Let Your Heart Be Broken
(Jer. 8:4-13,18-9:1) August 12 2012
Pagan deities, represented by cast and carved figures, were worshiped in Judah by the same people who presented sacrifices at the Jerusalem temple. The spiritual and moral corruption described by Jeremiah in these chapters led to the Babylonian Captivity, a divine judgment on sin.
Rather than gloat at the vindication of his ministry, Jeremiah is heartbroken at the suffering of his fellow countrymen.
Love for God and love for others sometimes are in tension. But loving God doesn’t mean we must stop caring for others, even when their tragedies are a consequence of their own sins.
Throughout the era, God’s prophets urged repentance. But the people of Judah obstinately persisted in their sin
1. The stupidity of the people, compared with the instinct of the brute creation. (Jer.8:4-13)
Jer.:8:4 Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? 5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. 6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. 7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. 8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? 10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. 13 I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.
What brought this ruin? 1. The people would not attend to reason; they would not act in the affairs of their souls with common prudence. Sin is backsliding; it is going back from the way that leads to life, to that which leads to destruction. 2. They would not attend to the warning of conscience. They did not take the first step towards repentance: true repentance begins in serious inquiry as to what we have done, from conviction that we have done amiss. 3. They would not attend to the ways of providence, nor understand the voice of God in them, vs. 7. They know not how to improve the seasons of grace, which God affords. Many boast of their religious knowledge, yet, unless taught by the Spirit of God, the instinct of brutes is a more sure guide than their supposed wisdom. 4. They would not attend to the written word. Many enjoy abundance of the means of grace, have Bibles and ministers, but they have them in vain. They will soon be ashamed of their devices. The pretenders to wisdom were the priests and the false prophets. They flattered people in sin, and so flattered them into destruction, silencing their fears and complaints with, All is well. Selfish teachers may promise peace when there is no peace; and thus men encourage each other in committing evil; but in the day of visitation they will have no refuge to flee unto.
2. The people are corrected, Jerusalem is destroyed.
Jer.8:18 When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. 19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? 20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. 21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
Jer.9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Jeremiah wept much, yet wished he could weep more, that he might rouse the people to a due sense of the hand of God. But even the desert, without communion with God, through Christ Jesus, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, must be a place for temptation and evil; while, with these blessings, we may live in holiness in crowded cities. The people accustomed their tongues to lies. So false were they, that a brother could not be trusted. In trading and bargaining they said any thing for their own advantage, though they knew it to be false. But God marked their sin. Where no knowledge of God is, what good can be expected? He has many ways of turning a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of those that dwell therein.
Jeremiah’s temple sermon is followed by a series of poetic oracles containing various messages from the Lord. God reasons with Judah about its obstinacy . He declares the penalty and describes the invading army . Responding, Jeremiah expresses his own sorrow in a moving lament . God continues, identifying the blatant sins of the day and again threatening judgment . What anguish this will cause . Yet it will ultimately result in good as evil is purged everywhere . The first section of Jeremiah concludes with God’s caustic denunciation of idolatry. It is senseless , for God alone is great . And it has brought sinning Judah to the point of exile from the Promised Land . Jeremiah again responds, this time with prayer. Let God be sensitive to human weakness and correct with justice, not in anger. Let His anger be reserved for the nations that are unwilling to acknowledge God’s name and have persecuted His people .