A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
You Can’t Get Away with It
Jeremiah 8-9:16 SCC 10/16/16
IN THE END ONE IS STILL ACCOUNTABLE TO THE GOD HE IS IGNORING
Verse 1-3: At that time when Babylon attacks, even the dead bones of those who died before the fall of Jerusalem will not escape v 1. When the invasion from the north came the Lord declared, the enemy soldiers would dig up the bodies of kings, princes, priests, prophets, and ordinary citizens. Thus they would add insult to injury. They will be brought out of their graves exposed to the elements they had once worshipped, the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved, and which they have served...and which they have worshipped v 2. The enemy soldiers would expose these bones to the sun, moon, and stars, which Judah had loved, served, followed, consulted, and worshipped. Worship of astral deities was popular in the days of Manasseh (2 Kings 21:3; 23:4) and later revived after Josiah's reforms (Ezek. 8:16). The land would resemble a boneyard, because there would be few, if any, survivors from Judah to gather up the bones for burial. They will not be re-buried but they will be as dung on the face of the ground, a total disgrace. And those alive will want to die rather than live v 3. The scattered remnant who survived the invasion would consider death a more desirable alternative than life as displaced persons.
IGNORING GOD IS RESULT OF SPIRITUAL COMPLACENCY SETTING IN OVER TIME
Verse 4-7: The Lord commanded Jeremiah to ask the people if it was not normal to repent after sinning. Do men fall and not get up again? Does one turn away and not repent v 4? Of course they do. Why then has this people, Jerusalem, turned away...in continual apostasy...hold fast to deceit...refuse to return v 5? This was irrational behavior. God heard them but what He heard was not right. They refused to acknowledge their sinful ways nor repent of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” v 6. They were headed for trouble, like a horse rushing headlong into battle. Even the birds of the sky observe the time of their migration knowing when it’s time to return north or return south. They did do not know the ordinance of the Lord, that it was time to return to God. Judah had even less wisdom than a bird v 7! They did not see that it was time for them to change the direction of their lives.
Verse 8-12: Judah said, “We are wise” because the law of the Lord is with us v 8. The people were claiming that they knew God's Word and were obeying it. The lying pen of the scribes has perverted the law of God. They were following a lie rejecting the word of the Lord, so what kind of wisdom do they have v 9? This rejection of God’s law was from the least even to the greatest; from the prophet even to the priest. Since everyone, from the least to the greatest, lived for money and persisted in their deceit, the Lord would give their wives and fields to new owners, namely, the invaders v 10. Jeremiah was continually saying Babylon and destruction was coming, but the false prophets were saying, “Peace, peace,” But there is no peace. Of course, these are just words v 11. They heal the brokenness of My people superficially. It made them feel better for a little while. But it was a lie. They were not ashamed of this lie or their conduct v 12. Over time ignoring God had deceived about their relationship with him.
SPIRITUAL COMPLACENCY HARDENS AND BLINDS ONE TO IMPENDING JUDGMENT
Verse 13-17: Jeremiah pictures the coming invasion. They did not know how to blush therefore; God would punish the nation by taking from their harvest v 13. The Lord declared that He would snatch them from their land like snatching grapes, figs or leafs from branches. Jeremiah invited his fellow countrymen to go with him to the walled cities where they could resist the invader for at least a little longer before they perished. The people would flee to the cities, but it would do no good v 14. The people had waited for peace assuming it was on the way. Instead, "terror" had overtaken them v 15. There will soon be terror as Babylon comes into the country from the north, by Dan v 16. The people living at Dan, Israel's northernmost city, heard the army coming first. The whole earth shook because of the number and strength of the advancing army. This army's objective was to consume everything in the land, including Jerusalem and its citizens. He compares it to God sending poisonous snakes who will bite them v 17. They were incapable of comprehension.
THE FAITHFUL UNDERSTAND THE APPROACHING CALAMITY & WEEP & GRIEVE
Verse 18–9:1: The prospect of this catastrophic invasion overwhelmed Jeremiah with sorrow v 18. The people are crying from the distant land of Babylon. They ask, “Is the Lord not in Zion?” v 19. He could hear his people in captivity crying out bitterly. They would be longing for Jerusalem where their God was, their true King. But the Exile is not a result of an absence of God, it’s because the people provoked Me with their graven images, with foreign idols. It’s too late v 20. The time for divine deliverance had come and gone. The Lord had left them exposed to judgment. Jeremiah was all broken up over the spiritually broken condition of his people v 21. There is no balm in Gilead to heal the people v 22. Gilead, east of the Jordan River, was famous for its healing balm. Jeremiah loved his people so much that he wished he had more tears to shed for those of them that had died v 9:1.
THE SHAMEFUL DEPRAVITY COMPLACENCY BREEDS DESERVES THE CALAMITY
God makes His case for deserving the calamity to come upon His people. They broke the agreement.
Verse 2-6: Jeremiah longed for a place of retreat in the wilderness where he could go to get away from
his fellow countrymen (1 Thess 4:11) v 2. Their spiritual adultery and treachery repulsed him. Ten things God says against Judah: (1) They assassinated people with their words, which they used as arrows. (2) Lies and not truth prevail in the land v 3. (3) They proceed from evil to evil. (4) “They do not know Me,” declares the Lord. (5) They cannot trust any brother because every brother deals craftily v 4. (6) Every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. (7) Everyone intentionally deceives his neighbor and does not speak the truth v 5. (8) They have taught their tongue to speak lies. (9) They weary themselves committing iniquity. (10) “Through deceit they refuse to know me” declares the Lord v 6.
Verse 7-9: Lord promised to put the Judean sinners through a refining process and to assess their value v 7. Knowing Judah’s sin, God asks, “What else can I do?” ... “Shall I not punish them for these things?” ... “On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself?” People greeted their neighbors amicably on the streets, but in their hearts they intended to harm them v 8. God’s grief is caused not only by what the people have done to him but also by what they have done to each other v 9.
Application: Jesus speaks the truth and is the Truth (John 14:6). God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Satan is the father of lies and deception (John 8:44). Deception is a theme we see over and over in Jeremiah. What makes a person be deceived? Not knowing God, speaking evil of your neighbor, greed, being satisfied with a superficial solution, a pattern of lying you teach yourself to do.
WHEN CALAMITY ARRIVES IT WILL DESOLATE AND DESTROY YOU & YOUR LIFE
9:10 The Lord took up a lamentation on behalf of the land that suffered because of His people's sin. The coming invasion would leave the land deserted, even by cattle and birds. Jeremiah was describing a future event as though it had already past.
9:11 The Lord would make Jerusalem a wasteland where jackals would prowl freely without fear of human interference. He would also make the other cities of Judah uninhabited desolations.
9:12 God called for some wise person to step forward, someone who could explain the reason for the land's coming desolate condition. God originally used the land as a bridge to increase their wealth.
9:13 The Lord Himself provided the answer to His own question. His people had abandoned His covenant with them, had not walked in its commandments, and had not paid attention to His messages to them. The Israelites had promised to do these things at Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:4-8).
9:14 Instead the people had followed their own desires and the Baals, just like their ancestors. "Stubbornness" was one of their chief sins. When people stubbornly refuse to do right, the time comes when they cannot do right.
9:15 Because the people were stubborn, the Lord promised to feed them with wormwood (instead of honey), and to give them poisoned water (instead of milk) to drink (Deut. 29:18; Matt. 27:34
9:16 He would also scatter them among nations that would be unfamiliar to them and their forefathers. Violence would follow them until the Lord had annihilated them.
1. What matters for you is what you think of God. You ignore Him to your own peril. God takes note.
2. Without regard for God one’s life rushes headlong toward eternal and spiritual oblivion.
3. God who gave you the gift of life will also hold you accountable. Ignoring Him will make it a curse.
4. Aspire to honor God, please God, and enjoying your life knowing that you have to answer to Him.