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Echo Evangelique

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The Depravity of Judah and Justification of Judgement

Part IV

Text: Jeremiah 5: 25-31

Key Concepts:

  • The consequences of impenitence
  • The further we go from God, the more we yield to our own evil
  • Wickedness is pervasive and contagious

Jeremiah has clearly revealed impenitence as worse than sin. Impenitence is a condition of the heart which eradicates the sorrow, shame, remorse and penitence believers feel when they sin (Jer. 5:14-24). Impenitence causes the heart to grow hard (cold and indifferent). Sinners in this condition, rationalize and blame their sins on circumstances or others rather than coming to repentance. Without repentance and confession of sin (as the Bible prescribes) there cannot be forgiveness from God. Since the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23), impenitence leads to our death. The symptoms of impenitence include: blindness to sin, the lack of fear of God, the foolishness to disregard God’s law and the consequences of one’s actions, the lack of understanding and discerning, deafness, the inability to self-examine oneself and ingratitude (Jer. 5:14-24). The pathways to the heart – eyes and ears, can no longer reach the heart. The depravity of Judah consequently justified the judgment of God.

The consequences of impenitence

“Your iniquities have turned these things away, and your sins have withheld good from you” (Jer. 5:25, NKJV). Because of their iniquities, God withheld from them “rain” that would have led to “weeks of harvest” (Jer. 5:24). Indeed sins in the lives of the believer will lead to a loss of God’s favor. Rain may or may not the blessing God chooses to withhold from you. However, it is a biblical fact that sin causes the child of God to miss out on His blessings. Without rain, they could not have their harvest and without the harvest, the people would starve. Sin will lead the Christians to experience a physical, or spiritual, or emotional drought in their lives. Rain and harvest were signs of prosperity. Sadly, the prosperity of the people did not keep them from sinning against God. Although God blesses us with material prosperity at times, physical wealth is not a reliable indication of having God’s favor. God’s blessing is undeniably contingent on our obedience to Him. Sin though removes us from the position of to receive God’s blessings. “‘For among My people are found wicked men; they lie in wait as one who sets snares; They set a trap; They catch men’” (Jer. 5:26, NKJV). The wickedness of God’s people causes Him to withhold His blessings from them.  Any one of us could the source of wickedness that causes God to withhold His favor from our families, churches and communities. These wicked men --politicians, church leaders and people who should be respectable, who are clever enough to set traps form others using their desires, needs and the slight of hands. This denotes the strategy of those who would offer beautiful promises without informing you of the horrible price due.  They will offer such things as freedom, dignity, your personal rights, while camouflaging the wicked cost due for the privilege of these things. Afterall, the devil is very crafty in his entrapments of men (Gen. 3, 1 Jn 2:16). 

The further we go from God, the more we yield to our own evil

The wickedness of the people … “As a cage is full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich” (Jer. 5:27, NKJV). Using vile tricks and treachery, the wicked became affluent at the expense of the vulnerable. Indeed, “They have grown fat, they are sleek…” (Jer. 5:28, NKJV). Instead of helping the needy, the wicked were exploiting them. Wherever there is unrighteousness, fraud, deception and injustice will follow. Evidently the society that turns against God, will experience violence, social injustice, corruption and wickedness.  For there can be no true social justice without the righteousness of God. For, “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people” (Prov. 14:34, NIV). “’Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’” (Jer. 5:29, NKJV). The question of judgment goes to any nation, community, individual who are characterized by wickedness. Since God in His holiness is never indifferent to sin. Indeed, God’s judgment is justified.

Wickedness is pervasive and contagious

“’The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?’” (Jer. 5:31, NKJV). In our days, we are constantly exposed to false prophets who peddle lies, promises, and anything-you-want-to-hear for their own profit. Our televisions are crowded by wicked men who seek to pollute the purity of the Word of God. This happens because such men have big audience who believe in their lies because they get to hear the message of their choice. A message that resonates with them because they do not know God.  These men are the wolves in sheep clothing the Bible warns us of (Matt. 7:15). The Christian is not giving a choice as to whether or not we heed to the Word of God, however. We will not grow in faith if we only listen to what we want to hear. We must learn to differentiate biblical teachings to the false narratives of the world. If we do not learn sound biblical doctrines, what hope of we have of evading the false prophets? If we do not heed and practice the sound doctrines we learn, how then can we challenge the wickedness within and around us? No brethren, Christians do not pick and choose when it comes to the Word of God. Indubitability, Scripture speaks to us all, from Genesis to Revelation. It is no surprise that Jeremiah thinks that “’An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land’” when the prophets are revealed to be liars (Jer. 5:30, NKJV).

In conclusion…

The Apostle John distinguishes between true prophets of God versus the false prophets of the world “They (the false prophets) are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.  We (true prophets) are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 Jn 4:5-6, NKJV). Obviously, the lost will listen to the false prophets, while children of God listens to the God-appointed ones who preach the truth of God. When God decides the time is ripe to judge the world, what will you do? If you ignore the warnings to the point of impenitence, if you choose wickedness, what will you do in the days of judgment? If you buy into the lies of this world, if you let the wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing brainwash you, what will you do then? Are you considering the end? If you do not answer these questions for yourself, the consequences will catch up with you dear ones. Your refuge is in the Lord, the Lord alone. Heed the warning, stop the excuses, no more justifying your sins. Let the Holy Spirit search your heart and repent from what He reveals to you. Repent brethren while there is still time for God’s forgives.

 

***See Ps 139:23-24. 1 Thess. 5:4

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