Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20041117.htm
JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part IV: Prophecies Concerning Judah
D. The Need For A True HEART To Overcome Errant Beliefs
Lesson: Judah's being deceived with her resulting apostasy and consequent divine judgment arose NOT from blame that any individual could place on "somebody else," especially on some leader over them, but from the REBELLION of the HEART of EACH INDIVIDUAL in Judah!
- It is an easily recognizable fact that many people, including Christians, hold to errant beliefs.
- Yet, such a state is not necessary, for errant beliefs start with the individual's heart before they move to the head, and Jeremiah 5:1-31 teaches this fact and offers direction on the matter (as follows):
- The Need For A True HEART To Overcome Errant Beliefs, Jeremiah 5:1-31.
- God sent Jeremiah to hunt for a single man who did justice and truth in Jerusalem so God could have just cause to avoid destroying the city, Jeremiah 5:1. God was looking for an excuse to spare Jerusalem as He had long before agreed to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if just a godly few were found there, Genesis 18:32.
- However, Jeremiah learned all Jerusalem's people hypocritically verbalized allegiance to God while living in sin, 5:2; they were insensitive to God and even to His initial corrective measures, Jeremiah 5:3.
- Jeremiah initially felt the problem with the people might not be in them, for they did not know God's ways due to ignorance of the truth that their spiritual leaders were to teach; thus, he decided to go and speak to Jerusalem's leaders so they might reach the people to repent in truth unto the Lord, Jeremiah 5:4, 5a.
- However, in viewing these leaders, Jeremiah found them equally rebellious against God, Jeremiah 5:5b.
- Accordingly, God's judgment had to come on the whole nation, leader and subordinate alike, Jer. 5:6.
- With His desire to salvage His people thus frustrated by their apostasy, God spoke to Judah, asking how He could spare them when they turned to immoral idolatry regardless of His blessing them, 5:7-9.
- God through Jeremiah continued to state how the nation had treacherously turned against Him, 5:10-13; God called for Judah's destruction but not annhilation due to her treacherous apostasy against Him and of her denial that God would even judge her through means of her false prophets.
- In contrast to the false prophets, God told Jeremiah He was making Jeremiah's word like a fire that would consume the people, meaning the truth of judgment would surely be fulfilled opposite the false claims to the contrary by the false prophets, Jeremiah 5:14-17.
- In time, when Jeremiah's word came true, and the people would be astounded at the degree of destruction God had brought upon them, Jeremiah would explain their apostasy had led to their fall, Jer. 5:18-19.
- Finally, God camped on the problem of Judah's heart attitude that was BEHIND her adopting the errant views of "peace" promoted by her false prophets, and He condemned it in no uncertain terms, 5:20-31:
- God had Jeremiah proclaim to the people that they were spiritually hardened against Him, 5:20-21.
- This lack of respect for God was illogical: God's power displayed in His confining the mighty and potentially devastating ocean at the seashore was alone enough to demand that they respect Him, 5:22.
- Yet, hardness reigned in the hearts of the people (5:23) and God itemized the ways it did, Jer. 5:24-31:
- Instead of respecting God Who gave them rain for their crops, their love of sin caused the nation Judah to ignore God's goodness unto them in this provision, Jeremiah 5:24-25.
- Indeed, men in their midst loved to set a trap to take unjust advantage of others so as to rob others of their rightful wealth to horde it upon themselves, Jeremiah 5:26-27.
- In fact, men had not defended the rights of the needy and fatherless, but taken advantage of anyone they could for their own ends, often thereby distorting judgment in the courts, Jeremiah 5:28.
- For this evil, God taught He had no alternative but to judge them, Jeremiah 5:29.
- God's list of Judah's evil climaxed in an appalling matter: when the prophets prophesied falsely and the priests ruled at their direction, the people loved it even though it meant their demise, 5:30-31.
Application: To avoid being DECEIVED into ERROR that leads to acts of SIN and God's discipline, we must guard our OWN HEART ATTITUDE by God's power, 2 Timothy 1:13-14! May we then DO just that that we might hold to the sound words and beliefs and thus acts God requires of us all!