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9:45 am Sunday School
10:45 am Sunday Worship

Echo Evangelique

(590AM WEZE Boston)
Saturday 9:00-10:00PM
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7:30pm Bible Study
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
9:45am  10:30am

The Sins of Judah: From Devotion to Apostasy

Text: Jer. 2:1-13

Key Concepts:

  • Once upon a time, Israel loved God as a devoted bride
  • Then their love grew cold and they departed from God
  • They changed their glory for that which does not profit


God commanded Jeremiah the prophet to ““Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem”” (Jer. 2:1, NASB). This first sermon of Jeremiah was addressed to four different groups of leaders who were being held responsible for the state of apostasy and idolatry of the people. First, it involved the priests who had failed their duties. It was the priests’ responsibility to reconcile the people to God through their sacrificial rituals. But instead, they compromised and allowed the Canaanite idolatrous religions to infect, infiltrate and influence the belief of the people. The faith of the people then grew corrupted by secularism and indifference. The Levites were the second faction targeted by Jeremiah’s message. They failed at teaching God’s judgement to the people due to their cowardice. Instead, they taught cultural relativism which removed the fear of God from the people. The third group was the rulers who were supposed to be equally accountable to God to encourage proper living. Unfortunately, depravity of the lives of rulers causes equal depravity in the lives of those they rule. Lastly, the message was directed at the prophets of the day who drew their inspiration from Baal. They had then essentially started preaching post modernism. They portrayed truth as a social construct. They denied the objectivity of knowledge and claimed that morality was oppressive but encouraged sentimentality. They asserted that the right to choose matters more than the choice itself. God’s indictment was not only against the nation but against individuals, communities, families. This comprehensive condemnation of Israel remains true through time for the world. And “” whoever listens to [God] will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm”” (Prov 1:33, NIV).

Once upon a time, Israel loved God as a devoted bride

Jeremiah is entrusted with a message of repentance to the nation to bring them back from the brink of destruction. God pleads with His people to return to their former time of piety; “‘I remember the devotion of your youth”” (Jer. 2:2, NIV). God emphatically calls Himself the husband of her youth. From Egypt to Mount Sanai- where the marriage was consummated, the relationship between God and Israel was in the honeymoon phase.  In the wilderness, Israel was a willing and kind bride (Jer. 2:2-3). This speaks to a covenant of attachment between God and Israel. God claimed the nation as His own. They were the beloved that God was leading to a new world and a new life. Israel’s love for the Lord was ardent. She was ready to follow her groom without any hesitation. God was all sufficient to her. In the wilderness, the will of God was Israel’s law. She was separated and set apart to the Lord. Israel was safe and secured in the arms of her lover. And…” all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them” (Jer. 2:3, NIV). The people’s piety flowed from their love and faith in God. Their devotion was an honest offering made from their loyalty to God. God remembers those days. Likewise, He remembers our love and sacrifices at the beginning of our relationship with Him.  Do you remember your first love for the Lord?

Then their love grew cold and they departed from God

We are as guilty as Israel when it comes to betraying God. The world seduces many of us and causes us to choose vanity and vexation of spirit over the one true God.  Where does your satisfaction lie? Some claim to be seeking God when in fact they use God as a means to an end. In truth, they have forsaken God. We are often guilty of ingratitude towards God just as children take their parent for granted. We are also guilty of seeking after God for what He can give rather than for who He is. Instead, we should be seeking after the one who has helped us thus far. The one who has faithfully provided for us up to this point. Our devotion and goal should be to know, love, serve, glorify and enjoy Him forever. Are we instead comfortable with going on for weeks or months without a hunger of His presence? During Jeremiah’s time, it was difficult for the people to go to the temple – the center of life, their meeting place with God. In the temple the priests would remind them of God’s presence and thus strengthen them. The proclaiming of the Word in temple would serve to warn and help prevent God’s judgment by the repentance of the people. For Israel cared too much for their land, their pleasures vanities and sought wholeheartedly after the things of this world. This offended God. ““What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?”” (Jer. 2:4, ESV). The people could not answer this question. They could not justify their betrayal. Have you similarly turned your back to God?

They changed their glory for that which does not profit

God reproached Israel for being fickle and behaving worse than the pagans who are devoted to their idols (Jer. 2:9-11). God raised the issue to cause His people to see the error of their ways. Indeed, it is an issue of value and of virtue not to be devoted to what one claims to believe in. Israel had no religious discrimination. They bowed to everything. They behaved as though they had no convictions of their own. This would lead to the sacrilegious behaviors in the temple that later angered Christ. “” Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water”” (Jer. 2:12-13, ESV). Whereas the heathens were guilty of idolatry, Israel is indicted for much worse. They went as far as abandoning their “fountain of living waters” who provided for their every need, who quenched their thirst for the sake of worthlessness. After all, a broken cistern could only hold dirty and polluted water if at all possible. Obviously, what they sought after could only poison them. Likewise, we often compromise our faith for the sake of a job, an unhealthy relationship, for political affiliations and for petty profits. We embrace shameful things for the sake of popularity.  In the end, our betrayal will only cause us pain, shame and remorse.

In conclusion…

God was indignant over His people’s disappointing behavior. Worthless idols cannot meet anyone’s spiritual needs. Certain teachers you choose for yourself are agents of these idols. Some messages you listen to will not help but rather will contribute to your depression and despair. These are the broken cisterns that do not serve your soul. In the Christian faith, apostasy refers to the process of turning away from God, forsaking a truth you once upheld. It is a departure from God, a falling away from the faith. It is considered in the Bible as an egregious sin. This is not a new issue. Jeremiah witnessed apostasy in his time. Jude refers to it as well. Paul decries it in the church. John also speaks of those who “went out from us, but they were not of us” (1 Jn. 2:19, NKJV). Examine yourself. Consider where you stand in your relationship with God. Apostasy has been a reality in the history of God’s people. It happens because people are vulnerable to what they hear and made to feel. Therefore, beware to whom you choose to listen. The wolves in sheep clothing will only seek to lead you astray. God calls us to repent and follow Him by His grace. Open your heart to the Lord who has called you to Him. He will have mercy upon you. Simply let Him lead your way.

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575 American Legion Hwy
Roslindale, MA 02131
Phone: 617-323-3107
Fax: 617-323-3165
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