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Echo Evangelique

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The Depravity of Judah and Justification of Judgement

Part 1

Text: Jer. 5:1-6

 

Key Concepts:

  • The justice of God’s judgment
  • Their backslidings have increased

 

Biblical theology clearly points to a correlation between the reasons for disaster and the severity of charges leveled by God. It is never in God’s plans to surprise us with the consequences of our actions. Hence, warnings of judgement and the opportunity to repent precede judgment. In this chapter, God invites Jeremiah to survey the nation (Jer. 5:1-2). The request is rhetorically formulated meaning that the prophet will not find the answers he is sent after. Jeremiah in answering echoes Abraham in his plea for mercy for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. “’Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”’ (Gen. 18:23, NIV). However God, being holy and righteous, cannot disregard wickedness and rebellion. In His mercy likewise, He could never sweep away the righteous with the wicked. Jeremiah’s appeal reveals his humility, his concern for his people and his knowledge of God’s righteousness. Jeremiah undoubtedly shares in the pain and fear of his people. He is fully aware however that God’s chastisement is justified by the unrepentant attitude of His people whose way of life no longer adhere to God’s holy standards, whose hearts have long departed from God.

The justice of God’s judgment

Jeremiah questioned God about the predicament of the righteous in the upcoming judgment. God in return asked the prophet to ‘“Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her”’ (Jer. 5:1, NKJV). When the Lord Himself is the standard of measurement, there is no such person to be found. Indeed there is no one righteous and faithful enough to measure up. When God announces judgment, punishment or chastisement, the only escape is to repent. Repentance is a call issued to all of us. It is a call to abandon our preferred way of life, a call to stop living according to our own reasoning and satisfaction but to live in obedience to the Lord. It is a call for a complete and genuine detour.  Repentance though cannot be faked for God cannot be fooled. Jeremiah intercedes for the people but knows the depravity of their hearts and wickedness of their lives. He laments the fact that “’They have refused to return”’ (Jer. 5:3, NKJV). The people’s hearts were hardened. Jeremiah himself seems exasperated with the people. “’They are foolish; for they do not know the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God. I will go to the great men and speak to them, for they have known the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God’” (Jer. 5:4-5, NKJV). The ‘great men’ refer to the priests, spiritual and other rulers, prophets. They were the people who should have been leading the people in a godly manner but in fact were equally deprave. The perversion undoubtedly flowed from the leadership – the great men, to the rest of the nation.

Their backslidings have increased.

Jeremiah draws the obviously conclusion, “’But these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds”’ (Jer. 5:5, NKJV). Judah willfully chose her sinful ways over her God. The people were no longer concerns with God’s will or glory.  They walked away from their God willfully. However, when we step away from God’s will, (when we sin or disobey) it leaves us vulnerable to the assault of the enemy.  “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…” (1 Thess. 4: 3, NKJV). Those whom He saved, He made provisions for their obedience. God’s will is not a mystery. “’Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, a wolf of the deserts shall destroy them; a leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many; their backslidings have increased”’ (Jer. 5:6, NKJV). As a result of their rebellion, Judah no longer had God’s favor but rather His anger. The lion represents an invader, while the wolf is the picture of ravenous fierceness. Because God’s judgment is not a pleasant nor a comfortable experience.

In conclusion…

The call to repentance is real and is now. Seize the day. Why would you postpone the only means of avoiding judgment you have? It is God’s desire that we are as holy as He is. God has made it possible to achieve this holiness through His own means. God who calls us to holiness and righteousness is greater than all. He is able. Come to Him as you are, and He will make you all you supposed to be. Come to God in trust and obedience. Whether things are going well for you or not, it’s always the right time to seek the Lord. Fall on your knees and surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. The consequences of sins will follow us like our shadows. It is only by the grace of God that we are still able to repent, and not yet under judgment. You have not gone too far from God, for there are no sins too awful for Him to forgive. Maybe sin has robbed you of all dignity. You may be fearful and worried. Come to the Lord any way you are. Ask God, like the prodigal son, to take you back. Weary traveler, Jesus gives rest, rest eternal and secure. Won’t you come in?

 

 

 

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