The Book of JEREMIAH
James J. Barker


Lesson 9
WHY IS THIS PEOPLE SLIDDEN BACK?

Text: JEREMIAH 8:1-22


INTRODUCTION:


  1. Jeremiah chapter 8 continues Jeremiah's message preached in the temple gate (cf. 7:1, 2).
  2. The words, "At that time" (8:1) connect the prophecies with the judgments described at the end of chapter 7 (cf. 7:32, 33).
  3. The day would come when the valley of Hinnom would become a cemetery, and the invading Babylonian soldiers would plunder the graves and tombs (8:1).
  4. The valley of Hinnom (Gehenna in the New Testament, translated as "hell" in our English Bible) became a filthy garbage dump, with the bodies of the dead Israelites spread out like dung (8:2).
  5. What a horrible picture of judgment!  The Babylonians would do it, but it was the judgment of God (cf. Ezek. 6:5).
  6. The theme of Jeremiah 8 is the same as all the other chapters: judgment (cf. 8:13-17).
  7. Verse 5 poses an interesting question: "Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding?"
  8. Oftentimes we pastors ask the same question about certain church members!

 

I. THEY ENGAGED IN ABOMINABLE IDOLATRY

  1. Notice the repetition in verse 2 -- "whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped..."
  2. Jeremiah is referring to astral worship -- the worship of the sun, and the moon, and the stars (8:2a).  In the middle-east, worship of the heavens (i.e. the sun, the moon, and the stars) was very popular.
  3. Usually, the moon was worshipped as the chief of the pantheon (like Zeus was to the Greeks), and the sun was his wife.  The name for the moon god in Canaan and the surrounding lands was Baal, and in Babylon, his name was Bel.
  4. We find this pagan worship condemned in the Bible many times (cf. Deuteronomy 4:19, 17:3; II Kings 21:3-6; 23:5; Jeremiah 8:2).
  5. Archaeologists and historians have shown us that the moon was usually worshipped in its crescent phase.  That is why the crescent and star is the symbol for Islam.  Muhammad took the old pagan astral religion of the Arabians at Mecca, kept all of their rituals, and claimed Allah the god who commissioned him to start this new religion.
  6. This judgment would be so horrible that the "residue" who survived would prefer to die (Jer. 8:2, 3).   This reminds us of the prophecy in Revelation 9:6, "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."

 

II. THEY REFUSED TO REPENT (8:5, 6).

  1. This is a theme that runs through the entire book of Jeremiah.  Rather than be contrite and repentant, they said, "What have I done?" (8:6).
  2. "Every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into battleĒ (8:6).
  3. Migrating birds -- the stork and the turtledove and the crane and the swallow -- they know what they should do, but obstinate and spiritually blind sinners "know not the judgment of the LORD" (8:7).
  4. They were deceived and deluded.  They considered themselves wise, and thought they knew the law of the LORD (8:8).  In fact, they had "rejected the word of the LORD" (8:9).
  5. "The pen of the scribes is in vain" (useless) because the people would not submit to the authority of God's Word (8:8, 9).
  6. In punishment, God was going to give their wives and their fields to others (8:10; cf. 6:12).  This was very painful for Jeremiah to preach, and so he wept over it (9:1).
  7. The people rejected Jeremiah, but they loved to follow the false prophets, who preached "peace, peace; when there is no peace" (8:11; cf. 6:14).
  8. The religious leaders were just as covetous as the people, and they were guilty of dealing falsely (8:10).
  9. Throughout the book of Jeremiah, the LORD stressed that these false preachers were liars and deceivers (14:14; 23:21; 29:9, 31).
  10. Things have not changed much.  Today false prophets are a plague upon America -- Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren. et al.
  11. And not just America, because these false prophets spread their error all over the world.

 

III. THEY HAD REACHED THE POINT OF NO RETURN

  1. The day of Godís patience with them as a nation had come to an end, and all hope was now in vain.
  2. On the upper Niagara River, on the border between Canada and the United States, there are signs marked "point of no return." Going beyond that point means most likely going over Niagara Falls.  Over the years, a few people have ignored the warnings and have gone past the "point of no return."
  3. The same thing happens in the spiritual realm (cf. 7:15, 16).
  4. The people in Jeremiah's day "committed abomination," but were not at all ashamed (8:12).
  5. That sounds like America in 2012!
  6. Warren Wiersbe says the latter half of Jeremiah 8 "blend three voices: God's voice of judgment, the people's voice of despair, and the prophet's voice of anguish as he contemplated the ruin of a once-great nation" (The Bible Exposition Commentary).
  7. God's voice of judgment (8:13, 17, 19).
  8. The people's voice of despair (8:14, 15, 20).
  9. The prophet's voice of anguish (8:18, 21).

 

CONCLUSION:

  1. Regarding Jeremiah 8:22, J. Vernon McGee said, "God had made adequate provision, but they refused the remedy" (Thru the Bible).
  2. And so it is today.  For example, the godless media keep saying that voters do not care about moral issues, just the economy.
  3. But as long as America continues to reject the Word of God, things will just get worse and worse -- including the economy!


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