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Morning Worship - Sunday 10:30 AM

June 6, 2018

JEREMIAH 3-5

Throughout these few chapters, there are several comparison between Israel and Judah. It gives the idea that they are somehow comparing each other’s sin and that one is somehow better than the other. How many times do we do this? We look at the sin in our own lives and think, “Well at least I’m not as bad as __________!” The truth is, we should be comparing our sin to someone else, but unfortunately, it’s not other people here on earth. We need to compare our sin to God. When we see our sin in light of a holy God, our response is more like Isaiah in chapter 6 of his prophecy. We realize that no matter how good we think we are compared to others, our lives are ruined when we compare ourselves to His greatness. Let’s see ourselves for who we truly are and understand that God loves us in spite of ourselves. He wants us, just as He calls the Israelites here, to repent and follow Him.


JEREMIAH 3

WAGES OF APOSTASY

1 If a man divorces his wife

and she leaves him to marry another,

can he ever return to her?

Wouldn’t such a land become totally defiled?

But you!

You have prostituted yourself with many partners—

can you return to me?

This is the Lord’s declaration.

2 Look to the barren heights and see.

Where have you not been immoral?

You sat waiting for them beside the highways

like a nomad in the desert.

You have defiled the land

with your prostitution and wickedness.

3 This is why the showers haven’t come—

why there has been no spring rain.

You have the brazen look of a prostitute

and refuse to be ashamed.

4 Haven’t you recently called to me, “My Father.

You were my friend in my youth.

5 Will he bear a grudge forever?

Will he be endlessly infuriated?”

This is what you have said,

but you have done the evil things

you are capable of.

UNFAITHFUL ISRAEL, TREACHEROUS JUDAH

6 In the days of King Josiah the Lord asked me, “Have you seen what unfaithful Israel has done? She has ascended every high hill and gone under every green tree to prostitute herself there. 7 I thought, ‘After she has done all these things, she will return to me.’ But she didn’t return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself. 9 Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn’t return to me with all her heart—only in pretense.”

This is the Lord’s declaration.

11 The Lord announced to me, “Unfaithful Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say,

‘Return, unfaithful Israel.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

I will not look on you with anger,

for I am unfailing in my love.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

I will not be angry forever.

13 Only acknowledge your guilt—

you have rebelled against the Lord your God.

You have scattered your favors to strangers

under every green tree

and have not obeyed me.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

14 “ ‘Return, you faithless children—this is the Lord’s declaration—for I am your master, and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds who are loyal to me, and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill. 16 When you multiply and increase in the land, in those days—this is the Lord’s declaration—no one will say again, “The ark of the Lord’s covenant.” It will never come to mind, and no one will remember or miss it. Another one will not be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem will be called The Lord’s Throne, and all the nations will be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord in Jerusalem. They will cease to follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land I have given your ancestors to inherit.’ ”

TRUE REPENTANCE

19 I thought, “How I long to make you my sons

and give you a desirable land,

the most beautiful inheritance of all the nations.”

I thought, “You will call me ‘My Father’

and never turn away from me.”

20 However, as a woman may betray her lover,

so you have betrayed me, house of Israel.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

21 A sound is heard on the barren heights:

the children of Israel weeping and begging for mercy,

for they have perverted their way;

they have forgotten the Lord their God.

22 Return, you faithless children.

I will heal your unfaithfulness.

“Here we are, coming to you,

for you are the Lord our God.

23 Surely, falsehood comes from the hills,

commotion from the mountains,

but the salvation of Israel

is only in the Lord our God.

24 From the time of our youth

the shameful one has consumed

what our fathers have worked for—

their flocks and their herds,

their sons and their daughters.

25 Let us lie down in our shame;

let our disgrace cover us.

We have sinned against the Lord our God,

both we and our fathers,

from the time of our youth even to this day.

We have not obeyed the Lord our God.”

JEREMIAH 4

BLESSING OR CURSE

1 If you return, Israel—

this is the Lord’s declaration—

you will return to me,

if you remove your abhorrent idols

from my presence

and do not waver,

2 then you can swear, “As the Lord lives,”

in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,

then the nations will be blessed by him

and will pride themselves in him.

3 For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

Break up the unplowed ground;

do not sow among the thorns.

4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord;

remove the foreskin of your hearts,

men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem.

Otherwise, my wrath will break out like fire

and burn with no one to extinguish it

because of your evil deeds.

JUDGMENT FROM THE NORTH

5 Declare in Judah, proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:

Blow the ram’s horn throughout the land.

Cry out loudly and say:

Assemble yourselves,

and let’s flee to the fortified cities.

6 Lift up a signal flag toward Zion.

Run for cover! Don’t stand still!

For I am bringing disaster from the north—

a crushing blow.

7 A lion has gone up from his thicket;

a destroyer of nations has set out.

He has left his lair

to make your land a waste.

Your cities will be reduced to uninhabited ruins.

8 Because of this, put on sackcloth;

mourn and wail,

for the Lord’s burning anger

has not turned away from us.

9 “On that day”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“the king and the officials will lose their courage. The priests will tremble in fear, and the prophets will be scared speechless.”

10 I said, “Oh no, Lord God, you have certainly deceived this people and Jerusalem, by announcing, ‘You will have peace,’ while a sword is at our throats.”

11 “At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, ‘A searing wind blows from the barren heights in the wilderness on the way to my dear people. It comes not to winnow or to sift; 12 a wind too strong for this comes at my call. Now I will also pronounce judgments against them.’ ”

13 Look, he advances like clouds;

his chariots are like a storm.

His horses are swifter than eagles.

Woe to us, for we are ruined!

14 Wash the evil from your heart, Jerusalem,

so that you will be delivered.

How long will you harbor

malicious thoughts?

15 For a voice announces from Dan,

proclaiming malice from Mount Ephraim.

16 Warn the nations: Look!

Proclaim to Jerusalem:

Those who besiege are coming

from a distant land;

they raise their voices

against the cities of Judah.

17 They have her surrounded

like those who guard a field,

because she has rebelled against me.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

18 Your way and your actions

have brought this on you.

This is your punishment. It is very bitter,

because it has reached your heart!

JEREMIAH’S LAMENT

19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in agony!

Oh, the pain in my heart!

My heart pounds;

I cannot be silent.

For you, my soul,

have heard the sound of the ram’s horn—

the shout of battle.

20 Disaster after disaster is reported

because the whole land is destroyed.

Suddenly my tents are destroyed,

my tent curtains, in a moment.

21 How long must I see the signal flag

and hear the sound of the ram’s horn?

22 “For my people are fools;

they do not know me.

They are foolish children,

without understanding.

They are skilled in doing what is evil,

but they do not know how to do what is good.”

23 I looked at the earth,

and it was formless and empty.

I looked to the heavens,

and their light was gone.

24 I looked at the mountains,

and they were quaking;

all the hills shook.

25 I looked, and there was no human being,

and all the birds of the sky had fled.

26 I looked, and the fertile field was a wilderness.

All its cities were torn down

because of the Lord

and his burning anger.

27 For this is what the Lord says:

The whole land will be a desolation,

but I will not finish it off.

28 Because of this, the earth will mourn;

the skies above will grow dark.

I have spoken; I have planned,

and I will not relent or turn back from it.

29 Every city flees

at the sound of the horseman and the archer.

They enter the thickets

and climb among the rocks.

Every city is abandoned;

no inhabitant is left.

30 And you, devastated one, what are you doing

that you dress yourself in scarlet,

that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry,

that you enhance your eyes with makeup?

You beautify yourself for nothing.

Your lovers reject you;

they intend to take your life.

31 I hear a cry like a woman in labor,

a cry of anguish like one bearing her first child.

The cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath,

stretching out her hands:

“Woe is me, for my life is weary

because of the murderers!”

JEREMIAH 5

THE DEPRAVITY OF JERUSALEM

1 Roam through the streets of Jerusalem.

Investigate;

search in her squares.

If you find one person,

any who acts justly,

who pursues faithfulness,

then I will forgive her.

2 When they say, “As the Lord lives,”

they are swearing falsely.

3 Lord, don’t your eyes look for faithfulness?

You have struck them, but they felt no pain.

You finished them off,

but they refused to accept discipline.

They made their faces harder than rock,

and they refused to return.

4 Then I thought:

They are just the poor;

they have been foolish.

For they don’t understand the way of the Lord,

the justice of their God.

5 I will go to the powerful

and speak to them.

Surely they know the way of the Lord,

the justice of their God.

However, these also had broken the yoke

and torn off the chains.

6 Therefore, a lion from the forest will strike them down.

A wolf from arid plains will ravage them.

A leopard stalks their cities.

Anyone who leaves them will be torn to pieces

because their rebellious acts are many,

their unfaithful deeds numerous.

7 Why should I forgive you?

Your children have abandoned me

and sworn by those who are not gods.

I satisfied their needs, yet they committed adultery;

they gashed themselves at the prostitute’s house.

8 They are well-fed, eager stallions,

each neighing after someone else’s wife.

9 Should I not punish them for these things?

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Should I not avenge myself

on such a nation as this?

10 Go up among her vineyard terraces and destroy them,

but do not finish them off.

Prune away her shoots,

for they do not belong to the Lord.

11 They, the house of Israel and the house of Judah,

have dealt very treacherously with me.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

12 They have contradicted the Lord

and insisted, “It won’t happen.

Harm won’t come to us;

we won’t see sword or famine.”

13 The prophets become only wind,

for the Lord’s word is not in them.

This will in fact happen to them.

COMING JUDGMENT

14 Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Armies says:

Because you have spoken this word,

I am going to make my words

become fire in your mouth.

These people are the wood,

and the fire will consume them.

15 I am about to bring a nation

from far away against you,

house of Israel.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

It is an established nation,

an ancient nation,

a nation whose language you do not know

and whose speech you do not understand.

16 Their quiver is like an open grave;

they are all warriors.

17 They will consume your harvest and your food.

They will consume your sons and your daughters.

They will consume your flocks and your herds.

They will consume your vines and your fig trees.

With the sword they will destroy

your fortified cities in which you trust.

18 “But even in those days”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“I will not finish you off. 19 When people ask, ‘For what offense has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ You will respond to them, ‘Just as you abandoned me and served foreign gods in your land, so will you serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’

20 “Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah, saying:

21 Hear this,

you foolish and senseless people.

They have eyes, but they don’t see.

They have ears, but they don’t hear.

22 Do you not fear me?

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Do you not tremble before me,

the one who set the sand as the boundary of the sea,

an enduring barrier that it cannot cross?

The waves surge, but they cannot prevail.

They roar but cannot pass over it.

23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.

They have turned aside and have gone away.

24 They have not said to themselves,

‘Let’s fear the Lord our God,

who gives the seasonal rains, both autumn and spring,

who guarantees to us the fixed weeks of the harvest.’

25 Your guilty acts have diverted these things from you.

Your sins have withheld my bounty from you,

26 for wicked men live among my people.

They watch like hunters lying in wait.

They set a trap;

they catch men.

27 Like a cage full of birds,

so their houses are full of deceit.

Therefore they have grown powerful and rich.

28 They have become fat and sleek.

They have also excelled in evil matters.

They have not taken up cases,

such as the case of the fatherless, so they might prosper,

and they have not defended the rights of the needy.

29 Should I not punish them for these things?

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Should I not avenge myself

on such a nation as this?

30 An appalling, horrible thing

has taken place in the land.

31 The prophets prophesy falsely,

and the priests rule by their own authority.

My people love it like this.

But what will you do at the end of it?