Kittredge Community Bible Church
10 AM - May 30
  • God of Our Fathers
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
  • Doxology
  • REDEMPTION (Responsive Reading)
  • Drought has caused a lot of changes in our world and tremendous loss.
    Experts say it was drought that brought about the downfall of the Egyptian Pharaohs making way for the rise of the Roman empire.
    1200 years ago, the Mayan empire collapsed because when water became scarce and then war irrupted.
    The Dust Bowl drought in the 1930’s spread many diseases like the measles, influenza, and Valley Fever. Thousands of people died, and hundred’s of thousands of people became homeless.
    Lesser known, during the same time period drought in China took the lives of more than 3 million people.
    The KJV calls the drought in Judah a dearth — which is a great scarcity or lack of something. And what they lacked was water.
    It was an awful time to be alive. Jeremiah in Lamentations 4:4-5 describes it like this...
    Lamentations 4:4–5 CSB
    The nursing baby’s tongue clings to the roof of his mouth from thirst. Infants beg for food, but no one gives them any. Those who used to eat delicacies are destitute in the streets; those who were reared in purple garments huddle in trash heaps.
    And...
    Lamentations 4:9 CSB
    Those slain by the sword are better off than those slain by hunger, who waste away, pierced with pain because the fields lack produce.
    So, it’s a terrible time to be alive. It was so bad, Jeremiah says the lucky ones were those killed in battle.
    Drought effects everyone. Not even the wealthy are protected. Let’s pick up the story in verse 3...
    Jeremiah 14:3 CSB
    Their nobles send their servants for water. They go to the cisterns; they find no water; their containers return empty. They are ashamed and humiliated; they cover their heads.
    They are ashamed and humiliated because they can’t do their jobs and when you can’t do your job you become hopeless. There’s no hope for the wealthy or for the common person.
    In verse 4 we’re told the farmers are ashamed too. They can’t farm. There’s no rain so there’s no food to feed their families. And all they can do is cover their heads and watch their crops blow away and their loved ones die.
    Perhaps they try to distract themselves with a little nature watching but even the wild animals are suffering.
    Jeremiah 14:5 CSB
    Even the doe in the field gives birth and abandons her fawn since there is no grass.
    And the wild donkeys in verse 6 are so hungry they are starting to lose their eyesight. When that happens death isn’t far away.
    The situation is hopeless indeed. And the question we should be asking ourselves is, how are we to respond when things are hopeless? Let’s look at Jeremiah’s response because there’s some things I think we can learn.

    Jeremiah’s Response

    Jeremiah responds in three ways: he argues with God, he weeps, and he prays. It’s not like he does these things one at a time, in sequential order. He jumps around from one to the other.
    I’m going to present them a little more sequentially, though so bear with me as I take some of the verses out of order. In verse 7 Jeremiah starts to argue.
    Jeremiah 14:7 (CSB)
    Though our iniquities testify against us, Lord, act for your name’s sake.
    Act for your name’s sake, Lord, is Jeremiah’s argument. In other words, Lord, do something! People are starving to death! Do something, if not for us, then for your own reputation.
    Have you ever felt like Jeremiah? I’m sure many of us have.
    Right now there is a Village Missionary family with a 17 year-old son that they just rushed to the hospital. He has cancer.
    There’s another Village Missionary family who had to fly off to New York because their adult daughter OD’ on prescription drugs.
    And there’s places in China where churches are being demolished, homes raided, and pastor’s arrested.
    So, even, today, as we honor the thousands who have died fighting to preserve peace we recognize that tragedy and suffering are still everywhere.
    It seems hopeless and worse, it seems sometimes like God must hate us. Jeremiah feels this way and argues further in verse 19...
    Jeremiah 14:19 CSB
    Have you completely rejected Judah? Do you detest Zion? Why do you strike us with no hope of healing for us? We hoped for peace, but there was nothing good; for a time of healing, but there was only terror.
    In other words, “God, I don’t understand what you’re doing. You promised never to leave or forsake us but it sure seems like that’s what’s happened.”
    Jeremiah says, “We need you, Lord, and yet you aren’t doing anything at all. Maybe it’s because you can’t.”
    Jeremiah 14:9 (CSB)
    Why are you like a helpless man, like a warrior unable to save?
    God, I thought you were all powerful, Jeremiah argues.

    God’s Response

    Listen now to God’s response because from his point of view, he’s not the problem, his people are.
    Jeremiah 14:10 CSB
    This is what the Lord says concerning these people: Truly they love to wander; they never rest their feet. So the Lord does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
    For those that put their trust in Christ we have the promise that God will remember our sin no more but for Judah, who rejects their God, their sins are not forgotten.
    So God’s people suffer, not because of God, but because of their own sinful ways.
    Sin always leads to suffering. Many times we suffer because of our own sins (as in the case of Judah) but often suffering occurs because of the sins of others, too.
    Even though there is a cease fire between Israel and Palestine right now many innocent people have died because of the sins of others.
    While the reasons for the conflict are complicated it’s not hard to understand that it isn’t the fault of the 6-year-old little girl blown up in her apartment from a rocket last week.
    Yes, evil exists but it doesn’t exist because of God. God is not the author of evil, mankind is.
    Evil is our fault. And if God seems far away not doing anything, it’s not because God moved it’s because we did.
    James 4:8 reminds us,
    James 4:8 CSB
    Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
    This what we need to do. We need to draw near to God. Arguing with God, trying to convince Him He’s the problem isn’t the best response to suffering.
    We need to draw near to God. If it seems that God’s far away it’s not because God moved, it’s because we did.

    Lying Prophets

    Of course, if all the preachers around us are saying everything is fine then this is going to be harder to do.
    Jeremiah is making this point in verse 13...
    Jeremiah 14:13 CSB
    And I replied, “Oh no, Lord God! The prophets are telling them, ‘You won’t see sword or suffer famine. I will certainly give you lasting peace in this place.’ ”
    Even though the people are starving and dying, the preachers keep telling everyone it’s all fine. Bad things might happen to others but the really bad things won’t happen to us because we’re God’s people. They cry peace, peace when their is no peace.
    Listen to how God responds to Jeremiah’s in verse 15...
    Jeremiah 14:15–16 CSB
    “Therefore, this is what the Lord says concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name, though I did not send them, and who say, ‘There will never be sword or famine in this land.’ By sword and famine these prophets will meet their end. The people they are prophesying to will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword. There will be no one to bury them—they, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. I will pour out their own evil on them.”
    In other words, these lying prophets who say everything is fine are going to get what they deserve and what they deserve isn’t a pat on the back for being positive.
    So, pray for preachers.
    Pray that God’s minsters won’t shy away from the reality of sin and hell. Pray that they won’t preach false gospels of prosperity or nationalism. Pray that they won’t tell their congregations that everything is fine when it’s not.
    Now, if all of this makes you just want to weep, you’re not alone.

    Weeping

    Jeremiah argued with God but that wasn’t all he did. He also wept.
    Chapter 14:17,
    Jeremiah 14:17 (CSB)
    Let my eyes overflow with tears; day and night may they not stop, for the virgin daughter of my people has been destroyed by a crushing blow, an extremely severe wound.
    Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet because it seems he was crying all the time.
    He had a lot to make him sad. He wept like a father would weep for his own daughter who had been critically wounded in battle.
    It’s like he knelt beside her bedside in the intensive care unit, watching the heart monitor, hoping she’ll pull through.
    Jeremiah wept and naturally, with tears in his eyes, Jeremiah also prayed.

    Praying

    And this prayer of Jeremiah starting in verse 20, has three parts: a confession, a plea for mercy, and a re-commitment to trust in God.
    Confession of Sin
    Remember the situation is grim. His daughter is dying lying in intensive care and the first thing he prays in verse 20 is,
    Jeremiah 14:20 CSB
    We acknowledge our wickedness, Lord, the iniquity of our ancestors; indeed, we have sinned against you.
    The first thing isn’t heal her, it’s confession—confession not just of his daughter’s sins but of all their sins.
    The words wickedness, iniquity, and sinned emphasize that there are all kinds of sin we need to confess.
    There are the sins of doing wrong things and sins of failing to do the right things. There are private sins and public sins. There are sins that act out and sins that only occur in our minds.
    When Jeremiah prayed, he didn’t just confess his own sins he confessed the sins of his ancestors and the whole nation. This is truly remarkable and something we need to think deeply about.
    I wonder what Jeremiah would say to the person who says “I’m not responsible for that. I just work here.” Or how about “I never owned any slaves. I’ve never done anything racist. My ancestors did those kind of things. That wasn’t me.”
    I think that based upon what we read in verse 20, Jeremiah would include himself as guilty instead of trying to pass the blame.
    Now, I’m sure as I say these things, some of us may become defensive, including myself, but I think this reaction is just revealing the problem we all have. It’s a problem of pride.
    I realize the issue of reparations can be a political one and there are not easy answers. But prideful hearts that keep us from repenting as a nation are not part of the solution.
    The problem with pride is that as we resist biblical corporate repentance, for our national sins, our pride keeps all of us from fully receiving God’s mercy, and mercy is what we all need, and it’s what Jeremiah prays for next.
    Plea for Mercy
    Jeremiah 14:21 CSB
    For your name’s sake, don’t despise us. Don’t disdain your glorious throne. Remember your covenant with us; do not break it.
    Again, this isn’t just a selfish plea for mercy. Jeremiah is praying for mercy for all of God’s covenant people.
    Lord, do something for your name’s sake. You made promises, God, so show us mercy, not because we deserve it but because you are good God who keeps his covenant.
    In New Testament terms we would say, show mercy to us for the sake of Christ who suffered and died on the cross for all our sins.
    When we pray, remember that prayers asking God to do something for our sake are weak prayers but those that ask God to act for the sake of His own glory are powerful. Praying for the sake of God’s glory is essentially what it means to pray according to the will of God and every prayer prayed according to the will of God will be answered.
    Yes, God cares about even the relatively trivial things in our lives but we would do well to remember Jeremiah’s example of praying for God to be exalted in what we ask for. Maybe our prayers will become less selfish and more Christ exalting.
    Let me give you an example that I’ve been thinking about. Today is Memorial Day, and it’s a day our country gives honor to those American soldiers who died fighting for this nation’s independence and continued freedom.
    So, today is a day of prayer and remembrance for those who have made sacrifices.
    But today is also the Lord’s Day and so we come here this morning as fellow members of a much larger kingdom that includes people from all nations and tribes trusting in the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for our eternal freedom.
    So as Christians, as we pray this Memorial Day, we should pray not for our nation to be glorified but for God to be glorified. And God is most glorified not when we boast about our own strengths, and the sacrifices we have made, but when we confess our weaknesses, our inabilities.
    So, Jeremiah pleas for God to be merciful, not because of our goodness but because of his. Memorial Day isn’t just a day to be thankful for those who have died. It’s a day, I think from a Christian perspective, to acknowledge that our ways don’t work. Look at all the thousands and thousands of lives that have been lost for freedoms sake. There has got to be a better way. That’s what being a part of God’s kingdom is all about.
    As I read chapter 14, I can imagine Jeremiah being accused of being unpatriotic. The people would have much rather heard the message from the lying prophets about how great a nation they were instead of how sinful they were.
    And, eventually, the people killed Jeremiah for the message he brought them, but it was the truth. The drought was upon them. Jeremiah pleas for mercy but God had determined that it wasn’t Judah’s time for mercy but their time for suffering.
    And in times like these what else is there to do but trust in God? So, that’s what Jeremiah does.
    Re-commitment to Trust in God
    Jeremiah 14:22 CSB
    Can any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Or can the skies alone give showers? Are you not the Lord our God? We therefore put our hope in you, for you have done all these things.
    See, we can put our hope a nation, in a politician, in our family, or even in ourselves but none of these things will ever relieve of us of physical or spiritual drought.
    Put your hope in Christ. He is the only one who made the ultimate sacrifice and the only one who can give us lasting forgiveness, and healing both personally and as a nation.
      • Lamentations 4:4–5NASB95

      • Lamentations 4:9NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:3NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:5NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:19NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:10NASB95

      • James 4:8NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:13NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:15–16NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:20NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:21NASB95

      • Jeremiah 14:22NASB95

  • I Sing the Mighty Power of God

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