The Lord Alone Worth Following (Jeremiah 2:4-13)

August 28, 2016 00:35:46
The Lord Alone Worth Following (Jeremiah 2:4-13)
Covenant Words
The Lord Alone Worth Following (Jeremiah 2:4-13)

Aug 28 2016 | 00:35:46

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Rev. Phil Hollstein, (Guest preacher)
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Episode Transcript

WEBVTT 1 00:00:00.800 --> 00:00:07.389 Our scripture today comes from the book of Jeremiah. We're going to be looking 2 00:00:07.389 --> 00:00:17.390 at near the beginning of this book, in Chapter Two, versus for through 3 00:00:17.750 --> 00:00:29.500 thirteen. Here know it comes word here, the word of the Lord the 4 00:00:29.620 --> 00:00:34.579 House of Jacob and all the clans of the House of Israel. Thus says 5 00:00:34.619 --> 00:00:39.130 the Lord. What wrong do your father's find any that they went far from 6 00:00:39.170 --> 00:00:45.530 me and went after worthlessness and became worthless. They did not say, where's 7 00:00:45.570 --> 00:00:49.009 the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who let us 8 00:00:49.009 --> 00:00:52.600 in the Wilderness and a land of deserts and pits and a land of drought 9 00:00:52.719 --> 00:00:57.119 in deep darkness and a land of none passes through, where no man's wells, 10 00:00:58.479 --> 00:01:00.399 and I brought you into a plentiful lands, who enjoy his fruits and 11 00:01:00.479 --> 00:01:04.109 it's good at things. But when he came in, you defile my land 12 00:01:04.950 --> 00:01:11.069 and may my heritage and abomination, but the priest and not say where's The 13 00:01:11.150 --> 00:01:15.430 Lord? Those who had able law did not know me. The shepherds transgress 14 00:01:15.549 --> 00:01:19.900 against me, the prophets prophesied by bail and went after things that do not 15 00:01:21.060 --> 00:01:25.500 prophet. Therefore, I still contend with you to Clare's Lord and with your 16 00:01:25.540 --> 00:01:30.540 children's children. I will contend for a cross of these the Cyperus and see 17 00:01:30.019 --> 00:01:34.810 or sends hey are an examine with care, see if there has been such 18 00:01:34.849 --> 00:01:38.969 a thing. Has An Asian changed? It's God's even though they are no 19 00:01:38.090 --> 00:01:44.049 gods. But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. 20 00:01:44.930 --> 00:01:48.799 Be Appalled. Has It this be shocked the utterly desolate? It clears 21 00:01:48.840 --> 00:01:53.000 the Lord, for my people have committed to evils. They have forsaken need, 22 00:01:53.079 --> 00:01:57.000 the found in a living waters and hut out cisterns from themselves, broken 23 00:01:57.120 --> 00:02:06.109 cisterns that can hold no water. That's our reading God's word. Confrontation is 24 00:02:06.230 --> 00:02:10.550 never a fun thing. When I think about my life, going all the 25 00:02:10.550 --> 00:02:15.069 way backs kindergartens, sitting in the principal's office, this is kind of a 26 00:02:15.110 --> 00:02:17.580 hypothetical question when you think about the history of Israel, when you think about 27 00:02:17.580 --> 00:02:22.659 how well the Lord treated the Israelites, how much he lavished his blessings upon 28 00:02:22.780 --> 00:02:28.500 them. The question here is what wrong or in Hebrew, what injustice or 29 00:02:28.539 --> 00:02:32.409 unrighteousness did your father's find in me? That's they had to go far away 30 00:02:32.449 --> 00:02:37.490 from me to other gods. Now, if you see somebody who's in an 31 00:02:37.490 --> 00:02:40.969 abusive relationship, a relationship where they're being harmed or perhaps even their life is 32 00:02:40.969 --> 00:02:46.479 at stake, you want them to get free from that relationship if the abuser 33 00:02:46.560 --> 00:02:50.919 does not have their heart changed. And even in the meantime, while we're 34 00:02:50.919 --> 00:02:53.840 waiting for that change to happen, you want that person who is the victim 35 00:02:53.879 --> 00:02:57.479 to be safe, you want them to be out of a dangerous environment and 36 00:02:57.639 --> 00:03:02.509 you take joy that a person may break free from a situation where they are 37 00:03:02.550 --> 00:03:08.909 being horribly abused or even their life maybe at stake. And so God is 38 00:03:08.949 --> 00:03:12.789 basically asking them, what is it that I did to you? What abuse 39 00:03:12.900 --> 00:03:16.659 were you suffering that you felt you had to leave and escape from being faithful 40 00:03:16.740 --> 00:03:23.580 to me? We see even in the verses six and seven, the history 41 00:03:23.659 --> 00:03:29.129 of how God had lavishly blessed Israel, how he had taken them out of 42 00:03:29.330 --> 00:03:35.889 slavery from Egypt, how he had powerfully worked in the midst and before Pharaoh 43 00:03:36.409 --> 00:03:38.770 to convinced Pharaoh to let the people go. In such a dread and an 44 00:03:38.889 --> 00:03:44.599 awe fell upon the Egyptian people that they were giving their jewelry as Israel left, 45 00:03:45.000 --> 00:03:50.000 when they were escaping, they they were giving their their possessions to the 46 00:03:50.120 --> 00:03:53.120 Israelites, so that the Israelites left rich even when they left Egypt. And 47 00:03:54.360 --> 00:04:00.270 after that, God powerfully saved them from Pharaoh's army when Pharaoh changed his mind 48 00:04:00.310 --> 00:04:02.909 and came after the Israelites, and Israel saw what their own eyes the deliverance 49 00:04:02.949 --> 00:04:09.150 of God as he crushed the armies of Pharaoh. Israel itself to not have 50 00:04:09.229 --> 00:04:12.860 to do anything. They did not have to fight that battle, but God 51 00:04:12.939 --> 00:04:19.060 fought for them and crushed those Egyptians. And as Israel wandered about in the 52 00:04:19.139 --> 00:04:23.540 Wilderness, God took care of them every step of the way. He Fed 53 00:04:23.620 --> 00:04:27.129 them, he gave them water, He protected them from their enemies, even 54 00:04:27.170 --> 00:04:31.089 down to the details of miraculously causing their clothing not to wear out. When 55 00:04:31.089 --> 00:04:34.970 they wandered for forty years in the Wilderness, their clothing never wore out. 56 00:04:35.050 --> 00:04:40.240 That level of care, down to the details, is what God provided for 57 00:04:40.480 --> 00:04:44.720 Israel. And then when they were brought into the land, he again did 58 00:04:44.759 --> 00:04:47.319 their fighting for them. They just had to march around Jericho for seven days 59 00:04:47.360 --> 00:04:54.189 in the walls came down. God, so often in the past, had 60 00:04:54.269 --> 00:04:57.230 fought for them. He had lavished His grace upon them. And then when 61 00:04:57.230 --> 00:05:00.310 they got into the land, he he gave them a land that even they 62 00:05:00.350 --> 00:05:03.269 described as one that was flowing with milk and honey, that one that was 63 00:05:03.389 --> 00:05:08.779 blessed, that at all the riches and all the the pleasures that you could 64 00:05:08.819 --> 00:05:14.459 once in a promised land. And God had promised them, in the covenant 65 00:05:14.459 --> 00:05:16.899 that he made with them during the time of Moses, that that if they 66 00:05:16.980 --> 00:05:21.209 obeyed the stipulations of that covenant, they would have even more blessings and that 67 00:05:21.290 --> 00:05:26.009 they would have those indefinitely, that they would have life, that they would 68 00:05:26.009 --> 00:05:29.810 have protection against whatever enemies came upon them. He said, your enemies will 69 00:05:29.810 --> 00:05:31.449 come against you one way, but they will flee from you seven ways. 70 00:05:32.209 --> 00:05:36.959 There will be chaos if anyone tries to oppose you. He promised them health, 71 00:05:39.240 --> 00:05:43.199 he promised them wealth, that they would have reign upon their land, 72 00:05:43.240 --> 00:05:45.439 that they would have crops, that they would have children, that they would 73 00:05:45.439 --> 00:05:48.360 be spared of the diseases in the plagues that they had seen other people suffer. 74 00:05:50.110 --> 00:05:55.829 God lavished his blessings upon them and promised them even more. And the 75 00:05:55.870 --> 00:05:59.709 law that he commanded them to keep was not a wicked law. He was 76 00:05:59.750 --> 00:06:03.699 not commanding them to degrade themselves or do anything wicked or unseemly. He was 77 00:06:03.779 --> 00:06:08.620 commanding them to love him and to love their neighbor. He was commanding them 78 00:06:08.660 --> 00:06:14.660 to be holy. There really was no reason for them to try to escape, 79 00:06:14.699 --> 00:06:18.129 to get away from his authority. If there was any injustice on the 80 00:06:18.170 --> 00:06:21.490 part of God, it was that he gave them more grace than they deserved. 81 00:06:23.250 --> 00:06:27.170 He gave them more riches than what justice demanded. That was the injustice. 82 00:06:27.209 --> 00:06:35.439 He was so merciful to them. But yet they injured is is his 83 00:06:35.680 --> 00:06:43.040 reputation and wronged him by a going after other gods. And to add insult 84 00:06:43.079 --> 00:06:46.000 to injury, what he says and the end of verse five is that they 85 00:06:46.079 --> 00:06:50.589 win not simply after other gods but after worthlessness. In the Hebrew this this 86 00:06:50.670 --> 00:06:55.550 word means a breath or vanity, something that's here one minute and gone the 87 00:06:55.629 --> 00:06:59.350 next, and is often a word that is used to describe the other gods, 88 00:06:59.430 --> 00:07:05.740 because other gods simply do not exist. And so not only did the 89 00:07:05.860 --> 00:07:10.620 people abandoned God, but they went after things that were worthless, things that 90 00:07:10.699 --> 00:07:15.420 were figments of their imagination. And this is insulting. If you think about 91 00:07:15.420 --> 00:07:18.970 this. Imagine if you're married to someone and your spouse cheats on you, 92 00:07:19.129 --> 00:07:26.089 not simply with another person, but with the most ugly, detestable, poor, 93 00:07:26.889 --> 00:07:30.079 uneligible, whatever negative characteristic you want to describe to them, with that 94 00:07:30.160 --> 00:07:36.519 kind of a person, your spouse cheats. That's kind of insulting. It's 95 00:07:36.560 --> 00:07:41.759 kind of like saying, was I that bad that this was the improvement. 96 00:07:42.839 --> 00:07:46.550 You went after that person. I mean, was I that terrible of a 97 00:07:46.629 --> 00:07:48.949 spouse? So you had, this was your leg up, was to go 98 00:07:49.029 --> 00:07:54.709 after that person. That's the kind of thing God is saying here to Israel. 99 00:07:55.629 --> 00:07:59.180 What did I do that? You went far from me and instead, 100 00:07:59.220 --> 00:08:05.980 when after things that are worthless, and you yourselves became worthless. For he 101 00:08:05.019 --> 00:08:11.379 says in verse six, they did not say where is the Lord, even 102 00:08:11.379 --> 00:08:15.129 though God was in their midst, even though they had direct access to God 103 00:08:15.250 --> 00:08:18.449 any time they wanted. Even then, though they had the glories of the 104 00:08:18.569 --> 00:08:22.610 Real God, the true God, dwelling among them, which no other nation 105 00:08:22.689 --> 00:08:26.930 had, and they could have had the answer to anything that they'd wanted to 106 00:08:26.970 --> 00:08:31.240 know, even down to the details. Who Should we fight today? Where 107 00:08:31.279 --> 00:08:35.080 should we go today? They could have had those answers, but they simply 108 00:08:35.200 --> 00:08:39.600 did not seek the Lord, they stopped seeking after him. They did not 109 00:08:39.720 --> 00:08:43.909 say where's the Lord who brought us up from Egypt all these things that they 110 00:08:43.909 --> 00:08:48.190 knew God had done for them. They stopped inquiring of the true God, 111 00:08:50.070 --> 00:08:54.149 but rather, he says in verse seven, when you came into this plentiful 112 00:08:54.149 --> 00:08:58.059 land, you defiled my land and made my heritage and abomination. They set 113 00:08:58.100 --> 00:09:03.620 up on every high place altars and idols to the bales or the gods of 114 00:09:03.740 --> 00:09:09.450 the peoples that have been there before, and they started worshiping them. The 115 00:09:09.610 --> 00:09:15.929 seductiveness of the flesh was so strong that even though God had done real things 116 00:09:16.009 --> 00:09:18.970 for them, even though he had given them lavish, true blessings that no 117 00:09:18.049 --> 00:09:24.720 one could deny, they preferred to satisfy their sensual desires by worshiping gods that 118 00:09:24.759 --> 00:09:28.879 they could see and touch and make and control and do all the other acts 119 00:09:28.919 --> 00:09:33.879 of sensuality that went along with that idol worship. That's what they preferred, 120 00:09:33.919 --> 00:09:41.590 rather than the true God who could give them real blessings. And sadly, 121 00:09:41.669 --> 00:09:45.909 this is not something that was just done by a fringe of the people, 122 00:09:46.750 --> 00:09:50.149 by people on the outside edges who were, you know, the Rabbel rousers 123 00:09:50.190 --> 00:09:56.059 of the day, but rather this sin, this apostasy, reached even even 124 00:09:56.139 --> 00:10:01.620 to the centers of religious life. Verse Aid. The Lord says the very 125 00:10:01.659 --> 00:10:03.700 same thing about the priest. The priest did not say where's The Lord? 126 00:10:03.980 --> 00:10:07.049 Those who ministered in the temple daily, those who saw with their own eyes 127 00:10:07.090 --> 00:10:13.809 the symbols of the Gospel, who pronounced atone and who pronounced cleanliness, who 128 00:10:13.850 --> 00:10:18.330 saw the shedding of blood, who were close to God in his presence in 129 00:10:18.450 --> 00:10:22.799 that temple, they, for all their closeness, did not ask where's the 130 00:10:22.879 --> 00:10:26.600 Lord? And he goes on. Those who handle the law did not know 131 00:10:26.759 --> 00:10:31.440 me. Isn't that a remarkable thing? Those who were litter at, those 132 00:10:31.440 --> 00:10:35.990 who could read, those who had access to the stories of God's care all 133 00:10:35.029 --> 00:10:39.429 the way from the beginning, those who are close to the means of grace 134 00:10:39.470 --> 00:10:45.309 and those who knew the law and the Covenant and exactly what God promised to 135 00:10:45.389 --> 00:10:50.779 them. He says they did not know me. They were strangers to God. 136 00:10:52.539 --> 00:10:56.379 The shepherds, the rulers, he says, transgressed against me in the 137 00:10:56.419 --> 00:11:01.659 prophets prophesied by bail and when after things that do not profit, imagine that 138 00:11:03.740 --> 00:11:05.330 they had an open cannon at the time, they were still able to receive 139 00:11:05.730 --> 00:11:11.409 more and more revelation if they had questions, and certain righteous leaders like Moses 140 00:11:11.450 --> 00:11:16.250 or David did inquire of the Lord for various things, whether it was how 141 00:11:16.289 --> 00:11:18.240 to apply the law or or who they should attack, or you know, 142 00:11:18.600 --> 00:11:24.279 questions that any nation would need to have answered. And yet, instead of 143 00:11:24.320 --> 00:11:28.519 going to the God within their midst, who could give them the right answers 144 00:11:28.559 --> 00:11:33.549 and could even fight their battles for them, these prophets started prophesying by these 145 00:11:33.629 --> 00:11:39.070 figments of their imagination, these bails that did not really exist, things that 146 00:11:39.149 --> 00:11:48.220 do not profit. Therefore, the Lord says in Verse Nine, I still 147 00:11:48.259 --> 00:11:54.539 contend with you and with your children's children. I will contend now recall that 148 00:11:54.659 --> 00:11:58.820 in verse five he started out by asking about their fathers. He said, 149 00:11:58.860 --> 00:12:01.129 what wrong did your father's find in me that they went far from me? 150 00:12:03.289 --> 00:12:07.889 This is a sin that Israel had been doing perennially. But the attack, 151 00:12:07.009 --> 00:12:11.009 the precise attack here, is against the fathers of this generation that he is 152 00:12:11.049 --> 00:12:20.039 writing to. Nevertheless, he says, per the Covenant, that the punishment 153 00:12:20.120 --> 00:12:22.000 is not just going to be for one generation, but is going to extend 154 00:12:22.080 --> 00:12:26.639 even to the fourth generation. And when he says this, this is nothing 155 00:12:26.720 --> 00:12:30.549 new. This is something that he had he had talked about even in the 156 00:12:30.590 --> 00:12:33.309 days of Moses, when he had entered into covenant with him in the first 157 00:12:33.309 --> 00:12:46.460 place. If he turned back to Exitus, Chapter Twenty, and specifically in 158 00:12:46.539 --> 00:12:56.659 Verse Five, which is, interestingly, the passage that talks about idolatry, 159 00:13:01.289 --> 00:13:03.769 he says, starting in Verse Five, you shall not bow down to them, 160 00:13:03.850 --> 00:13:05.129 meeting idols or serve them, for I, the Lord your God, 161 00:13:05.250 --> 00:13:11.129 am a jealous God, visiting the Iniquity of the fathers on the children, 162 00:13:11.210 --> 00:13:13.759 to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast 163 00:13:13.879 --> 00:13:20.480 love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commands. Even though 164 00:13:20.519 --> 00:13:26.590 it was the generation before then that primarily had was bearing the brunts of this 165 00:13:26.789 --> 00:13:31.509 prophecy, because they were part of Israel and because the sin that they committed 166 00:13:31.590 --> 00:13:37.070 was so great, the punishments against that nation was going to be long enough 167 00:13:37.110 --> 00:13:43.620 that it was going to extend across generations. It was not simply a generation 168 00:13:43.779 --> 00:13:46.659 that entered into covenant with God, but it was the nation as a whole 169 00:13:46.419 --> 00:13:52.539 that entered into covenant with God. And so when even one generation sending against 170 00:13:52.580 --> 00:13:56.610 God in such a blatant way, the punishment for it would have to be 171 00:13:58.409 --> 00:14:03.409 great enough to be just, and therefore sometimes that punishment extended across generations. 172 00:14:03.529 --> 00:14:07.690 And the the key illustration of that, as we see even in this prophecy, 173 00:14:09.690 --> 00:14:15.759 is the exile. God exiled Israel for seventy years because of their sins, 174 00:14:16.840 --> 00:14:22.039 and that's that punishment on the nation necessarily extended across more than one generation. 175 00:14:24.590 --> 00:14:30.509 But it was the nation again, that God was punishing, and therefore 176 00:14:30.509 --> 00:14:35.269 it was even with the children's children that he was going to contend. Now, 177 00:14:35.309 --> 00:14:37.789 of course, the other side of this, as we saw also in 178 00:14:37.909 --> 00:14:41.740 exidus twenty, is that the love of God extends over thousands of generations. 179 00:14:41.980 --> 00:14:48.100 His punishment, even though it may seem severe to include several generations, is 180 00:14:48.259 --> 00:14:52.580 actually like considering the great awful sins that they were committing. He could have 181 00:14:52.659 --> 00:14:56.809 smote them out completely, he could have destroyed all future generations by destroying that 182 00:14:56.889 --> 00:15:01.210 nation, all of those who are then living. But as punishment, too 183 00:15:01.250 --> 00:15:05.889 severe as it was, was tempered by grace and, as we see as 184 00:15:05.929 --> 00:15:09.200 we continue in this book, there's even more grace that he is going to 185 00:15:09.360 --> 00:15:15.720 promise to them and to lavish upon them, despite the fact of their sins. 186 00:15:18.679 --> 00:15:22.190 Well, in verse ten, he continues to to talk about the sin 187 00:15:22.269 --> 00:15:28.429 that they are involved in and to confront them for it. And if you've 188 00:15:28.429 --> 00:15:31.909 ever talked with somebody about sin, whether you know it's in the context of 189 00:15:31.950 --> 00:15:33.870 a court case or in the context of talking with their children or maybe a 190 00:15:35.429 --> 00:15:39.379 you know, counseling somebody professionally, there's different ways that you can talk about 191 00:15:39.419 --> 00:15:43.940 a sinful behavior. You can talk about it from a moral perspective, you 192 00:15:43.980 --> 00:15:48.980 can talk about it from a practical perspective, from a rationality perspective. You 193 00:15:50.009 --> 00:15:52.450 can talk about how stupid a certain act is, like when we see somebody 194 00:15:52.450 --> 00:15:56.450 try to rob a bank and they accidentally lock themselves in or something and get 195 00:15:56.450 --> 00:15:58.889 caught, you know, or something like that, we can say, well, 196 00:15:58.929 --> 00:16:00.330 not only was it wrong to row that bank, but it was stupid 197 00:16:00.649 --> 00:16:04.320 and by the way, oh, look at the consequences that that person has 198 00:16:04.399 --> 00:16:08.120 to suffer. Well, that's kind of like what God is doing in this 199 00:16:08.279 --> 00:16:12.240 passage. He is he is looking at this sin of there's for many different 200 00:16:12.240 --> 00:16:18.870 angles and he's talked already about the unreasonableness of them betraying him, but he 201 00:16:18.990 --> 00:16:22.990 talks here about just how strange it is, even in light of other nations, 202 00:16:25.149 --> 00:16:29.789 for them to betray their God. And so he says to them, 203 00:16:29.830 --> 00:16:32.070 okay, you want to be like the other nations, you want to worship 204 00:16:32.470 --> 00:16:37.980 the gods of foreigners. Well, let's talk about how foreigners worship. Go 205 00:16:37.100 --> 00:16:41.379 across the to the coast of Cyprus and see, or send to cad are 206 00:16:41.460 --> 00:16:45.740 and examine and see if any of these other nations have changed their gods, 207 00:16:47.490 --> 00:16:49.929 even though their gods are simply figments of their imagination, even though their gods 208 00:16:49.970 --> 00:16:53.730 are something that they created with their own hands, that they are worshiping, 209 00:16:55.850 --> 00:17:00.639 they are more faithful to their gods than you are to me. So, 210 00:17:00.759 --> 00:17:03.960 if you want to be like the other nations, why couldn't you at least 211 00:17:03.960 --> 00:17:06.839 be like them in terms of faithfulness? Why couldn't you at least be faithful 212 00:17:06.880 --> 00:17:11.960 to me and worship me only? But even the peoples of the world do 213 00:17:12.079 --> 00:17:17.670 not treat their gods this way. On top of that, he says, 214 00:17:17.710 --> 00:17:25.390 my people have it changed their glory for that which Does Not Prophet. Not 215 00:17:25.589 --> 00:17:27.670 only have they done something strange and scandalous and different than the other nations, 216 00:17:27.750 --> 00:17:36.220 but they've done something that is very tragic and very hurtful to them. They've 217 00:17:36.259 --> 00:17:41.859 exchanged their glory for that which does not profit. This is another way sometimes 218 00:17:41.900 --> 00:17:45.130 that we can look at sin. When you talk to somebody about their sinful 219 00:17:45.130 --> 00:17:49.369 lifestyle, of their behavior, you know sometimes there's a tragic dimension to it 220 00:17:49.410 --> 00:17:52.690 as well. Somebody who has their whole life ahead of them some but he 221 00:17:52.849 --> 00:17:56.690 was all this promise and then maybe they get involved with drugs or with the 222 00:17:56.690 --> 00:18:00.839 wrong crowd or something like that and they throw it all away. We don't 223 00:18:00.880 --> 00:18:04.200 just think about the abstract moral essence of that, but we think about the 224 00:18:04.279 --> 00:18:08.680 tragedy of that. Look what you've thrown away. Your whole life was ahead 225 00:18:08.680 --> 00:18:14.269 of you and now it's gone because of these decisions, and that is well 226 00:18:14.509 --> 00:18:21.069 was the case with Israel. They change their glory for that which does not 227 00:18:21.190 --> 00:18:25.990 profit. The God who is in their midst was glorious. He was not 228 00:18:26.150 --> 00:18:27.619 only powerful, he was not only able, he was not only real, 229 00:18:29.299 --> 00:18:33.220 but he was more glorious than anything that the nations could have invented or imagined. 230 00:18:33.779 --> 00:18:36.900 When Solomon dedicated to Temple, the glory cloud filled it to such an 231 00:18:36.940 --> 00:18:41.529 extent that the priests were not even able to minister in it. They were 232 00:18:41.569 --> 00:18:45.049 not even even able to do their temple service because that cloud was so palpable, 233 00:18:45.130 --> 00:18:49.650 it was so intimidating that they had to wait until it diminished enough that 234 00:18:49.690 --> 00:18:56.839 they could go outside. And when Moses earlier had met with God in the 235 00:18:56.920 --> 00:19:00.319 tens of meeting, when he came out, his face shown with the glory 236 00:19:00.480 --> 00:19:03.920 of God and the people were afraid of that and they asked him to put 237 00:19:03.920 --> 00:19:10.150 a veil in front of his face. God revealed his glory to the people 238 00:19:10.150 --> 00:19:17.430 in many different ways regularly, and yet they exchange that tragically for that which 239 00:19:17.430 --> 00:19:19.390 does not profit. And we see the tragedy of that. For example, 240 00:19:19.470 --> 00:19:23.299 and easykiels prophecy where he has a vision of the glory of God coming up 241 00:19:23.380 --> 00:19:30.019 from the temple and slowly leaving. It goes up and he has this, 242 00:19:30.180 --> 00:19:32.900 you know, this huge vision and it's got wheels and Cherubim and all these 243 00:19:32.900 --> 00:19:36.259 other things and it goes out the east gate and it keeps on going up 244 00:19:36.259 --> 00:19:40.529 the Mount of Olives and it just goes. God was symbolizing there that he 245 00:19:40.650 --> 00:19:44.650 was leaving from within the midst of his people. He was leaving them desolate, 246 00:19:44.730 --> 00:19:52.200 he was leaving them abandoned because of their covenant breaking. And so he 247 00:19:52.319 --> 00:19:56.480 says, Be Appalled, Oh heavens, at this, be shocked, be 248 00:19:56.559 --> 00:20:03.160 utterly desolate, declares the Lord Israel, and not simply sinned against another nation 249 00:20:03.279 --> 00:20:06.960 or against, you know people, against other people, but they had sinned 250 00:20:07.000 --> 00:20:11.589 against the god of the universe, something that is so appalling, something that 251 00:20:11.670 --> 00:20:17.670 is so unjust so unjustified, that even the heavens are called here to be 252 00:20:17.750 --> 00:20:22.059 appalled and to be shocked at what has happened, because God himself has been 253 00:20:22.059 --> 00:20:25.940 insulted to his face, after all the graciousness that they is shown to this 254 00:20:26.059 --> 00:20:32.460 people. He has been abandoned, he has been betrayed, and that is 255 00:20:32.460 --> 00:20:36.809 a wicked crime. It is a crime in the universe, not just in 256 00:20:36.849 --> 00:20:42.569 the land. And he says in verse thirteen, for my people have committed 257 00:20:42.650 --> 00:20:48.130 two evils. And here he continues with the tragedy of all of this. 258 00:20:48.289 --> 00:20:52.119 He says they have forsaken me, the fountain of Living Waters, and hut 259 00:20:52.160 --> 00:20:59.400 out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. Now, 260 00:20:59.440 --> 00:21:02.440 if you have a fountain, a fountain as a source of water, it 261 00:21:02.559 --> 00:21:06.549 is something that keeps giving water. The cistern is simply a container that you 262 00:21:06.589 --> 00:21:08.950 can put water in and, when it's empty, attempting. But this is 263 00:21:10.029 --> 00:21:12.109 even worse. These are not simply cisterns that they have, but broken ones. 264 00:21:12.750 --> 00:21:19.500 They cannot even hold water. So they've exchanged the fountain of life for 265 00:21:19.660 --> 00:21:26.900 something that cannot even hold any water. In this image of living waters would 266 00:21:26.940 --> 00:21:30.059 have been should have been poignant, especially to those in the Old Testament, 267 00:21:30.099 --> 00:21:34.490 as they thought back of their wanderings in the wilderness, how God literally saved 268 00:21:34.490 --> 00:21:41.049 their lies when they were parched, by giving them water in strange places and 269 00:21:41.170 --> 00:21:45.049 in strange ways. Three days after they crossed the Red Sea, they were 270 00:21:45.089 --> 00:21:48.119 wandering in the Wilderness and they came upon a place in maraw where there was 271 00:21:48.160 --> 00:21:52.119 water, but it was too bitter for them to drink, and so they 272 00:21:52.160 --> 00:21:56.279 complained about that and God told Moses, take this tree and throw it into 273 00:21:56.359 --> 00:22:00.279 the the water, and when he did, those bitter waters became sweet and 274 00:22:00.319 --> 00:22:03.950 the people were able to drink of it. And later on is the people 275 00:22:03.950 --> 00:22:07.789 were wandering around further, they came to a place that had no water and 276 00:22:07.630 --> 00:22:12.670 they grumbled again against Moses, and God told Moses, Take Your staff and 277 00:22:12.750 --> 00:22:17.819 strike the Rock and water will come out, and it did, and it 278 00:22:18.299 --> 00:22:22.940 was able to give drink to the nation. And this clearly was God who 279 00:22:23.059 --> 00:22:26.619 is doing this, who is providing this life stream for the people so that 280 00:22:26.700 --> 00:22:32.490 they can continue their wilderness wandering. I mean, try this in Arizona, 281 00:22:32.569 --> 00:22:37.170 especially this dry desert he plays. Go out and take a stick, go 282 00:22:37.369 --> 00:22:40.730 find a rock somewhere and hit it and see if any water comes out. 283 00:22:42.009 --> 00:22:45.079 or go up by seven falls or someplace and when the water gets brackish and 284 00:22:45.480 --> 00:22:48.640 throw a stick in the water and see if it becomes sweet and drinkable, 285 00:22:48.680 --> 00:22:53.119 because he threw a stick in. Clearly, God himself was working for his 286 00:22:53.279 --> 00:22:57.829 people. He was bringing water to them out of a place that had no 287 00:22:57.950 --> 00:23:04.549 business giving water, and he blessed them and he provided for them, and 288 00:23:04.630 --> 00:23:11.390 yet they for forsook him, and therefore he brings this charge against them. 289 00:23:11.430 --> 00:23:15.099 He brings the somber, unpleasant, difficult to hear charge, because they need 290 00:23:15.579 --> 00:23:18.140 to hear it as members of the Covenant, is those who are bonded to 291 00:23:18.180 --> 00:23:22.339 him, as those who have made pledges to him. He is confronting them 292 00:23:22.420 --> 00:23:30.130 for their sins. Yeah, we see here that even though what they did 293 00:23:30.329 --> 00:23:34.170 was so tragic and so unjust, considering how God lavished his graces upon them, 294 00:23:36.410 --> 00:23:38.450 that even as he confronts them for his sins, he does not utterly 295 00:23:40.210 --> 00:23:44.759 smite them and wipe them off the face of the Earth, he does not 296 00:23:44.880 --> 00:23:48.599 utterly destroy them from among the earth, even though he promises, as this 297 00:23:48.039 --> 00:23:52.400 book goes on, that he will discipline them through an exile. They will 298 00:23:52.400 --> 00:24:00.470 be taken away to land far from Palestine. And yet even there, even 299 00:24:00.549 --> 00:24:10.940 in that discipline, he's still calls tenderly to Israel and remembers the earlier promises 300 00:24:11.059 --> 00:24:15.180 that he had made to their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to 301 00:24:15.299 --> 00:24:18.940 bless them and through them, to bless the entire earth. Very See, 302 00:24:18.980 --> 00:24:26.690 God's judgment was not going to take away his love. Though Israel gave God 303 00:24:26.769 --> 00:24:30.650 away, though they betrayed him and were faithless to him, he was not 304 00:24:30.730 --> 00:24:33.730 going to be faithless to his covenants, his promises that he had made long 305 00:24:33.849 --> 00:24:38.640 before to their forefathers and even all the way back in the garden to Adam 306 00:24:38.680 --> 00:24:42.680 and Eve, when he told them that their seed would crush the serpent's head. 307 00:24:44.880 --> 00:24:48.880 He was not going to abandon his plans and promises, even though his 308 00:24:48.960 --> 00:24:53.150 people had abandoned him, but rather he was going to do something else that 309 00:24:53.309 --> 00:24:59.069 also could well have made the heavens shocked. That also could have made people 310 00:24:59.069 --> 00:25:03.309 wonder what on Earth is going on. He was going to take this people 311 00:25:03.309 --> 00:25:07.380 who deserve nothing but to be snuffed out, and he was going to lavish 312 00:25:07.380 --> 00:25:15.380 them with even more graces. Imagine that he was going to be even more 313 00:25:15.700 --> 00:25:19.700 merciful, he was going to give them even more than what they deserved on 314 00:25:19.779 --> 00:25:26.450 the good side in the future. And that also is the message that Jeremiah 315 00:25:26.450 --> 00:25:30.809 brings. In Jeremiah thirty one, he talks about a new covenant that he 316 00:25:30.930 --> 00:25:34.009 is going to make and he says behold, the days are coming, declares 317 00:25:34.049 --> 00:25:37.359 the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel 318 00:25:37.799 --> 00:25:40.799 and the House of Judah, not like the Covenant that I made with their 319 00:25:40.839 --> 00:25:44.000 fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out 320 00:25:44.000 --> 00:25:47.720 of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was 321 00:25:47.799 --> 00:25:52.029 their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will 322 00:25:52.069 --> 00:25:55.750 make with the House of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. I 323 00:25:55.829 --> 00:25:59.509 will put my law within them and I will write it on their hearts, 324 00:26:00.750 --> 00:26:03.109 and I will be their God and they shall be my people, and no 325 00:26:03.269 --> 00:26:07.259 longer so. Each one teaches neighbor and each his brother, saying know the 326 00:26:07.339 --> 00:26:08.339 Lord, for they all shall know me, from the least of them to 327 00:26:08.380 --> 00:26:14.579 the greatest, declares the Lord, for I will forgive their iniquity and I 328 00:26:14.619 --> 00:26:22.009 will remember their sin no more. You See, when God put Israel under 329 00:26:22.009 --> 00:26:25.250 the law again, he was not putting them under a wicked law, he 330 00:26:25.369 --> 00:26:30.250 was putting them under a righteous law, and they were fully responsible for the 331 00:26:30.329 --> 00:26:33.960 fact that they broke his law, the fact that they were sinful. It 332 00:26:33.119 --> 00:26:40.759 was their own decisions to violate that covenant. Any human being who's created in 333 00:26:40.759 --> 00:26:44.480 the image of God is responsible to be righteous, and they certainly were. 334 00:26:44.680 --> 00:26:48.390 In addition to being part of this great covenant with the Lord, they had 335 00:26:48.470 --> 00:26:53.470 these responsibilities. But don't you see, they were still fleshly people who were 336 00:26:53.509 --> 00:26:57.750 spiritually dead, even though they were called to be righteous, even though they 337 00:26:57.750 --> 00:27:00.700 were supposed to be righteous, even though there was no reason for them to 338 00:27:00.740 --> 00:27:07.500 be unrighteous. Like in a bad horror movie where somebody gets infected and becomes 339 00:27:07.500 --> 00:27:12.099 a Zombie, they had no choice. They were dead and enslaved in trespasses 340 00:27:12.180 --> 00:27:15.450 and sins, and no matter how glorious the works of God, no matter 341 00:27:15.529 --> 00:27:18.450 how powerfully God worked, they were always going to go back, like a 342 00:27:18.529 --> 00:27:22.890 dog to its vomit, to these idols that cannot provide for them. They 343 00:27:22.970 --> 00:27:27.690 were always going to go back to the seductiveness of their flesh rather than the 344 00:27:27.769 --> 00:27:32.079 God who had life. They were always going to reject him. And if 345 00:27:32.119 --> 00:27:34.880 you look back through the Old Testament, you see that cycle repeating itself again 346 00:27:34.920 --> 00:27:41.680 and again and again. God rescues Israel and for a little while they obey 347 00:27:41.680 --> 00:27:44.710 him and then they fall into sin and so God brings a nation against them 348 00:27:44.990 --> 00:27:49.549 in judgment. They cry out to God, he rescues them again and for 349 00:27:49.589 --> 00:27:52.069 a little while they are righteous and then they fall back into sin. And 350 00:27:52.069 --> 00:27:55.829 if you read the judges, you see that or thirteen times just in that 351 00:27:55.910 --> 00:28:00.299 book. The whole purpose of those judges was to rescue them when they had 352 00:28:00.339 --> 00:28:06.259 fallen into sin. They could not in their hearts do any differently than they 353 00:28:06.299 --> 00:28:10.779 had done, and that illustrates the true need that they had, which was 354 00:28:10.940 --> 00:28:18.049 not ultimately liberation from a pharaoh or a land with milk and honey or live 355 00:28:18.170 --> 00:28:22.809 ration from a military enemy, but rather their true need, like all of 356 00:28:22.890 --> 00:28:27.519 our true needs, was liberation from enslavement to sin and death. For without 357 00:28:27.599 --> 00:28:33.039 that and for without the new life, the spiritual life of the Holy Spirit, 358 00:28:33.759 --> 00:28:37.880 they would continue to do things which would lead to their eternal damn nation 359 00:28:37.799 --> 00:28:44.789 rather than their eternal glorification. But God promises them, and yet another act 360 00:28:44.829 --> 00:28:49.269 of grace, that he will provide what they need to be righteous. You 361 00:28:49.349 --> 00:28:52.750 will forgive their sins, he will send that promised son of David, but 362 00:28:52.789 --> 00:29:00.819 he will also send us Holy Spirit into their very hearts and write his law 363 00:29:00.859 --> 00:29:06.460 upon their hearts so that they obey it. Ezekiel gives and talking about the 364 00:29:06.500 --> 00:29:10.809 same thing, he gives a slightly different metaphor. Their God says, I 365 00:29:10.809 --> 00:29:12.210 will take out your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 366 00:29:12.329 --> 00:29:17.329 I will put my spirit within you and cause you to obey my statutes. 367 00:29:18.970 --> 00:29:22.769 What is describing there is what we in the New Testament called being born again, 368 00:29:23.089 --> 00:29:27.039 that through his Holy Spirit we will be made a new creation. These 369 00:29:27.119 --> 00:29:30.839 are the blessings of the new covenants. These are the blessings that God was 370 00:29:30.960 --> 00:29:36.240 promising his people way back there in Jeremiah's Day, and beloved, these are 371 00:29:36.279 --> 00:29:41.390 the blessings that we you and I today, this blessing we have received, 372 00:29:41.509 --> 00:29:47.109 this lavishness of grace, even eternal life, because God kept his promises that 373 00:29:47.190 --> 00:29:49.230 he may way back then, because in the fullness of time, he did 374 00:29:49.349 --> 00:29:53.380 send his son, that son of David, who did live a perfect life 375 00:29:53.859 --> 00:29:56.779 with a fully human nature. He did what no other human being had ever 376 00:29:56.900 --> 00:30:03.460 done. He perfectly obeyed God's law and then he offered himself as a sacrifice 377 00:30:03.539 --> 00:30:08.930 for sins. He merited us, he earned us, he bought us and 378 00:30:10.089 --> 00:30:14.809 for that reason we are able to come into the inheritance that was the result 379 00:30:14.849 --> 00:30:21.720 of his righteousness. Beloved, when we take communion this this is illustrated even 380 00:30:21.759 --> 00:30:25.400 in the words of institution. Jesus said this is the blood of the new 381 00:30:25.440 --> 00:30:29.759 covenant. When he was instituting the Lord's supper, he was saying that New 382 00:30:29.839 --> 00:30:34.240 Covenant is here, it is here and and you are able to enter into 383 00:30:34.240 --> 00:30:38.549 it. And the promise of that is that we, even now can have 384 00:30:38.670 --> 00:30:42.069 the new life of the Holy Spirit that we had. Cycle of dependence and 385 00:30:42.150 --> 00:30:48.990 slavery to the flesh can be broken because God has sent his Holy Spirit to 386 00:30:49.099 --> 00:30:56.420 the whole Church and so beloved. If you were here today and you don't 387 00:30:56.460 --> 00:31:00.299 yet know the Lord, if you've not yet experienced being born again, let 388 00:31:00.380 --> 00:31:03.259 me tell you that, according to God's promises, which he has kept, 389 00:31:04.329 --> 00:31:07.730 he's kept all his promises. But let me tell you, according to his 390 00:31:07.890 --> 00:31:11.369 word, that this Gospel is full and free and available for you today. 391 00:31:14.289 --> 00:31:18.720 God is just as lavish as you was ever, and eternal life is even 392 00:31:18.759 --> 00:31:22.279 more lavish than all the blessings that he gave to Israel. And these lavish 393 00:31:22.359 --> 00:31:27.200 blessings of eternal life for yours today, and they come through Jesus Christ. 394 00:31:30.119 --> 00:31:33.269 The scripture says, if you believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ, you will 395 00:31:33.269 --> 00:31:37.269 be saved. Jesus said in me you will bear much food. Apart from 396 00:31:37.309 --> 00:31:41.869 you can do nothing. Do not trust in the strength of your own flesh 397 00:31:41.269 --> 00:31:45.869 to be righteous enough, but trust in Christ, who is righteous enough for 398 00:31:45.990 --> 00:31:52.059 you and who can take away all of your sins. For those of us 399 00:31:52.059 --> 00:31:56.900 who are already born again, who are already Christians, who already confess Christ, 400 00:31:57.779 --> 00:32:01.329 the question maybe, well, how then shall we live? We know 401 00:32:01.569 --> 00:32:06.250 in this world that we are surrounded by people who are spiritually dead, who 402 00:32:06.289 --> 00:32:08.170 are surprised that we do not run after the same sins that they do, 403 00:32:09.329 --> 00:32:14.930 who have very different values, very different priorities than we do and who seek 404 00:32:14.970 --> 00:32:17.160 a very different kingdom than we do. They seek things that are of the 405 00:32:17.200 --> 00:32:22.920 world, well beloved. Our privilege, as well as our duty, is 406 00:32:23.000 --> 00:32:29.359 to remind ourselves constantly, with the eyes of faith, not being distracted by 407 00:32:29.400 --> 00:32:31.750 the things of the world, are the desires of the world, but to 408 00:32:31.829 --> 00:32:36.430 remember what God has done for us and in us. If you're a Christian, 409 00:32:36.430 --> 00:32:38.390 if you've been a Christian for any length of time, you know the 410 00:32:38.549 --> 00:32:43.470 experience of being a new creation. Just as Paul says, we are new 411 00:32:43.589 --> 00:32:47.099 creatures in Christ. You know what it means, especially if you were converted 412 00:32:47.140 --> 00:32:51.259 as an adult, what it means to go from being a hardhearted, rebellious 413 00:32:51.339 --> 00:32:55.019 God hitting person to somebody who believes in to some somebody who has changed and 414 00:32:55.140 --> 00:33:00.490 converted. That life did not come from yourself, it came from above. 415 00:33:01.849 --> 00:33:06.690 It came from Christ through his Holy Spirit. We are calling now, as 416 00:33:06.730 --> 00:33:08.769 Christians, to walk after that Holy Spirit, to walk according to that new 417 00:33:08.890 --> 00:33:14.640 life that we have and no matter how seductive the things of the world might 418 00:33:14.680 --> 00:33:17.279 seem, we are called to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, 419 00:33:20.000 --> 00:33:22.319 and then all the things of the world that we need, our food 420 00:33:22.359 --> 00:33:27.039 and our clothing, our health. Jesus said those things will be added to 421 00:33:27.119 --> 00:33:31.069 you, for your father in heaven already knows that you need them. But 422 00:33:31.190 --> 00:33:36.470 we are called to seek first those things that are that are eternal, because 423 00:33:36.470 --> 00:33:39.549 we've been given those things that are eternal. We are already participating an eternal 424 00:33:39.670 --> 00:33:44.259 life. You know, it's almost like, you know, we as Christians 425 00:33:44.299 --> 00:33:49.099 look forward to Christ coming back and remaking the world and remaking our bodies and 426 00:33:49.220 --> 00:33:52.619 the new heavens and the new Earth And the vision that John Sees and revelation 427 00:33:52.700 --> 00:33:55.730 twenty one. But beloved the fact that we already bear the spirit and the 428 00:33:55.769 --> 00:34:00.490 fact that we are already born again, it's as if we've already stepped into 429 00:34:00.529 --> 00:34:05.690 revelation twenty one, at least partially. We are already partaking in and tasting 430 00:34:07.009 --> 00:34:13.119 the next world. We are already tasting of the new creation which is already 431 00:34:13.119 --> 00:34:17.199 within us, and you us that will be completed and consummated when Christ returns. 432 00:34:17.239 --> 00:34:21.119 But you know, we already experience the power of that in our own 433 00:34:21.199 --> 00:34:28.630 lives, and so we are called to rejoice in that we are called to 434 00:34:28.710 --> 00:34:32.710 esteem that which is greater than anything that the world can offer and to follow 435 00:34:32.710 --> 00:34:39.900 after that work that the Lord is done within us. Let us keep that 436 00:34:40.019 --> 00:34:44.340 perspective, let us keep that encouragements as we face the days ahead, as 437 00:34:44.380 --> 00:34:47.699 we face the sins that remain in our own hearts, as we face the 438 00:34:47.739 --> 00:34:52.690 temptations of the world. It can be frustrating at times and it can be 439 00:34:52.809 --> 00:34:55.929 tempting at times to be fixated on, you know, one or another of 440 00:34:55.969 --> 00:35:04.130 our short failings, but let us not allow that to obscure the largeness and 441 00:35:04.250 --> 00:35:08.119 the lavishness of God's grace and the power that he has already worked within us 442 00:35:08.159 --> 00:35:13.400 through his Holy Spirit. For greater is he that is in you than he 443 00:35:13.519 --> 00:35:16.320 that is in the world, and our faith will overcome the world, and 444 00:35:17.480 --> 00:35:21.869 no sin that you can commit will separate you from the love of God, 445 00:35:22.389 --> 00:35:28.030 for we are under the blood. So be thankful for the Lord's work and 446 00:35:28.190 --> 00:35:31.710 walk in the light of that newness of life. And let us do that 447 00:35:32.309 --> 00:35:36.340 regardless of what the world does or what they tempt us to do or what 448 00:35:36.460 --> 00:35:39.300 we see with our eyes, or rather, let us look with the eyes 449 00:35:39.380 --> 00:35:43.739 of faith to the coming of Christ Kingdom. Let us pray

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