This is His selection this evening. It is about the culmination of the Lord’s judgment of His beloved people of Judah, His chosen people. Jeremiah begins by reminding His people that for almost two and half decades the Father has instructed Him to warn them of the imminent invasion by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.

Jeremiah 25 (NKJV)

Seventy Years of Desolation

“From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the Lord has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened. And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, ‘Repent now every one of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the Lord, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.

He has sent Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, to name a few to them, “rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear.” They have not only refused to listen, but they have done so defiantly despite the gentle, gracious innumerable invitations to forgive them and accept them back with open arms.

Ezekiel 18 (NKJV)

Turn and Live

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. 23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?

Micah 7 (NKJV)

18 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?

He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy.[j] 19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities.

You will cast all [k]our sins Into the depths of the sea. 20 You will give truth to Jacob And [l]mercy to Abraham, Which You have sworn to our fathers From days of old.

Why after twenty three years is He finally judging His people?

Micah 7 (NKJV)

Sorrow for Israel’s Sins

Woe is me! For I am like those who gather summer fruits, Like those who glean vintage grapes; There is no cluster to eat Of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires. The faithful[a] man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net.

That they may successfully do evil with both hands— The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together. The best of them is like a brier; The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; Now shall be their perplexity.

Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; Guard the doors of your mouth From her who lies in your bosom. For son dishonors father, Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household. Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.”

 

This moral descent began as it does to this day, by leaving our Father and His ways to worship/idolize things/people, anything other than Him. Today we do not fashion “with the works of your hands,” statues of pagan gods, and really, even then, they were not. These man-made “gods” were figureheads of a false doctrine that they created to enable them to do what we do today, worship self.

We reject Him and His doctrine of selflessness, humility, kindness, consideration, generosity of spirit, all that we all know is good in this world, to pursue that which provides, comfort, entertainment to each one of us individually, and if necessary-at the expense of others. Greed, avarice, oppression, injustice etc., all that is wrong with us and our species is an outgrowth of leaving Him to pursue what satisfies our natural self, that is, who we are without His teachings and His glorious ways.

Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’

How often do we read words of this kind? Isn’t it more about us, than Him?

Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the Lord, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.”

His word contains the most beautiful words of love for us, His children. We only read uncharacteristic words of harming us, when we have gone this far from Him. And why does a loving father whose love for His children that exceeds anything we are capable of, threaten to harm us? Is it Him or us?

His people have begun as we all do with leaving Him and the ways in which He wants us to live with one another. One sin will lead to another and, without apparent consequences it grows, until now:

Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.

The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together. The best of them is like a brier; The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge….

They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net.

That they may successfully do evil with both hands—

What typically begins with a sin here and there accompanied by remorse, has over time, become a way of life without giving pause to consider those they “harm.”

That they may successfully do evil with both hands— There isn’t any justice, the poor, the widows, the vulnerable are without recourse. The rulers and the powers that be would use their armies, the army that was to protect their citizens, the ones they were responsible to protect, whose interests they were supposed to champion, they used this army to violently take the homes, the possessions, property of their people. So it was literally, brother against brother for in His eyes that is what we are, brothers and sisters.

This is not an uncommon form of His judgment. The invulnerable who are not victims of injustice, who are safely dwelling in their homes with all of their citizen’s finest possessions, are unfamiliar with what it feels like to be on the other side. They harm the citizens without a thought for they have not been harmed by them, they have not felt what they are feeling and so the Lord lets them know in hopes that it will soften their hardened hearts. This is typically an effective form of correction-at least while they are experiencing it.

History bears this out. Typically, His people repent, He always forgives, showers them with words of comfort and abundant blessings as a good father does when they see their child in pain. But just like children, we become comfortable, therefore we leave Him to pursue self, and history repeats itself over and over to this day.

We do not change, but neither does He. This is why we still exist as a species and will continue to until all who have chosen to be His, are:

2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

We were all meant to join Him in our home, Gahanna was created as the home of Satan and the angels that joined him. It was never intended for us. It is our choice. Both are ours for the asking. He does not try to force us to do anything, that is Satan’s technique, but first he lures us. Once we have listened, He keeps luring until our own sin traps us. Then if we have any thoughts of trying to return to His ways, He contradicts them, letting us know that we are not worthy of forgiveness, that we have gone too far, done too much and that He will never forgive us. We are not worthy and in that, and that alone, he is correct.

Not one of us is worthy to even approach a Holy, and sacred Father, incapable of sin, but He loves us. He will always love us no matter what we do, His love is not based on our worth. If that were the case, none of us would experience the love like no other, which is why He keeps trying and trying and trying to this day. He knows, and only He and those who are powerless to escape to tell us-to warn us about this horrific place, know what awaits us if we choose to pursue the way He would not have us live, for an eternity. That will be our home.

So He tries to influence us with correction if we have gone so far as to ignore His gentle warnings, “to save (their) life.” It’s what He does, just as the devil destroys, our Father restores, saves:

Ezekiel 3 (NKJV)

Ezekiel Is a Watchman

16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: 18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

His only desire is to bless, our only natural desire is to take, for ourselves. But with Him we can change, we can be more like His Son. He not only sent Jesus to save us, save our souls, but to give us an example of the way He would have us be.

Matthew 11:29 (NKJV)

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

The only time we see Him angry is when He finds His Father’s house being used to cheat the poor, and the vulnerable by those who are His representatives, the priests. They were getting a sizeable percentage for their cooperation in bilking His people:

John 2 (NKJV)

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers [b]doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house [c]has eaten Me up.”

They were charging the people who came to worship a sizeable fee to change their currency for what they deemed an acceptable form of donation. The poor would offer doves, or their farm animals that and the priests would inspect each one and deem them unacceptable so they were forced to purchase the overpriced offerings they sold.

16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

This passage is often referred to as a den of thieves, His “Father’s house,” our Father’s house, they made it a den of thieves.

It still goes on to this day, those who purport to represent Him selling prayers, promises of healing, promises of prosperity etc. to take money from His children. He would forgive them too if they were sincerely sorry.

When you read of those He has saved in the bible, e.g., Manasseh, you realize in our limited way, how much He loves us, if Jesus’ death on the cross does not convince you, read His word. Even then it is likely that we will not know the extent and the breadth of His love for us.

Ephesians 3 (NKJV)

Appreciation of the Mystery

14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father [f]of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Jeremiah 25 (NKJV)

Seventy Years of Desolation

25 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the Lord has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened. And the Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the Lord, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.

“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the Lord, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will [a]take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12 ‘Then it will come to pass, when [b]seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation. 13 So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. 14 (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)’ ”

Judgment on the Nations

15 For thus says the Lord God of Israel to me: “Take this wine cup of [c]fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. 16 And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.”

17 Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord had sent me: 18 Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and its princes, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his princes, and all his people; 20 all the mixed multitude, all the kings of the land of Uz, all the kings of the land of the Philistines (namely, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab, and the people of Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastlands which are across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who are in the farthest corners; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed multitude who dwell in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes; 26 all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the world which are on the face of the earth. Also the king of [d]Sheshach shall drink after them.

27 “Therefore you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you.” ’ 28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “You shall certainly drink! 29 For behold, I begin to bring calamity on the city which is called by My name, and should you be utterly unpunished? You shall not be unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all the inhabitants of the earth,” says the Lord of hosts.’

30 “Therefore prophesy against them all these words, and say to them:

‘The Lord will roar from on high, And utter His voice from His holy habitation; He will roar mightily against His fold. He will give a shout, as those who tread the grapes, Against all the inhabitants of the earth. 31 A noise will come to the ends of the earth— For the Lord has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,’ says the Lord.”

32 Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Behold, disaster shall go forth From nation to nation, And a great whirlwind shall be raised up From the farthest parts of the earth.

33 And at that day the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground.

34 “Wail, shepherds, and cry! Roll about in the ashes, You leaders of the flock! For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions are fulfilled; You shall fall like a precious vessel. 35 And the shepherds will have no [e]way to flee, Nor the leaders of the flock to escape. 36 A voice of the cry of the shepherds, And a wailing of the leaders to the flock will be heard. For the Lord has plundered their pasture, 37 And the peaceful dwellings are cut down Because of the fierce anger of the Lord. 38 He has left His lair like the lion; For their land is desolate Because of the fierceness of the Oppressor, And because of His fierce anger.”