if it is trumped by love or tolerance.

Verse 14-19: His words would consume them in the sense that they would result in the people's destruction if repentance did not follow v 14. The destroyer would come from a distant nation not some nearby nation. This enemy nation was old and enduring. Babylon traced its origins back to Babel v 15. The enemy soldiers' yawning quivers would be like open graves in that their arrows would slay and send them to other large openings: graves in the ground v 16. These soldiers would devour and demolish everything that they owned and trusted in for security v 17. In spite of such a thorough destruction, the Lord promised not to wipe out His people completely v 18 (v 10). When the people asked Jeremiah for an explanation, he was to tell them that since they had forsaken serving God, and had worshipped idols in His land, the Lord was sending them to serve strangers in the land of those idols v 19.

Application: God seems to bring judgment that matches the sin. If you want to worship idols so badly, then you can do so as a form of judgment in a land that does exactly that. You can go live there and do so but as a result of judgment, a consequences of the sin. If you want some sin so badly, you may get what you want but as an extension of the rebellion that sin is against Godís ways.

 

INEVITABLY SIN BLUNTS ABILITY TO SEE TRUTH COMPOUNDING GUILT

There were three aspects to Judah's failure:

The expression of perversity (v 20-25)

Verse 20-21 Jeremiah was to command them to hear even though they were foolish and heartless, blind and deaf to the Lord. So you are still responsible to hear Godís Word even if ignoring it.

Verse 22 Should His people not fear Him and tremble before Him since He sovereignly controlled the untamable sea? He was the One who sovereignly controlled the borders of nations. They had not observed the sovereignly ordained borders for their behavior, spelled out in the Mosaic Law, and chaos was the result. So God expects his expectations to be understood and applied.

Verse 23 God's people had proved stubborn and rebellious turning aside, departing from the Lord and His covenant. So corruption begins within and eats its way out into actions, decisions and outcomes.

Verse 24 The Canaanites believed that Baal controlled the rains and fruitfulness of the land, and Jerusalem had adopted that viewpoint. So replacing Gods way is the result of not fearing God.

Verse 25 The people's sins had resulted in God withholding the blessings of nature from them, as well as other good things. So the reasons for sinful blindness is mainly moral rather than intellectual.

The execution of injustice (v 26-29)

Verse 26-28 Many (they 11 times) in Jerusalem had wickedly tricked their neighbors accumulating wealth thru deception putting fellow Israelites in their debt, robbing and caging them like birds. These social bullies had grown fat at the expense of their neighbors. So wickedness is self absorption, that is, increasing at the expense of others.

Verse 29 Again the Lord asked rhetorically if punishment for this type of conduct was not just (cf. v 7, 9). Of course it was. The answer is so obvious it is not even answered directly but implied directly.

The acceptance of deception as reality (v 30-31)

Verse 30-31 The Lord announced that an appalling and horrible thing had happened in Judah v 30. The prophets did not deliver the Lord's messages, but instead preached what the people wanted to hear v 31. The priests conducted worship as they thought best, rather than as the Lord had specified. But instead of revolting against these hypocrites, the people loved their leaders apostate behavior. What would they do in the end the Lord asked? They could not avoid His judgment in the end for their breach of covenant. In other words, what else is left for them but the judgment that is being sent.

Application: Paul told the Ephesian elders, I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore, be on the alert... (Acts 20:29-30). Perhaps the most deceptive thing the enemy can do is have a traitor among our midst to lead us away from the truth. But you are responsible to be on the alert and not be deceived. When you are with believers, especially if you are receiving teaching, is the time to be most alert. Paul warns, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths (2 Timothy 4:3-4). The warning is there for us today!

So What?

1. Some sin will have to be constantly fought against because it is entrenched. Mostly sin of youth.

2. Nipping at it leaves you more vulnerable to future deception about it. It must be slain.

3. The warning is that prolonged sinfulness will make compromise seem legitimate.