Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - May 23
- You Are My All In All
- God Will Take Care of You
- CHRISTIAN LOVE (Responsive Reading)
- (Jer 13:1-27 )There are many paradoxes in life— Our greatest strengths are often our greatest weaknesses. Failure leads to success. The only thing that is constant is change.Another is that the best things in life can also be the worst. For example, think about relationships. They can bring us much joy but they also bring unimaginable heartbreak and hurt.And still another example is social media. Social media can be the best tool when used in a balanced way to stay connected with others. But paradoxically it seems the more we use it the more disconnected we become from others.So even though our world has more constant communication now than ever it also has more people feeling depressed and isolated.Mankind it seems has a knack for taking the best things and turning them into the worst things.In Jeremiah 13:1-27 God gives us 5 more examples of this.1. Linen Underwear (1-11)In verse 1 God told Jeremiah to head out to the nearest store and buy some linen underwear.This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy yourself a linen undergarment and put it on. But do not put it in water.”In other words, don’t bother washing it before you put it on because it’s just going to get soiled anyway.So I bought underwear as the Lord instructed me and put it on.Linen underwear wasn’t a regular part of an average person’s wardrobe because linen was expensive and usually only worn by the priests and kings. It was a good thing, though. It was the best.Now, as an object lesson, God told him to do something unusual with his brand new underwear.Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: “Take the underwear that you bought and are wearing, and go at once to the Euphrates and hide it in a rocky crevice.”So Jeremiah did what he was told and after a long time had passed God told him to go back and get it.So I went to the Euphrates and dug up the underwear and got it from the place where I had hidden it, but it was ruined—of no use at all.The beautiful, expensive linen garment was ruined. That’s not surprising since God had Jeremiah stick it in a rocky crevice where it was exposed to the weather for at least several months.But what’s the meaning? The meaning is that God wanted his people to be the best. He wanted the best of relationships with them. A linen undergarment is an intimate article of clothing that represented God’s best for his people.But the best became the worst.These evil people, who refuse to listen to me, who follow the stubbornness of their own hearts, and who have followed other gods to serve and bow in worship—they will be like this underwear, of no use at all.The best became the worst. Because of their stubbornness, the people had become completely useless.There is a prophetic interpretation with this verse having to do with Israel making foreign alliances. Israel had a bad habit of making treaties with her enemies against God’s will. So, taking the underwear to the Euphrates, which was in a foreign land, is a symbol of how Israel had stopped trusting in God alone.That’s a good reminder for us. When we trust in money, our special talents, our family, our government, or anything other than God, then we too become useless—like linen underwear stuffed in a rocky crevice.We have been created to be in a beautiful relationship with our Creator. That’s God’s best for us. But when we trade it in for idol worship we take the best and turn it into the worst.2. Wine (12-14)Now before we get to verse 12 we need to acknowledge that the Bible takes a generally positive position toward wine as a drink if used in moderation.Jesus turned water into wine so the people at the wedding could drink more. He didn’t say alcohol is evil and you shouldn’t be drinking (John 2:1-11). And in Mark 14:25 he said he looked forward to drinking wine in the kingdom of God. “Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”So it shouldn’t be at all surprising to us that God says in verse 12,“Say this to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every jar should be filled with wine.’ Then they will respond to you, ‘Don’t we know that every jar should be filled with wine?’From God’s point of view, it’s just common sense that every jar should be filled up with wine. Not milk or water or any other liquid, but wine. And the more jars that are filled with wine the better.But, like always, mankind has a way of ruining what is good, and to illustrate the point God says,And you will say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am about to fill all who live in this land—the kings who reign for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets, and all the residents of Jerusalem—with drunkenness.Again, the point is that the people are like the jars of wine, a people meant for good but who do incredible wickedness.Now, the Bible is very positive about wine, but no so much about drunkenness. 1 Corinthians 6:10 says no drunkard will inherit the kingdom of God and Ephesians 5:18 tells us “don’t get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.”So the Bible’s clear teaching is that drinking wine isn’t a sin but becoming intoxicated is and those who habitually become drunk without repenting will not inherit the kingdom of God.But this passage isn’t primarily about the use of alcohol. It’s about how God’s people have become corrupted. God’s people are meant to be the best but they’re the worst.3. Daylight (15-17)Daylight is another one of the best things in life that can become corrupted.God says,Give glory to the Lord your God before he brings darkness, before your feet stumble on the mountains at dusk. You wait for light, but he brings darkest gloom and makes total darkness.See, God’s people are meant to walk in the light but instead we stumble around in the gloom. The best time to go for a hike in the mountains isn’t at sunset.The mountains are beautiful if we hike during the day, but once the sun goes down they become a treacherous place to go for a walk.The best becomes the worst.The world in which the Israelites lived was getting darker and darker because of their pride. The more they refused to listen the more they stumbled.They should have known better, but listen to how Jeremiah responds to his people’s stubbornness,But if you will not listen, my innermost being will weep in secret because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, for the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.Jeremiah’s eyes flow with tears. And as we talked about last week, God doesn’t take any pleasure in the direction his people are going either. He doesn’t enjoy disciplining the love of his life. Jeremiah weeps. God weeps.This is a good reminder of how to react to the brokenness in the world. Is our first response to make sarcastic remarks or post comics that ridicule on Facebook? Sadly sometimes it is, but I don’t think these would be the responses of Jeremiah if he were alive today, and I certainly don’t think we honor God by making jokes at the expense of others.OK, so we’ve seen how linen under garments, wine, and daylight are the best things but can become the worst things.4. The Royal Family (18-21)Another thing that went from best to worst was the royal family.Say to the king and the queen mother: Take a humble seat, for your glorious crowns have fallen from your heads.In other words, the king and his mother are going to be knocked off their thrones and removed from power.This was prophetically fulfilled when Jehoiachin and his mother were taken into captivity by the Babylonians (2 Kings 24:15). But there is a broader application for all of God’s people.It’s hard not to think about our own leaders. There’s the Royal family in England with all of it’s centuries of scandals, adultery, palace intrigue, and even murders.And there are the leaders in our own country who set a disgraceful example of pettiness, bitterness, immorality, and dishonesty.Speaking to the leaders, verse 20 says,Look up and see those coming from the north. Where is the flock entrusted to you, the sheep that were your pride?The Royal Family was meant to care for the sheep but they fell so far from their responsibilities that they didn’t even know where their sheep were.The people that should have been the best became the worst.5. A Beautiful Woman (22-27)Lastly, there is an example of a beautiful woman.This woman was once lovely to look at. She used to be pure and faithful but then she willfully, on purpose, became a prostitute and publically shamed herself. Yet, she has little self-awareness about why things aren’t going well for her.And when you ask yourself, “Why have these things happened to me?” it is because of your great guilt that your skirts have been stripped off, your body exposed.And verse 26,I will pull your skirts up over your face so that your shame might be seen.The meaning is God’s people have become a public disgrace flirting and even sleeping around with her many idols. And Israel’s sin is all exposed for the whole world to see as a warning not to follow her path.And this is a good reminder for us. What would we look like if all of our sins were suddenly exposed for the whole world to see?It wouldn’t be a very pretty sight if every idle thought, every prideful, self-righteous action was instantly tweeted out to the whole world.The best has once again become the worst.How long will stay this way?That’s the question Jeremiah asks in verse 27.Your adulteries and your lustful neighing, your depraved prostitution on the hills, in the fields— I have seen your abhorrent acts. Woe to you, Jerusalem! You are unclean— for how long yet?For how long? The best has become the worst and we look around us and know it’s true. But is this all there is? Will we always be like this?Well, the answer is an utterly hopeless one as long as we continue to insist on cleaning ourselves. How long will we remain unclean? By our own efforts, we will never get clean.That’s the point of verse 23Can the Cushite change his skin, or a leopard his spots? If so, you might be able to do what is good, you who are instructed in evil.We have just as much chance of becoming clean as a leopard has of changing his spots or as a person has of changing their skin color.The point is our sinful nature can’t be changed and we’re stuck with it— unless someone who has power over our sin nature changes it for us.That someone is Jesus. Only Jesus can take the worst and turn us into the best.For example, think about the spoiled linen underwear. In Revelation 19:8 Jesus gives God’s people, people who were once dead in trespasses and sins, fine linen to wear, which he calls bright and pure. The worst becomes the best.In Mathew 26:42 Jesus commited to taking the cup, the wine of God’s wrath if you will, and drinking it. And He did this to offer the new covenant cup of salvation to all who trust in him (Luke 22:20).The worst becomes the best.Jesus also took darkness and turned it into light. John 8:12 says “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life” (See also 1 John 2:8).And regarding the royal family, Jesus takes the poor and destitute and gives them a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8 ; 1 Cor 9:25; 1 Peter 5:4; James 1:12).And, lastly, Jesus takes the prostitute and turns her into a completely pure virgin bride.Revelation 21:2 says,I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.That’s us. God’s people are what make up this city and we are like a pure, perfect bride prepared for her husband. We will be made beautiful, on the inside and the outside and become everything that we were ever meant to be.So how long will we remain unclean? Until we let Jesus clean us. Stop trying to do it all yourself.Take all the worst things in your life, all of the things that are too shameful to even mention, and give them to Jesus. Give your whole self to Jesus and he’ll take the worst and turn it into the very best.
- Since I Have Been Redeemed
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