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Echo Evangelique

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7:30pm Bible Study
8:30am Bible Study
Sunday School
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The Inevitability of God’s Judgment

Text: Jeremiah 15: 1– 9

Key Concepts:

  • When God runs out of patience His judgment will prevail
  • The unrelenting judgment against Judah
  • If God is set against us, who can (or will) be for us?

How relevant is the Old Testament (OT) to the reality of our lives today? Why must we spend time studying a book that seems so distant and immaterial to our present days? How should we receive the message from Jeremiah? The Bible itself provides us with the necessary answers. “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4, NKJV). When Paul wrote this, the New Testament was in the process of being written. Therefore, Paul was referring to the Old Testament. “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them... Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10: 6-11, NKJV). Evidently, the lessons we behold in Jeremiah (and the other OT books) are absolutely pertinent to our lives. God forbids we should just disregard them as if we knew better than the Holy Spirit who put them there for our benefit. Such a dismissive attitude is not what obedience is about. Indeed, we are given examples of what to do and what not to do. For God does not take pleasure in dealing out punishment. However, He will chastise the child He loves (Heb. 12:6). In failing to learn from our predecessors, we risk tasting the same bitter judgment they suffered. Though God is merciful and slow to anger, if we persist in disobedience, He will dish out the punishment we deserve. His grace will not be forever available. And when His judgment is inevitable, He will cease to listen to our pleas.

When God runs out of patience His judgment will prevail

The sad story of Judah’s rebellion led to judgment and anguish. The nation turned from God and ignored the urging of God’s messenger to turn back. The more they persisted in their mutiny against their God, the more they caused their hearts to harden and their love for God to grow cold. They stubbornly persisted in their sinful ways and worsened things by outrightly turning to false gods – a sin that never fails to drive God to anger. Consequently, they rightly earned God’s wrath/judgment. This anger they stirred up caused God to turn His ear from them. Their praying and fasting became useless, for God was no longer listening. In grief over their plight, Jeremiah repeatedly called to God for mercy. But the Lord said to Jeremiah, “’Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me, My mind would not be favorable toward this people. Cast them out of My sight and let them go forth.  And it shall be, if they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you shall tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Such as are for death, to death; And such as are for the sword, to the sword; And such as are for the famine, to the famine; And such as are for the captivity, to the captivity.”’ (Jer. 15:1-2, NKJV). Indeed, the nation was indicted, judged and found guilty and thus condemned to suffer God’s inevitable Judgment. Was it too late to repent? Does God get tired of showing mercy? Yes. Yes. Evidently, God was no longer in the mood to listen to any intercessors. If Moses and Samuel, both messengers of God, both men had who had previously asked for and received God’s mercy for the people (Deut. 32, 1 Sam.7), if they cannot help, who can? What tricks, what manipulation or religious ritual could change the mind of God? None whatsoever! Note also beloved, because God did something once upon a time, does not mean He will choose to do it once more. Let’s not presume on the grace of God. Should you not repent while you still have time? For, regrettably, you may run out time to repent. Why risk His judgment?

The unrelenting judgment against Judah

You may be thinking that you are safe because you don’t have to worry about sword or famine, but what about losing the things you have and cherish? Judgment can take any form. Your health, and prosperity may be ruined. You may prosper financially and yet find yourself unable to enjoy any of it. Your judgment may come in a spiritual way. You may lose your joy, your peace and end up living a stagnant spiritual life. Regardless, you fool yourself if you think you are beyond God’s reach. For surely, sin leads to ruin and misery. Judah’s judgment is one of suffering, shame, indignity, it is humiliating and bitter. ‘“And I will appoint over them four forms of destruction,” says the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag, the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy”’ (Jer. 15:3, NKJV). Obviously, The Lord made of Judah an object of humiliation and disgrace. This should teach us to avoid God’s judgment at all costs. This display of God’s wrath also reflects how revolting sin is to God. The people of God are handed over to pagan nations to be ravaged and humiliated (v. 4). Since Israel was chosen to be a light, a guide to lead pagans to God, it is particularly appalling for them to have God use these nations to penalize them. Manasseh the son of Hezekiah (v4) was an evil king who led Judah to worship idols and participated in child sacrifice. He shed innocent blood. He provoked God’s anger. Since the people surely continued in the evil ways their king encouraged. The consequences of Manasseh’s wicked rule would reverberate through the nation much longer than his reign. Indeed, beloved, when you choose or vote for corrupt immoral leaders (spiritual or otherwise), those who enabled and tolerate them, will pay the consequences. In the end, Manasseh repented and was forgiven by God. However, the consequences of his actions persisted.  Corrupt leaders promote corrupt leadership then widespread corruption and inevitably judgement of both leaders and followers (or nation) pursues.

If God is set against us, who can (or will) be for us?

Judah fell from grace. As the people forsook God, they were in turn forsaken by God. And in forsaking the Lord, they went backward rather than progressing (v6) which confirms the charge of backsliding (Jer. 2:13, 17, 19). How are you progressing in your spiritual walk? Have you lost interest? Have you considered that when you stop growing spiritually, you regress? “Therefore I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you” (v6, NKJV). Has your first love for The Lord grown cold? Has your love for the brotherhood gone cold as well? If so, know that it is not a good sign, know that God may grow tired of waiting on you to repent. Remember beloved that His compassion and mercy have their limits. Being a child of God does not give you a license to do as you please. Freedom in Christ is not a license to live sinfully. The people of Judah were God’s people, God’s children yet God judged and chastised them severely (v7). God being holy and righteous is unable to ignore sins (including the sins of His own people). Though He laments of the state of the nation, God nonetheless rebukes Judah. Likewise, when we refuse to repent, He will harshly judge us. (Afterall, we are studying how He delt with Judah so that we may hopefully learn from their example and avoid the same dilemma.) God Himself will destroy us in His wrath because of our sinfulness and rebellion (vv7-9). When God raises His hand against us, we will be left defenseless and destitute. And naturally, when God is the cause of our calamities, there will be no one else to call upon. There will be none who can rescue and/or restore us. We will then be left “ashamed and confounded” (v9). Terribly, “Her sun has gone down while it was yet day” (v9, NKJV). Evidently, ruin, destruction and anguish will belong to those who choose to remain unrepentant.

In conclusion….

Is it ever too late to repent? If you are reading this, it is not yet too late for you, only if you stop procrastinating, if you stop risking your soul and/or your future. Take the opportunity, repent! If you are reading this, it is an act of mercy from God. For now you know, now you can fall on your knees and beg His forgiveness. Tarry not friends! What should you do when God’s judgment is inevitable? Pray like Habakkuk, “O Lord, … in wrath, remember mercy” (3:1, NKJV). If you haven’t reached the point of no return, forsake your sins and turn to The Lord. You will never regret choosing God over your own selfish urges. Don’t wait until God’s patience with you has run out. “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31, NIV). Rather, find refuge in the Rock of Ages. He will save you from wrath and make you pure. You need not bring anything. Simply cling to His Cross and He will save you.

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