Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - June 27
- If My People's Hearts Are Humbled
- Trust and Obey
- JOY (Responsive Reading)
- In the first 9 verses of chapter 16 Jeremiah is told not to do 3 things.1. Do not marry (1-4)2. Do not go to funerals (5-7)3. Do not go to parties (8-9)Why not?Essentially it’s because the Babylonians are coming to kill them (Jer 16:16-17 ), steal their stuff (Jer 17:3) and take the rest off into captivity (Jer 17:4).So, as a sign to the rest of the people that this is no time to start raising a family, go to parties, or even mourn the lost, Jeremiah is instructed to essentially live like a social outcast.Now, let’s dig a little deeper into why he’s told to live this way. Jeremiah 16:2 says “Do not marry of have sons or daughters in this place...”Jeremiah 16:3–4 (CSB)For this is what the Lord says…they will die from deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried but will be like manure on the soil’s surface. They will be finished off by sword and famine. Their corpses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land.OK, so don’t get married because your wife and your children are going to die awful deaths. God is telling Jeremiah things are going to get so bad it won’t be worth it. The dead wives and children won’t even be mourned or buried.But why not grieve for the dead? Why not even go to a funeral?“For this is what the Lord says: Don’t enter a house where a mourning feast is taking place. Don’t go to lament or sympathize with them, for I have removed my peace from these people as well as my faithful love and compassion.” This is the Lord’s declaration.Don’t even go to a funeral because God has removed his peace, his faithful love and compassion. God’s not sorry that they are getting what they deserve and neither should Jeremiah be.Besides, in the day of judgment there will be more important things to worry about than funerals.“Both great and small will die in this land without burial. No lament will be made for them, nor will anyone cut himself or shave his head for them. Food won’t be provided for the mourner to comfort him because of the dead. A consoling drink won’t be given him for the loss of his father or mother.Again, why not? Because things will be so brutal that their normal way of life will be completely disrupted. If people are being rounded up like animals and herded off into captivity they aren’t going to be concerned about being civilized. It’ll be every man for himself.And it’s the same reason Jeremiah shouldn’t go to dinner parties. There’s no reason to celebrate when everyone around you is dying.Verse 8 says, “Do not enter the house where feasting is taking place...”For this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: I am about to eliminate from this place, before your very eyes and in your time, the sound of joy and gladness, the voice of the groom and the bride.Since God’s wrath is upon them there is no reason for joy. When our lives are doomed and our children are about to die it seems a little inappropriate to throw a party.In chapter 17:4 God saysJeremiah 17:4 (CSB)For you have set my anger on fire; it will burn forever.Now the point is if we have set God’s anger against us because of how we’ve been living there is nothing worth doing except getting right with God.If we aren’t trusting in Christ, the Day of Judgment is coming and we should stop everything. Forget about getting married. Stop going to parties. Don’t even go to funerals.Get right with God.So, what does getting right with God mean?It means we need to admit what we’ve done wrong and repent.But this is easier said than done especially when we don’t know what to repent of. And as we see with the Israelites, they didn’t know what their problem was, so God tells them...“When you tell these people all these things, they will say to you, ‘Why has the Lord declared all this terrible disaster against us? What is our iniquity? What is our sin that we have committed against the Lord our God?’Now, I really don’t think they honestly wanted to know the answer, but God gave them one answer anyway.Then you will answer them, ‘Because your ancestors abandoned me—this is the Lord’s declaration—and followed other gods, served them, and bowed in worship to them. Indeed, they abandoned me and did not keep my instruction.What’s their sin? Individually, and corporately they followed, served, and worshiped other gods.Their sin was idolatry and each generation was getting worse...You did more evil than your ancestors. Look, each one of you was following the stubbornness of his evil heart, not obeying me.So, instead getting better, each generation was getting farther from God’s commandments.The sin of Judah is inscribed with an iron stylus. With a diamond point it is engraved on the tablet of their hearts and on the horns of their altars,They were breaking the very first commandment (and all the commandments) that God, then Moses, chiseled into stone: “Do not have any other gods besides me” (Exodus 20:3).Their disobedience had permanent consequences for them and their children (Jer 17:2) and there is nothing they could do to change it because they’d commited the worst of all sins.Idolatry is the worst of all sins because at it’s core it seeks to steal glory from God, glory that he alone deserves. We steal glory from God and give it to ourselves.And as the worst sin, it deserves double punishment.I will first repay them double for their iniquity and sin because they have polluted my land. They have filled my inheritance with the carcasses of their abhorrent and detestable idols.”So to get right with God means to acknowledge and repent of committing idolatry, the worst of all sins.What is idolatry? Of course it’s making and then worshiping idols, but it’s more than that as Paul says.Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient,All of these sins are a form of idolatry but especially greed. Greed is the desire for acquiring more and more. Greed is desire to be satisfied by things other than God.So, idolatry, like greed, starts in the heart. An idol could be a boyfriend or a girlfriend. It could be a desire to be recognized. It could be a hobby. It could be a desire to have a beautiful house.And idolatry is extremely dangerous because God is going to pour out his wrath upon the idolatrous. That’s what chapter 16 of Jeremiah is describing— the consequences for idolatry. Judgement has already happened for Israel but God’s wrath will also be poured out upon everyone who is idolatrous.Since God deserves to be our greatest joy, when we find Him to be boring and irrelevant we not only offend him, we too make him angry against us.Now there are two wrong responses to being told that we are idolatrous people: 1. “I’m not that bad of a sinner and God will just forgive my sin because I’m not as bad as so-and-so” And 2. “I’m so bad, that I could never be forgiven.”The right response is to admit we are the worst kind of sinner, repent of our idolatry, and trust that Christ’s sacrifice is powerful enough for even the chief of sinners.If we do then, God promises salvation from the nations, salvation from all the evil ways of the nation we live in and from those around us.“However, look, the days are coming”—the Lord’s declaration—“when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of Egypt,’ but rather, ‘As the Lord lives who brought the Israelites from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’ For I will return them to their land that I gave to their ancestors.The days are coming when the remnant of God’s people will be fully restored. This has already partially happened with Israel's return to Jerusalem, but there will be a greater fulfillment for all of God’s people when we inherit the entire earth.Compared to the Exodus from Egypt the return from Babylon was even better. But even more wonderful still will be the return home for all those who have salvation in Jesus Christ.Remember, the promise to Abraham was that in him “all the peoples on earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12:3) and that hasn’t fully happened yet.So there is a promise to be rescued from the nations but their is also a promise of salvation for the nationsJeremiah 16:19 (CSB)Lord, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in a time of distress, the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth.Salvation will come for all nations and they will seek after God from all the ends of the earth.And this salvation for all nations will start when they admit their idolatrous past...Jeremiah 16:19–20 (CSB)And they will say, “Our ancestors inherited only lies, worthless idols of no benefit at all.” Can one make gods for himself? But they are not gods.Imagine a time when our leaders, when our entire nation, recognizes that our past has not been filled with greatness but with idolatry. We like to think of ourselves as a great nation and compared to other nations perhaps we are. But other nations aren’t the standard and when God looks at this nation he sees a lot of idol worshipers even among his own church.So, imagine a time when, all nations, not just the United States will confess that we loved our idols more than we have loved our Creator.For this to happen it will take a great miracle, it will take an act of God.“Therefore, I am about to inform them, and this time I will make them know my power and my might; then they will know that my name is the Lord.”Only God’s power is strong enough to overcome our resistance to repent of our idolatry. Naturally we are self-worshipers, we are a nation of self-worshipers but God is going to save the nations so that all will know that he is the mighty and powerful Lord.And for those of us that already know and trust in Jesus as Lord, we are no longer social outcasts. Those that have been saved don’t need to act like Jeremiah, the social outcast.Instead we encourage Christians to get married because marriage points our our greater “marriage” to Christ (Eph 5:32). Getting married, and staying married, is a wonderful thing for Christians to do.But Christians don’t have to get married, of course because it’s a temporary institution. As it says in Matthew 22:30 there won’t be marriage in heaven. And Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 says staying single even has a spiritual advantage for those who are called to serve Christ in unique ways.But because we’re saved we don’t have walk around in gloom and doom fearing the world is coming to an end and that their will never be enough time to live a full and meaningful life. We aren’t called to be social outcasts.We aren’t called to avoid funerals either. Funerals for a Christian are a time of weeping and rejoicing (Romans 12:15). We weep, as Christ did for Lazarus (John 11:33) but not without hope (1 Thess 4:13). For those who know Christ a funeral can be a joyful experience.And we aren’t called to avoid dinner parties. God honoring parties are a time for celebration. We don’t party the way the world does but Christians, of all people, ought to be celebrating constantly.Jeremiah lived as a social outcast because of what his country was experiencing and in many ways our country is like Jeremiah’s. So, should we be like Jeremiah in this case? No, because we belong to Christ and a better kingdom.So Christians should be continually expressing the joy we have in Christ. Potlucks, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. can and should all be celebrated for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).But the best celebration of all is when we partake of the Lord’s Supper together because it’s a time when we not only celebrate what Christ has done but also anticipate his return (Rev 19:9).Next, week we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper, but for now let’s be thankful that we don’t have to live like social outcast. We belong to Christ and his kingdom, and his kingdom is one of peace and everlasting joy.
- Hallelujah! What a Savior!
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