AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH - March 5, 2006
ABOUT TIME FOR AN ABOUT-TURN - JEREMIAH 2:1-13,23,32-35
Jeremiah was speaking to a nation on the very verge of ruin. It recovered after 70 inglorious years in exile. Judah then went on to crucify Christ. There are modern imitators for this folly.
I THE PLEASANT PAST DEVOTION 2:1-3
There was a time for Israel, as for many now, when there was a certain sweetness, a kindly disposition towards the Lord, but it soured.
II THE CUMULATIVE CONSEQUENCES 2:4-5
i) What Injustice has the Lord done ?
What charges can you bring to defend your slippage into sin, your proud foot or your slack hand ? What rubbish has replaced reality, what ruin has glorified itself, like a Parthenon of idols, a dead skeleton, an overworked shell!
ii) What a delinquent memory! 2:6-8
The Lord brought Israel to an inheritance prepared, moral truth was not foreign, it did not need to be imported, the power of God did not have to be imagined, the land was built on it, the laws were made for it, the truth shouted at the street corners, the offer of life was made plain as if on page one headlines in the papers, the land was built on the ways of God; and it flourished in His goodness.
iii) What disorderly disdain 2:7-8
But what serpent's teeth of ingratitude molested the nation! What careless disregard or sniggering evasion came, what ennoblement of folly and what amours of the ways of other lands, destitute of wisdom, while the spiritual capital was spent as if it were the height of wisdom to become spiritually broke!
Like a building on sand, with replaced foundations, the land prepared to tilt, made ready for ruin.
Moral collapse, inventiveness misapplied to making false gods, foolish desires forsaking truth, these were the new ways, as if national sport or pastime, while preachers without divinely inspired messages, novelty-makers came masquerading as men of God: these were heeded then, as now they are in this our own land.
Yet for all that, such speakers were and are without God, not even knowing Him! Other religions, snippety-bits of forlorn follies were elevated, as in South Australia's Education field, as if they could stand. They are but air, spiritually communicable diseases as the land is laid waste, then as now remains the case here. The results are social ruin, a lavish supply of loutish lumps for young people, selfish scavengers, foxes, wolves, frenzied dancers and not faithfulness: it is this, without faith, without focus, without foundations that do not crack, which infests, infects the land.
iv) Then reverse charges 2:9
There is no charge against the Lord, whose sacrificial system then, as Calvary now, which has entirely replaced it, has spoken of His mercy, if only faith were directed to Him (as in Deuteronomy 29:14-20). However there IS a charge BY the Lord! The case for complaint rests, but the case for divine displeasure does not, and cannot rest; and it is failure to rest in Him which produces the restlessness, the researches into the best ways to handle sin, instead of stopping and awakening and reviving with the Lord Himself, the greatest of all physicians! This was not just for then; for just as the results of life eternal were beginning to be shown in the land (as in Psalm 17), so now the results of national weakness, like cracks in the tail plane of some vast new aircraft, appear. There is no solace, no solution without the Saviour, nor has there ever been from the day man flirted and fell for sin; nor is there any other Saviour, search the world as you may.
III THE FREE SNOW WATER TRADE FOR CRACKED WELLS 2:10-13,23,32-35
Who has heard of such a thing ? False religions ruin many a nation, and they go like those on a snow mobile, rocketing down a prepared track, surging to disaster, overturning in their haste. They did it then, they do it now. In our day, they may add Buddhism to Islam and vice versa, the worship of what declares there is no God, or the worship of what adopts the Old Testament prophets and then denies their message of redemption: this is nothing. Here however is a nation which changes its Glory, power with glory, goodness with righteousness, freedom with faith, the definition of Deity by Himself, in the God of revelation - and we in Australia have long been blessed with its very consummation in Jesus Christ of Calvary. And for what is the knowledge of God exchanged ? - then as now, it is for unprofitable myths, man-made parallels to the pollutions of those who have elsewhere never constructed their nations on the God of truth!
Let the universe lament, the heavens weep! Desolation is decreed for madness, and it is not by the pursuit of it that relief can come! TWIN EVILS arrive, like an earthquake and tornado together. The people have forsaken the Lord, they decline to know Him, inventing this and that philosophic muddle, religious fraud, and turn their backs on the Lord! With itching ears they have no ability to stand sound doctrine, like whimpering dogs (as for our day in parallel predicted by Paul in II Tim.3-4). Formalism for the many is about as far as it goes; fact in faith, reality in worship is bled white in the land. Now many churches invent new horrors of malpractice, yet people stay.
Not only have they forsaken the Lord (2:13), the fountain of living waters, the free source of power, vitality, validity, meaning for man, truth, mercy, pardon, the love that instituted human love (I John 4), not only have they forgotten the security of adequate spiritual water supply, cool, abundant, melted snow in its purity for the spirit; but instead of this, what have they bought for themselves ? Is it not mere dug-out containers, cracked ones at that, that could not hold the water of life, even it they had it! Doubly desecrating, they are doubly ruined. They do not find life, and the containers for their misled minds and sullied spirits could not hold life even if it came. They are a bundle of ruin, a people without relief, awaiting divine judgment like students who come to examination with no knowledge of their subject: and OUR subject is the LORD HIMSELF!
Ah, that they would remember Him who remembers them! that they would come to the source of spiritual water like the woman at the well in Samaria, and however hot the way, however desecrated the land, find in Him the fountain of living waters (John 4:14), waters that do not stop with you in time or place, but well up to eternal life and flow from you to bring abundant blessing to others (John 7:37)! If Israel was amiss, what of those who reject the Lord incarnate for their myths, legends and the like, which as in S.A. in its schools of the government they even officially declare to be their idea of religion, forsaken, soiled, the very exemplar of where not to go!
How CAN you SAY, I am not polluted ? asks the Lord (Jeremiah 2:23), and the basis for the charge is there, as it was then so now. Not polluted, while songs of seductive harlotry of religion, baseless beliefs, madness that knows what none can know, even by its own evaluation, and then declares it from the void, that it is all a void! How brilliant is their ruin, how the dame of ruined morals pouts here way into oblivion! Is it thought for one moment that this evasion of truth, which declares truth as if it were some rote, will live except as a species of death, like the faded perfumes and smeared powders of slithery seduction only for the debased!
Had not that land of Israel, and has not this our land of today, been like a virgin who forgets she was married, and days without number, now flouts her wares, unwary, without wisdom, a derelict! She who had virtue now becomes a teacher of immorality, a senile of snare! As the lives of many are befouled by this corrupt teaching, whether by false prophet direct or fallen kings then, or by fallen governments who love to be elected now, is it not one ? Blatantly in this land, many declare their wickedness and fallen churches nod, as if sleep were their vitality, and unwisdom their doctrine!
What, they ask, is it really necessary to change, and they yawn, and turn over and sleep some more ? Is anything really needed about the religious backgrounds of academies of schools, so often pushed like 'ecstasy', feeble drugs for enfeebled minds, blinds for darkened houses. Do we really need to open up our minds and think at all, to revert in things religious, from the scientistic to the scientific! Surely we have loved to stray, and will stray all day, yes this and the next!
So do we find horrid grounds for unwelcome parallel to this day, from the day of Jeremiah, as he charged, in Jeremiah 2:23,32-35.
Forsaken is the Lord by many, but is He by you forgotten ? Remember Him then this day, in the midst of follies unspeakable, and bring with you words as in Hosea 14:
"Take words with you, and return to the LORD. Say to Him,
‘Take away all iniquity, receive us graciously,
for we will offer the sacrifice of our lips.’ “
When you know the Lord, you do not need the drugs of irrationalism, the flirtations of sick spirits, the delusions of delinquent minds, the misuse of authority to disadvantage those not yet fallen, the refusal to debate, even on the part of the Government responsible, in this State of SA. You are fearless because there is nothing to fear, and can dare to be faithful because faithful is He who calls you, and choice is His land, fertile His faith, and beautiful His salvation!
They had then, as do we now, to consider the fruit of it all (Hosea 14:3-6); so find the Lord where He may be found (Isaiah 55), and drink of His divinely healing waters freely. Before the waters is the blood, and in the blood is the ransom for your souls (Matthew 20:28), and with the ransom is the realisation of truth, for He is not only the way and the life, but the truth also! (John 14:6). He omits nothing.
Close with Christ, and being with Him, rejoice in Him, and let forgetfulness be erased.
Note: For more on the South Australian religious sacrilege, long pursued by successive governments, see y.html. See also, The gods of naturalism have no go!