Summary: The need to keep our commitment to God
Intro: Today is a very special day in my life. 7 years ago today, I stood at the front of a church, and looked back the aisle at a young girl from my church who walked forward, took my hand, and committed the rest of her life to live as my wife. It’s a very sentimental moment in my life. Ronda and I have three videos of that service, and we have watched each often.
What would you think if I told you today I was getting a divorce? Some of you probably might believe that Ronda was finally coming to her senses. But what if I stood here before you and told you I’ve been having an affair? What if I told you I could care less whether I stay married or not? What are the thoughts that rush through your mind?
I realize that this is a sensitive matter. I know there are some in this church who have experienced the pain of divorce. But I also know that there are some who have been a part of this church, and even in the short time since I have been here, they have decided they were tired of living with their spouse. In fact, more than one, has decided they no longer wished to be married to their husband.
Unfaithfulness is a great tragedy. It has terrible consequences. But that is not just the truth about marriages, but also in our spiritual lives. Jeremiah is a book about unfaithfulness. Jeremiah uses many visual images to show the people their sinfulness in being unfaithful to their God. Let’s look at Jeremiah 11 to see a vivid picture of how God viewed the people.
I. Israel’s Commitment to God
A. The Jews were “married” to the LORD - they were to be faithful
God had bound himself in a covenant relationship with the Jews. He had set them apart as a people special to himself. He had sealed the relationship through “covenants” with the people.
##When we got married, Ronda and I made promises to each other about our faithfulness.
The Jews also made “covenants” with the Lord.
Ex. 19 - Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain and said, "This is what you are to say to the house of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: `You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD.
Many priests and kings renew this covenant - David, Jehoida, Hezekiah, Josiah - The people time and time again renewed their vows to be faithful to the LORD.
The people were responsible for their part: obedience 11:4
God was responsible for his part: relationship - 4 “my people” & rewards 5 “land”
As Jeremiah is reminded of this relationship, he affirms that it is a good relationship -
5 “Amen” - [let it be so]
B. The Jews had adulterous affairs
Jeremiah gives us very vivid pictures of the unfaithfulness of Israel. Just as in a marriage, the thought of one partner having an affair is a terrible thought; yet, think about someone who has multiple affairs with multiple partners. There really is no commitment to the marriage.
This is the picture that Jeremiah gives of Israel.
He compares her to a wild donkey in heat, eager to mate with any donkeys that pass by. 2:23-24
He compares her to prostitutes willing to defile themselves under any shady tree they come to 2:20
11:9-10 The people had broken their promises to their God.
11:13 - Not only did they go into idolatry, but they were consumed with it. They had more idols than streets in the town.
C. God, the faithful partner, brings judgment for the nation’s unfaithfulness
11:8 - As a result of their idolatry, God’s judgment comes
11:10 - The northern kingdom of Israel had been destroyed for their idolatry. Judah, the southern kingdom was spared due to a godly King, Hezekiah. But God will bring judgment now for the continued idolatry of the south.
11:11-12 God will not spare the people this time