Summary: As people reflect on 911, my question is: Are we really healing as a nation? In this message we look at Jeremiah 8 and see some astonishing parallels between Judah and America today.
Are We Really Healed?
Aug 11, 2002
They dress the wound of my people
as though it were not serious.
"Peace, peace," they say,
when there is no peace.
One month from today will mark the one-year anniversary of 911. This day will be commemorated by numerous memorial services, many of them religious in nature. Among the sermons that will be preached will be ones declaring how America is healing and how we as Americans have become better as a result of the 911 tragedy.
Spiritually speaking, however, are we stronger than we were prior to September 11th, 2001? Is America truly healing? As I was pondering the anniversary of 911 and this past year my thoughts have turned to Jeremiah 8.
This evening we are going to examine a nation—the Kingdom of Judah. Consider that Judah faced times of crisis and brief revival, but in the end always reverted back to idolatry and immorality. It was during its final age of apostasy and existence as a nation that God raised up a prophet, Jeremiah, to preach to a generation that would not hear His truth.
This evening we hear God speaking out against the apostasy of Judah, but in these words we will clearly see how they fit situation we now face in America. I need to warn you that this may not be the kind of positive sermon one would hope to hear in reflection on the events of 911, but I believe in my heart that it is the message that God would have me speak.
To look at some of the context behind this verse let us look at Jeremiah 7:30-34.
The Valley of Slaughter
30 " ’The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the Lord . They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire-something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.
32 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord , when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter, for they will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 Then the carcasses of this people will become food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and there will be no one to frighten them away.
34 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.
This passage speaks of the high places of Topheth. It is interesting that the Hebrew word for drum is Toph, and it is very likely that this word is derived from this. Loud drums were often used during sacrifice to drown out the horrific cries of children being sacrificed to pagan deities. The people of Judah had replaced the God of their forefathers with the worship of Baal, the Canaanite deity male power and sexuality, and Ashteroth, the goddess of fertility and war.
Worship of these false deities often involved temple prostitutes in acts of gross sexual debauchery. The idol to Baal resembled a male sexual organ, while the altar to Ashteroth had the appearance of a female sexual organ.