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King of the Nations, Lord of All - Jeremiah 25:1-14

The entire world is spiritually deaf to the preaching of the Gospel apart from the grace of God. When even the most blessed of all the nations of the world hate God, then what hope is there?

Jeremiah 25:1-14; Habakkuk 1:13; Luke 13:34, 17:26-30; 2 Peter 3:4-7; Acts 7:51-53&57; Matthew 13:15; Zephaniah 1:1-6

Mar 24, 2013 12:00 PM

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To begin today, I want to say how much I appreciate a congregation that appreciates the preaching of the word of God.  Even preaching through long books of the Bible.  Even long Old Testament books like Jeremiah.  And how you at least try to pay attention do not appear to resent it when we read long portions of the text.  I believe this is true of you because you understand this really is the word given to us from God.  You understand that the reading of Scripture and our meditation upon it is vitally important.  You love God’s word.  You understand it was by means of the preaching of the word of God that you were saved.  So you understand the necessity of reading and studying the Bible.  For that I am very, very grateful.  Your attitude in all of this is a great blessing to me.

We have been studying Jeremiah’s prophecies for some time now and I believe for many of us it has resulted in a much better understanding of the Old Testament in general, and the history of the Jews in particular.  Oftentimes Christians think the Old Testament has very little to offer us beyond the first three chapters of Genesis and some disconnected stories about slingshots and giants and lion’s dens and big fish and a boat filled with cute animals.  But in our study we have found out much about the nature of God and men in these pages.  One thing that stands out most prominently from these pages is God’s holiness and His absolute hatred for sin.

Jeremiah has preached the same message to the people of Judah for many years, a message that could be summed up in three words: Repent or perish.  But he is not the only one who has preached this.  Others before him preached it as well.  One very clear and powerful example is in the seldom consulted book of Zephaniah.

1 The word of the LORD that came to Zephaniah the son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.

2 "I will utterly sweep away everything from the face of the earth," declares the LORD. 3 "I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubble with the wicked.  I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth," declares the LORD. 4 "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, 5 those who bow down on the roofs to the host of the heavens, those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom, 6 those who have turned back from following the LORD, who do not seek the LORD or inquire of him." (Zephaniah 1:1-6 ESV)

Sounds like Jeremiah, doesn’t it?  And like Isaiah.  And like all the prophets.  Yet the response from the people is always the same: they do not seek the LORD or inquire of Him.  Look with me please at Jeremiah chapter 25.

1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (that was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem:

3 "For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, to this day, the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. 4 You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the LORD persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets, 5 saying, 'Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever. 6 Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.' 7 Yet you have not listened to me, declares the LORD, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm. (Jeremiah 25:1-7 ESV)

All the prophets were involved in deaf ministry.  Not the physically deaf, but the spiritually deaf: You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear. But this isn’t restricted to the Old Testament.  In the New Testament we see exactly the same thing:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!  How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (Luke 13:34 ESV)

For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.' (Matthew 13:15 ESV)

In Acts 7, at the stoning of Stephen, he reminded the Jews of their deafness toward the prophets and the word of God:

51 "You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit.  As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute?  And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it."

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him.  57 . . . they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. (Acts 7:51-53&57 ESV)

And they murdered him.  Like the prophets before him, and like the Lord Jesus.  Not only were they deaf toward God during the New Testament period, but to this day, and even unto the end of the world, men and women will be intentionally blind and deaf toward the word of God:

4 They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:4-7 ESV)

An intentional rejection of the truth.  Even with this sure word of prophecy, even with the historical record of multitudes of prophetic words fulfilled to the finest detail,

26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot--they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all-- 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30 ESV)

For millennia, people have consistently spurned the word of God, being persistently deaf toward His prophets.  People of all races and nationalities have always wanted nothing to do with what God says.  That includes this nation.  Our society as a whole wants nothing to do with the God of Scripture.

Apart from a repeat of the miraculous ministry of the obnoxious prophet Jonah, it will be that way until the day when the Son of Man is revealed, when the Lord returns in His glory with all His holy angels to judge the entire world.  On that day all the people of the earth will listen because they will be forced to do so.  But then it will be too late.  Apart from saving grace, fallen men and women are deaf to the word of God.  Therefore they are also utterly faithless, which is the one thing necessary in order to be pleasing to God: Men must believe what He has said.

The Jews did not believe the words of Jeremiah ever.  The people of Jerusalem not only did not believe him, but hated him for the things he said, things that would have saved them from destruction had they listened.  But since they would not believe his words, God would show them the truth of Jeremiah’s words:

8 "Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words, 9 behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction, and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10 Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (Jeremiah 25: 8-14 ESV)

They wouldn’t listen before, but NOW they will listen!  Now they will be forced to acknowledge the truth of Jeremiah’s prophecies and they will repent and believe!  Right?

No.  The time is up.  The day of repentance and deliverance is over.  Verse 11 - I will devote them to destruction. Verse 13 - I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. It is over.  And notice how this happens:

behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the LORD, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant . . .

But if God is against the wicked, if He hates sin so much, then why would he use an idolatrous, pagan king like the King of Babylon to do this?  Are not the Chaldeans even worse than the people of Judah?  Yes, they are.  And this was exactly the question of yet another Old Testament prophet, Habakkuk:

13 You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he? (Habakkuk 1:13 ESV)

“The Babylonians are worse than we are!  But You’re going to use THEM to punish US?”  Yes.  But . . .

12 Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste. 13 I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations. 14 For many nations and great kings shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands."

Beloved, do you understand the futility of all of this?  Do you see the lesson being portrayed in the big picture here?  God sets apart a people, a nation for Himself and blesses them with His word, and with prophets to speak to them the words of God.  But they are perpetually deaf to His words.  They will not hear, they will not submit, they will not obey.

So God raises up a godless nation (which could have been any nation in the world since only Israel worshipped the true God), calls for the king of that nation to come and destroy God’s own belligerent and stubborn people, and then, after 70 years are finished, God calls for another godless and pagan king to come and destroy the first king.

What is wrong with this picture?  Everything!  If this is the way God operates, then eventually everybody is dead.  If His own people are deaf to His words, and He destroys them and those who do the destroying because they enjoyed doing so in their wickedness, then don’t you eventually run out of nations?  Don’t you eventually run out of people to destroy?

THIS IS THE HUMAN CONDITION!  And this is why God must save us.  Obviously, we cannot save ourselves.  OBVIOUSLY, when even the most blessed of all the nations of the world hate God, then what hope is there?  How will men be saved from the wrath of God when all men everywhere always turn a deaf ear to His word?  How can it be that the entire world is perpetually in the same condition as it was in the days of Noah?

5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them."

The world is constantly in that state, except for the grace of God at work in the hard hearts and deaf ears of men.  If God did not save us from ourselves, from our deaf and blind and dead condition, we would all suffer His righteous and indignant wrath.  If God had not set Noah apart, if God had not rescued Lot, if God had not set aside a remnant of the people of Judah, if God did not work in wicked people who inherently love darkness over the light, absolutely all would be lost.

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:19-21 ESV)

People love the darkness.  But God does work in the hearts of men.  God does call people to repentance and faith.  God is merciful and kind and gracious.  God does not deal with all men as their deeds deserve.  God has not dealt so with you and me!

6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him.  (Jeremiah 27:6 ESV)

But eventually, the LORD will cause this proud King Nebuchadnezzar, the virtual ruler of the world, to be LIKE the beasts of the field.  Not long after he destroys Jerusalem at the bidding of the Lord Jesus, it will be the Lord Jesus who will humble him.  The prophet Daniel spoke to Nebuchadnezzar with these words:

O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, 25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. (Daniel 4:24-25 ESV)

It is Christ Himself who commands the kings of the earth to do his bidding.  They are all servants, slaves of the great King of Glory.  They are tools in His hand for the accomplishing of His own good pleasure and for the building up and the tearing down of nations.  The LORD will send for Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful man in the world, to come and destroy His deaf and wicked people, the people of Jerusalem.  And the LORD Jesus Christ will bring that evil king to his knees.

Beloved, this is why Jesus is called the King of Kings. On that day when He rode into the city of Jerusalem on that little donkey with the people shouting His praises and proclaiming Him to be their King, little did they know that this humble Man was the sovereign King over the entire universe!  He is the King over all kings, and the Lord over all lords who will one day come to judge the earth and bring to an end all revolt and all rebellion and all sin.  He will create a new nation and a new world wherein only righteousness dwells.

And every person whose ears have been unstopped, and whose hearts have been recreated by His grace will share that new and eternal life with Him.  Listen to Him now.  Believe in Him now.  Jesus Christ is Lord over all.  Repent and trust in His death for your sake to save your soul from death.


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