Jeremiah’s First Sermon: Judah Sinned Willfully
Verse 1 – Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
Verse 2 – “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
Do you remember when you first became a Christian? Do you still have that same closeness you had with the Lord?
Verse 3 – Israel was holiness to the Lord, the firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,” says the Lord.’ ”
The firstfruits of the harvest were set aside for the Lord (Deuteronomy 26:1-11).
Verse 4 – Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel.
Verse 5 – Thus says the Lord: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters?
God had remained faithful, but Israel had fallen away to worship idols.
Verse 6 – Neither did they say; where is the Lord, who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?’
Verse 7 – I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness, but when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination.
God had given Israel a land flowing with milk and honey, but when they moved in they began to build idols and worship foreign gods.
This is no different from when a church begins to grow rapidly and then the leader or leaders ruin it by becoming greedy or sinful in their actions.
Verse 8 – The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ and those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
The priests and the rulers didn’t teach the people because they themselves had turned to worship false gods.
Verse 9 – “Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,” says the Lord, “And against your children’s children I will bring charges.
Verse 10 – For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see, send to Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there has been such a thing.
God was saying that even the pagan nations were faithful to their gods, but Israel wasn’t.
Verse 11 – Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their glory for what does not profit.
Verse 12 – Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate,” says the Lord.
Though God’s people knew and had seen Him to be the One true God, they had left Him to worship useless pieces of stone and wood.
Verse 13 – “For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water.
A cistern held rain water, so it was limited, but God had given them a fountain of living water that would not run dry!
Verse 14 – “Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered?
Verse 15 – The young lions roared at him, and growled; they made his land to waste; his cities are burned, without inhabitant.
Verse 16 – Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head.
Verse 17 – Have you not brought this on yourself, in that you have forsaken the Lord your God when He led you in the way?
Verse 18 – And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River?
Verse 19 – Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will reprove you. Know therefor and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,” says the Lord God of hosts.
Israel had backslidden. When a person begins to backslide, it doesn’t happen all at once. It starts with little things that are neglected. Then it snowballs into the “I don’t care” attitude. If you’re not going forward with God, check and see if you just might be going “backwards.”
Verse 20 – “For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not transgress; when on every hill and under every green tree you lay down, playing the harlot.
Verse 21 – Yet I had planted you a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?
Verse 22 – For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord God.
The stain of sin went further than the skin, it couldn’t be washed away with soap. Spiritual cleansing has to reach deep into the heart and this is something that only God can do.
Verse 23 – “How can you say, ‘I am not polluted, I have not gone after the Baals’? See your way in the valley; know what you have done: You are a swift dromedary breaking loose in her ways,
Verse 24 – A wild donkey used to the wilderness, that sniffs at the wind in her desire; in her time of mating, who can turn her away? All those who seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they will find her.
God compared His people to animals when search for a mate during mating season. Then they became so comfortable in their sin that they couldn’t think if giving it up! Their only shame was in getting caught.
Verse 25 – Withhold your foot from being unshod, and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘There is no hope, no! For I have loved aliens, and after them I will go.’
That’s about as blunt and straight forward as you can get with telling a people what they had done wrong.
Verse 26 – “As the thief is ashamed when he is found out, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they and their kings and their princes, and their priests and their prophets,
Verse 27 – saying to a tree, ‘You are my father; and to a stone, ‘You gave birth to me.’ For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they will say,’Arise and save us.’
God sarcastically mocked His people for their worshiping a tree.
Verse 28 – But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise , if they can save you in the time of your trouble; for according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah.
Verse 29 – “Why will you plead with Me? You have all transgressed against Me,” says the Lord.
Verse 30 – “In vain I have chastened your children; they received no correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.
A prophet in Jeremiah’s day had to criticize the whomever the king was and his polices. The kings hated the prophets for standing against their polices, and the people often hated the prophets for preaching against their idolatrous life-styles.
Verse 31 – “O generation, see the word of the Lord! Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of darkness? Why do My people say, ‘We are lords; we will come no more to you?
Verse 32 – Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.
God’s people had turned their affection to other things. The more you set your focus on the things of this world, the more you will neglect God.
Verse 33 – “Why do you beatify your way to seek love? Therefore you have also taught the wicked women your ways.
Verse 34 – Also on your skirts is found the blood of the lives of the poor innocents. I have not found it by secret search, but plainly on all these things.
verse 35 – Yet you say, ‘Because I am innocent surely His anger shall turn from me.’ Behold I will plead my case against you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
Verse 36 – Why do you gad about so much to change your way? Also you shall be ashamed of Egypt as you were ashamed of Assyria.
God is not against others helping us because sometimes He’s the One who sends them. However, God’s people went to other sources for what only God could do for them.
Verse 37 – Indeed you will go forth from him with your hands on your head; for the Lord has rejected your trusted allies, and you will not prosper by them.