Jeremiah tells us about the “Time of the End”

25 08 2009
Scripture

Observations/Paraphrase

Application

Jeremiah 5 August 25,  2009

The Sins of Judah

1 “Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the Lord .

“Look high and low; search throughout the city!

If you can find even one just and honest person,

I will not destroy the city.

2 But even when they are under oath,

saying, `As surely as the Lord lives,’

they are still telling lies!”

3 Lord , you are searching for honesty.

You struck your people,

but they paid no attention.

You crushed them,

but they refused to be corrected.

They are determined, with faces set like stone;

they have refused to repent.

4 Then I said, “But what can we expect from the poor?

They are ignorant.

They don’t know the ways of the Lord .

They don’t understand God’s laws.

5 So I will go and speak to their leaders.

Surely they know the ways of the Lord

and understand God’s laws.”

But the leaders, too, as one man,

had thrown off God’s yoke

and broken his chains.

6 So now a lion from the forest will attack them;

a wolf from the desert will pounce on them.

A leopard will lurk near their towns,

tearing apart any who dare to venture out.

For their rebellion is great,

and their sins are many.

7 “How can I pardon you?

For even your children have turned from me.

They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all!

I fed my people until they were full.

But they thanked me by committing adultery

and lining up at the brothels.

8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions,

each neighing for his neighbor’s wife.

9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord .

“Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?

10 “Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy the grapevines,

leaving a scattered few alive.

Strip the branches from the vines,

for these people do not belong to the Lord .

11 The people of Israel and Judah

are full of treachery against me,”

says the Lord .

12 “They have lied about the Lord

and said, `He won’t bother us!

No disasters will come upon us.

There will be no war or famine.

13 God’s prophets are all windbags

who don’t really speak for him.

Let their predictions of disaster fall on themselves!'”

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

“Because the people are talking like this,

my messages will flame out of your mouth

and burn the people like kindling wood.

15 O Israel, I will bring a distant nation against you,”

says the Lord .

“It is a mighty nation,

an ancient nation,

a people whose language you do not know,

whose speech you cannot understand.

16 Their weapons are deadly;

their warriors are mighty.

17 They will devour the food of your harvest;

they will devour your sons and daughters.

They will devour your flocks and herds;

they will devour your grapes and figs.

And they will destroy your fortified towns,

which you think are so safe.

18 “Yet even in those days I will not blot you out completely,” says the Lord .19 “And when your people ask, `Why did the Lord our God do all this to us?’ you must reply, `You rejected him and gave yourselves to foreign gods in your own land. Now you will serve foreigners in a land that is not your own.’

A Warning for God’s People

20 “Make this announcement to Israel,s

and say this to Judah:

21 Listen, you foolish and senseless people,

with eyes that do not see

and ears that do not hear.

22 Have you no respect for me?

Why don’t you tremble in my presence?

I, the Lord , define the ocean’s sandy shoreline

as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross.

The waves may toss and roar,

but they can never pass the boundaries I set.

23 But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.

They have turned away and abandoned me.

24 They do not say from the heart,

`Let us live in awe of the Lord our God,

for he gives us rain each spring and fall,

assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’

25 Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings.

Your sin has robbed you of all these good things.

26 “Among my people are wicked men

who lie in wait for victims like a hunter hiding in a blind.

They continually set traps

to catch people.

27 Like a cage filled with birds,

their homes are filled with evil plots.

And now they are great and rich.

28 They are fat and sleek,

and there is no limit to their wicked deeds.

They refuse to provide justice to orphans

and deny the rights of the poor.

29 Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord .

“Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?

30 A horrible and shocking thing

has happened in this land—

31 the prophets give false prophecies,

and the priests rule with an iron hand.

Worse yet, my people like it that way!

But what will you do when the end comes?

God tells Jeremiah to run up and down every street.  Look high and low and see if you can find even one honest person.  If you can, I will not destroy the city.

But even under oath, they lie.

God is searching for honesty.  He struck them, but they ignored them.  He crushed them, but they refused to be corrected.  With faces like stone, they are determined and refuse to repent.

Jeremiah asks, “what about the poor?” They are ignorant and don’t know God’s laws.  So, he went to the leaders of the poor, but they too had thrown off the yoke of God.

So now, a lion from the forest, a wolf from the desert, and a leopard will attack.

Their rebellion is great and their sins are many.

“How can I pardon you?” God asks. “Even your children have turned from me.  They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all.  I fed my people till they were full, but they thanked me by being adulterous.  They were well-fed, lusty stallions.

“Shouldn’t I punish them for this?  Shouldn’t I avenge myself?”

Go down and destroy the vineyards and grapevines – leaving a few scattered ones alive.  These people do not belong to the Lord.  They are full of treachery against me.  They have lied about God: “He won’t bother us,” they said.  “No disasters will come to us.  There won’t be war or famine.  God’s prophets are all windbags who don’t really speak for him.  Let their predictions of disaster fall on themselves.”

Then God says:

“Because the people are talking like this, my messages will flame out of your mouth and burn the people like kindling wood.  I will bring a distant nation against you,” says God.  “It is a mighty nation, an ancient nation – a people who language you do not know – whose speech you cannot understand.  Their weapons are deadly and their warriors are mighty.

“They will devour the harvest, they will devour our sons and daughters, they will devour our livestock, they will devour the fruit – and they will destroy our fortified cities – which make us think we are safe.

But even then, I won’t blot you out completely says God.

And the people ask, “But why did the Lord do all this to us?”

Tell the people this: “Because you rejected Him and gave yourselves to foreign gods in your own land.  Now you will serve foreigners in a land that is not your own.”

Make this announcement, God says:

“Listen to me you foolish and senseless people.  You don’t see, you don’t hear.  Do you not have respect for me?  Why don’t you tremble in my presence?I made it all happen – I created it all.

“But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.  They have turned away and abandoned me.  They do not say from the heart, ‘ Let us live i awe of the Lord our God, for He gives us rain in the Spring and Fall, he brings the harvest when the time is right.

“Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings.  Your sin had robbed you of all these good things.

“There are wicked people who lie and wait for victims.  Like a cage filled with birds, their homes are filled with evil plots.  And now they are great, and rich, fat, and sleek.  There is no limit to their wicked deeds.

“They refuse to provide justice to orphans and deny the rights of the poor.  Should I not punish them for this?”  Says God.  “Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?

“A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land – the prophets give false prophesies, and the priests rule with an iron hand.  Worse yet, the people like it that way!”

“But what will you do when the end comes?”

Like Abraham asking God to not destroy Sodom.  This chapter is filled with references to other stories in the Bible.

God is looking for one honest man.  Someone who is transparent, authentic, real.  Someone who can admit they are a sinner – someone who can testify to the mighty acts of God – especially in their own life.

In his desperation to find honesty – truth – he struck them, but that didn’t get their attention.  He crushed them – but still no repentance.

But what about the poor?  Maybe they will listen?  But due to their ignorance, Jeremiah goes to the leaders of the poor – but they too have abandoned God.

Destruction is on the way.

As I read this passage, thoughts of the end times in Earth’s history flowed through my head.  Adventists have always had a vivid description of the end times.  Persecution, imprisonment, hiding in the hills, trying to escape the authorities.

But we seem to have been lulled into a false sense of security.  Our religious liberty department constantly defends the Sabbath – in the courts, in the legislature, and in the workplace.  We have come to believe that nothing can happen to us because we live in a country founded on freedom.

Sometimes, as we hear the news, we think that time is short.  The economic situation could bring pressure on people to make changes – but we really don’t believe this will happen in our lifetime.

As I read this passage, I thought, what if there were a violent transition of power and authority in the US.  What if our government fell?

We have come to think of ourselves as the most powerful nation – ever.  So the thought that our government could be overthrown, or our country overrun, seems ludicrous to us.  Just as it probably seemed to Jerusalem and Judah when Jeremiah was preaching to them.

But what if it happened?  What if suddenly, there was a revolution, a civil war, a major transition?  What if we were overrun by another country?  What if Russia rose up – or the Middle East?  What if China decided to foreclose?

When I first became a Christian 20-25 years ago, I had visions in my head – a reoccurring dream, of soldiers and troops running through the hills on the Oregon Coast.  The problem was, they were not American soldiers on training, they were an invading army.

I haven’t thought of those images in years.  In fact, I’d pretty much discounted them as a result of too many mind-altering substances, too many violent movies, and an over-active imagination.

But as I read this chapter in Jeremiah, I was reminded of those scenes.  What if we were invaded by a foreign power?  What if?

If God is in charge of sending – or allowing the invaders, who can stop them?  If we were a God-fearing country, and now we’re not, don’t these passages speak directly into who we are?  Is there anything, short of absolute repentance that could stop this from happening?

I see a scenario in my head.  Not an absolute scenario, but a “what if” scenario.  Just as an abstract example, we were invaded by another country?  What if there was a sudden shift in power and authority?  What if, as citizens of a new leadership, we found ourselves lost, broken, destroyed?  What if we cried out for help – to the new government – not to God?  And instead of deliverance, instead we got all the prophecies that we used to preach?  Sunday laws, persecution, imprisonment, ostracizing, the end times?

Prayer

Oh dear God.  Until this morning, I’ve been afraid of losing my house and all the associated “stuff.”  I’ve been concerned about how to nuance the Gospel in a way that would not be offensive.  I’ve been seeking ways to reach the unreached.

Today, I am convicted to get my own house in order.  To be solid, 100% followers of Your Way.

I love you too God.

Original Post here.


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