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Echo Evangelique

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7:30pm Bible Study
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The Depravity of Judah and Justification of Judgment

Part II

Text: Jeremiah 5:7-13

Key Concepts:

  • Why should I forgive you?
  • In the footsteps of those who have gone before us
  • God has every right and reason to judge the unrepentant

 

The book of Jeremiah clearly reveals God’s loathing of sin. It is also evident that God has no tolerance for sin in the lives of His people. Fortunately for sinners, God is patient, although His patience has its limits. God urges His people to repentance and to obtain His forgiveness because He is ‘“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness’” (Ex. 34:6, NIV). However, Judah paid no heed. The people, who knew God but deliberately turned from Him, foolishly persisted in their idolatry and adultery. While the nation still considered themselves ‘the people of God’, they were living like pagans. Likewise today, church-people (people who call themselves Christians), who are exposed to the Word of God, ignore His plea for repentance but continue to live in sin. Presently God could ask us the same question He asked faithless Israel, ‘“why should I forgive you”’? (Jer.5:7, NIV).

Why should I forgive you?

We fool ourselves if we think for a moment that we are better than unfaithful Israel. Indeed, God could level the same charges against us that He punished Israel for. Changing our culture and society would require that we stop compromising God’s Word. The Word needs to be preached truthfully to keep us from drifting away from the Lord. Why did God not forgive Judah? Because Judah had forsaken God “’ and sworn by gods that are not gods…”’ (Jer. 5:7, NIV). Israel owed her prosperity to The Lord. Nevertheless, the people chose wickedness over righteousness (Jer. 5:8). In fact, their prosperity caused their hearts to grow cold towards God. The leaders and elders failed to teach the new generation by their example. Consequently, the younger generation was guilty of idolatry and adultery, while the leaders were guilty of dereliction of duty among other things. They did not make the best use of their evil days (Eph. 5:15-16). What hope of a better future do our children have if we do not teach them? Indeed leaders, parents and elders have a responsibility to the younger ones. After all, we will be held accountable by God for them. The human mind is naturally inclined toward wickedness, teaching the next generation the righteousness of God is their only hope. Like Jeremiah, we must be devoted to train them in righteousness so that they can avoid God’s judgment. Immorality and wickedness have invaded our pews, our homes and our nation. We must not remain blind to the danger.

In the footsteps of those who have gone before us

Judah turned against her covenant God to rush head long towards her destruction. God compared them to animals, to beasts with no care or restraints (Jer. 5:8). Today our society is no better. Those who should teach wisdom to the younger ones, only seek to corrupt them further. Our children are targeted and pressured by the world to pursue the immorality of the world. The philosophy of the world teaches them that immorality and the self are to be celebrated. It teaches them the way of hedonism through entertainment. If they are not taught otherwise, how are the young ones supposed to know that they consequently have the “Sword of Damocles” hanging over their heads? Shall we turn a blind eye as God’s judgment falls on our children and neighbors? Surely not! The prosperity, that should have led Judah to God, did not bring on her gratitude and godliness but rather depravity. However, Judah refused to give up her rebellion. “’Should I not punish them for this? declares the Lord’” (Jer. 5:9, NIV). Wasn’t it just for God to chastise them? “For this you know that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience’” (Eph. 5:5-6, NKJV). Those who practice or condone such lifestyles are not children of God. Clearly, Judah’s punishment was not only righteous, but it was justified. For sin and unrighteousness have no place in the Kingdom of God. Those who choose to live like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah will be judged.

God has every right and reason to judge the unrepentant

Israel betrayed the terms of their covenant with God regardless of the marvelous things God had done for them. Judah who was supposed to be the choice vine of the Lord, turned into a wild vine (Jer. 2:21). As a result, they were delivered to be ravaged by invaders.  After all, a wild vine will not produce fruit if left alone. The people mocked the prophets who were sent to warn them rather than changing their ways. Out of their hatred for God, they turned deaf ears to His messengers. But God in His mercy preserved a remnant (Jer. 5:10-13). As judgment, God turned His people over to the same foreign gods they had bowed to. Those who exchange the holiness of God for the filth of this world, are ordained to such a fate. Paul reports, “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Rom.1: 24-25, NKJV). As children of God, we should never tolerate nor perpetuate wickedness. In Jeremiah’s time, the people practiced child sacrifice, adultery, fornication, among other things. Our society today teaches us to do as we please, to fulfill our sensual urges and inclinations however we see fit. In fact, these things are legal. If you are not doing these things but know of those who are, you have a responsibility to say something. We should never agree to be complicit in the evil of the world. By speaking up, you may save a life.

In conclusion…

Israel was unfaithful to her God. Judah convinced herself that her time of reckoning would not come. The people foolishly denied the impending judgment of God. like Eve, they believed the contradicting whispering of the Enemy of their soul. “’You will not surely die”’ (Gen. 3:4, NKJV). However, they were unwilling to listen to the messengers that God sent to them to warn them of the danger that was looming over them. They made the grave mistake of removing their sight from God and veering their gaze towards the other nations (pagan nations). “’The people of Israel and the people of Judah had been utterly unfaithful to [God])’” (Jer. 5:11, NIV). Only a few, a remnant, heeded the alarms. The nation remained unmoved. Since many who are calling on the name of the Lord are not truly His; those who will be spared the judgment of God are those who do the will of God. Unconcerned, the people mocked the prophets and accused them of lying so that they could ignore their message (Jer. 5:12-13, 2 Chr.20:14, Hos. 9:7). For they no longer feared God. They insulted the true prophets while listening to the false prophets who were lying to lull them into a false sense of security. But like Jeremiah, we must insist on the sharing the truth with the world. The prophet preached for forty two years, though only a few listened. God persisted for the sake of His remnant. Pray that you are part of this remnant. For judgment is coming. God also offers grace and mercy for those who come to Him. He wants to save you.

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