Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part IV: Prophecies Concerning Judah
H. Making The Hard Choice To Put Heart Righteousness Above Human Relationships
(Jeremiah 8:18-9:26)
  1. Introduction
    1. Living for the Lord is easy to do when we do so with a host of beloved, godly associates who do the same! However, when these associates begin to stray from Scripture, we may become so bothered by their fall that we may stall in going alone on the straight and narrow path of God's righteousness!
    2. Yet, God calls us to stay upright above holding to such human relationships as Jeremiah 8:18-9:26 shows:
  2. Making The Hard Choice To Put Heart Righteousness Above Human Relationships, Jer. 8:18-9:26.
    1. A great tension is expressed in Jeremiah 8:18-9:22 between the grief God's judgment would produce for Judah and Jeremiah, and Jeremiah's concurring with God on His need to judge Judah:
      1. On the one hand, Jeremiah expressed great grief over the pain of the fall of Judah in God's judgment:
        1. He expressed grief over the capture of some of his people, a grief that arose not only from their capture, but from the disillusionment with God the captives felt in why they had been taken when God's temple existed in Jerusalem, Jer. 8:18-19a; Bible Know. Com., Old Testament, p. 1141.
        2. God replied He had given them this fate for provoking Him to wrath by their idolatry, Jer. 8:19b-20.
        3. Regardless of God's explanation, Jeremiah continued his lament for his countrymen's lot, 8:21-9:1.
      2. On the other hand, just as surely as he grieved at the pain his countrymen were due in divine judgment, Jeremiah turned to say he wished he could leave his countrymen for their abusive sins, Jeremiah 9:2a.
      3. Jeremiah and God them itemized their abusive sins that had led to this his complaint (as follows):
        1. Jeremiah noted the people of Judah had become adulterers, turning treacherous in relationships, 2b.
        2. He complained they proceeded from one level of deceit to the next in such relational treachery, 9:3a.
        3. Jeremiah reported God's words that Judah thus signaled they did not know their gracious God, 9:3b.
        4. Indeed, Jeremiah noted one had to avoid both his neighbors and even his relatives, people one usually depended on in relationships, for they abusively deceived and slandered others, Jer. 9:4-5.
        5. As a result, they heaped up oppression and deceit, refusing to know God who was opposite that, 9:6.
        6. Hence, the Lord revealed He had no choice but to punish these people for such abusive sins, 9:7-9.
      4. Though aware of God's justice in the issue, Jeremiah yet returned to his grief over Judah's coming judgment, so God returned to tell Jeremiah He had to destroy Jerusalem for her sin, 9:10-11, 12-16.
      5. In fact, God called for the women to grieve for the destruction that would come to Judah, Jer. 9:17-22.
    2. Then, against this great tension between the grief of Jeremiah and those of Judah already in captivity at God's righteous judgment on Judah and at Jeremiah's realization of the necessity for God to judge her, God gave a call for Judah (and Jeremiah) to put righteousness as priority one in life, Jeremiah 9:23-26:
      1. Contrary to the lusts that drove them abusively to oppress and deceive each other in a selfish, competitive way, God called for the wise not to boast in his wisdom over others he used to abuse them nor for the mighty to boast in his might used to harm the weaker nor for the rich man to boast in his wealth that was used to crush the needy, Jeremiah 9:23 in the context.
      2. Rather, he who boasted was to boast in understanding and knowing the Lord who non-abusively practiced loyal love, justice and righteousness just opposite Judah's works, Jeremiah 9:24a. It was in these things God delighted and would bless His people, Jeremiah 9:24b.
      3. However, for those who were uncircumcised in heart, whether they were Gentiles who were uncircumcised physically and in heart or the people of Judah who were circumcised physically but not in heart, God would punish them both for their sin that arose from evil, abusive hearts, Jer. 9:25-26.
Lesson: (1) THOUGH God's judgment on Judah was so PAINFUL for her and even for her patriot, Jeremiah, to handle, God HAD NO CHOICE BUT to JUDGE Judah, for her SIN was so ABUSIVE in VIOLATION of the righteousness, loyal love and justice of God. (2) Thus, Jeremiah was to put his WALK with a HOLY GOD above FELLOWSHIP with his BELOVED but EVIL, ABUSIVE PEOPLE.

Application: Like Jeremiah, may we make the hard choice of putting RIGHTEOUSNESS ABOVE even DESIRABLE human relationships if there is a DIFFERENCE (1 Samuel 15:22-23, 34-16:1).