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Deceitful Judah Grieves Jeremiah - Jeremiah 8:18 - 9:26

The universal abandonment of God by both Jew and Gentile will bring about their destruction by God's hand

Jeremiah 8:18-9:26

Oct 28, 2012 12:00 PM

MP3 audio icon Deceitful-Judah-Grieves-Jeremiah_10-28-2012.mp3 — MP3 audio, 12832 kB (13140898 bytes)

 

Note: This is not a transcript of Pastor Doster's message, but an abbreviated version of what was actually preached.

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“Soul music” was an invention of the black community back in the 60s and 70s.  It should not be confused with Christian music, even tho it sounds like it might have some connection.  Soul music was intended to communicate the heart and soul of black America.  It had a definite “feel”, a peculiar flavor that tended to set it apart from the Top 40 pop music of the day.

James Brown was considered by everyone to be “the Godfather of Soul”.  He may be best known for the very last line in his hit song, Living in America: “I feel good!”

Some years later, Weird Al Yankovic made a parody of James Brown’s hit with his song entitled Living With a Hernia.  And, as you might expect, he ends his song with the phrase, “I feel bad!”

“I feel bad” is an accurate description of Jeremiah in chapters 8 and 9.  But we dare not make light of it.  There was much in Judah for which to feel very bad.  Distraught is a better word.  Let’s read together Jeremiah 8:18 through 9:26.
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Jeremiah 8:18-22
The apparent answer to the first two questions in verse 22 is, "Yes.  There is a balm, there is a physician in Gilead."  Thus the question, "Why are my people still so sick?  Why does He not heal them?"

The symptoms of her illness are her inability to see her own terminal condition. Judah is confident the Lord is with them: "Is the LORD not in Zion?"  Well, of course He is!  "Is her King not in her?  These are rhetorical questions.

And yet, they do realize, in this poetic expression, that something is amiss: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved."  The time for sowing and reaping is over.  Now it is time for a long winter with no food, and we are doomed.  Why has this happened to us?

While they contemplate these things, God is saying to them through Jeremiah and other prophets, "Why have they provoked me to anger with their idolatry?" Their cluelessness is running parallel with God's warnings by His prophets.  They can't put two and two together to realize that the Decalogue condemns them.  This is the same sin which nearly caused God to abandon them at Mt. Sinai (Ex 32:7-10).

Jeremiah 8:18
Here Jeremiah states the condition of his own heart and soul regarding his people: joyless, grief-striken, heartsick.  And he tells why: because they are oblivious to their true spiritual condition.  They are spiritually dead, totally insensitive to the reason for their current dilemna.

Jeremiah 9:1
Do I weep for my people?  Even for my own relatives who do not know the Lord (v3)?  Do I have a heart like Jeremiah's?  And how is it that he has been called by the Lord to this ministry with its endless heartache and the absence of any joy?

We look at our nation and see the foolishness of unregenerate men and women who have very much in common with the people of Judah, and do our hearts break for them?  Or do we simply shake our heads in disgust and long for the day when we do not have to deal with godlessness any longer?

Jeremiah desires to "weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people'. Just this week I have read numerous stories of children and families being murdered.  Children are killing other children.  A policeman in NY is under arrest for attempted cannibalism.  A nanny murders the children under her care.  Even the White House is responsible in some way and to some degree for the deaths of several Americans in Bengazi.  And on and on it goes.

Should we not weep over these things?  Should not our hearts be broken by such atrocities?  Have we no tears to shed when the blood of our children flows in our streets?

Jeremiah 9:2
Because Jeremiah's heart is breaking, he needs a place of retreat, a getaway, a hideaway, to remove himself from those whose sin weighs so heavily upon him.  Like Lot, Jeremiah is vexed by the moral breakdown of his own culture.  In the next verses he describes them all.

Jeremiah 9:2-6
The corruption and wickedness in Judah is universal: "they are ALL adulterers" (v2b); "put no trust in ANY brother" (v4a); EVERY brother is a deceiver" (v4c); "EVERY neighbor slanders" (v4d); "EVERYONE deceives" (v5a); NO ONE speaks the truth" (v5b).
The people have become thoroughly corrupt.  That's what happens when a nation abandons God, and therefore, truth.  They have become like the people of Noah's day: Their thoughts were only evil continually.  All of this because "they refuse to know me, declares the Lord" (v6b).

23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love [mercy - KJV], justice, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)

Steadfast love AV — mercy 149, kindness 40, lovingkindness 30, goodness 12, kindly 5, merciful 4, favour 3, good 1, goodliness 1, pity 1, reproach 1, wicked thing 1  (Total - 248 in KJV)  God delights in practicing mercy, kindness, pity, compassion.  

Justice The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse. 1  Equity according to law, according to what is right, fair and good.  God delights in practicing justice.

Righteousness Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. 2  God says He delights in righteousness.

That is the heart of the problem in Judah, and it is the heart of the problem God has with all men.  The very things God delights in, men hate.  Jeremiah has just given us a description of the people of Judah.  They are murderous, lying, treacherous, deceitful, evil, adulterous, idolatrous, slanderous, oppressive, unloving, unjust, and unrighteous.

13 And the Lord says: “. . . they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, 14 but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them.
(Jeremiah 9:13-14 ESV)

They are determined to be everything God hates.  They do not know Him.  They refuse to know Him.  They cannot know Him because they know nothing of His character.

24 let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me.

So who in Judah has grounds for boasting?  No one!  Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. 5 Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth;

In other words, there is none righteous.  No, not one.  And this extends beyond the borders of Judah.  Notice verses 25-26:

25 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh—26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair3, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.” (Jeremiah 9:25-26 ESV)

Nobody knows the LORD.  The people of Judah refuse to know Him.  The Gentiles have nothing to do with Him.  So the day is coming when a loving, just, and righteous God will bring His own wrath to bear upon all men because all men are strangers to God.  They do not know Him.  They are foreigners to kindness and justice and righteousness.  That is why, on that last day, when all men shall see Him, those who do not know Him, or rather, who are not known by Him, will be terrified.  They will be in the presence of a God who is totally unlike them in every moral way.  He is holy.  We are not.  

Beloved, what would we, us here in this room, what would we do without Jesus?  Where would we be without the love and mercy He has extended toward us?  What would we do on the last day if He had not granted us the righteousness that God requires of us?  What would we do?  What would a just and righteous God do to us, if not for Christ?

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1. http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,justice
2. http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,righteousness
3. Leviticus 19:27  You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.  Leviticus 21:5  They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts on their body. (A command given to the priests as a sign of holiness and consecration to the LORD.)


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