Summary: This message deals with the futility of religious activity apart from obedience to God, and the similarities between the conditions of Israel during the days of Jeremiah and the churches of today.
Call To A Collapsing Country
Text: Jer.8: 1-12
Intro: The nation of Israel had enjoyed God’s blessings in an unprecedented way. God had personally chosen them to be His people from among all the peoples of the earth. According to the Scriptures, this was not due to any special attractiveness or merit on their part. God, in His infinite wisdom, chose this insignificant people as the vehicle through whom He would show His love, mercy and grace, and fulfill His eternal purposes. Deuteronomy 7: 6 and 7 says of Israel, “…The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people.”
Yet, in spite of the fact that God chose, cared for, and cherished Israel, they betrayed Him over and over again, by turning to false gods. God Himself referred to the children of Israel as a “stiffnecked people” (Deut.9: 13b). That simply meant that they were rebellious and stubborn. The accuracy of God’s evaluation of Israel has been verified numerous times throughout their history. However, in spite of Israel’s failures and foibles, God remained faithful.
In Jeremiah chapters 7-10, Jeremiah bemoans the spiritual condition of his people. He did not mince words when describing their waywardness and corruption. As one examines Jeremiah’s sad account of Israel’s backslidden condition, the similarity to our own nation is readily seen. For instance, one of the issues that Jeremiah addressed was the futility of religious activity apart from obedience (Jer.7: 21-28). Like many modern-day Christians in America, Israel of old had the mistaken idea that, as long as they went through the motions of religious activity, God would somehow overlook their disobedience. The judgment that God pronounced upon Israel through Jeremiah, proved that idea to be a tragic miscalculation on their part.
As we examine the words of “the weeping prophet,” I want us to not only notice the similarities between Israel’s condition and that of our churches and nation, but also realize that if we are to experience revival and the presence and power of God, we will have to be willing to do what God told Israel—stop trusting the efforts of the flesh, and start seeking God.
Theme: As God issues His call to repentance to Israel, we notice…
I. THE CONCERN OF JEREMIAH’S HEART
A. His People’s Folly.
1. Jeremiah foresees the captivity of his people, and their inquisitive response.
Jer.8: 18 “When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me.
19a-b Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? is not her king in her?”
2. Jeremiah foresees God answering their impetuous query with an inquiring reply.
Jer.8: 19c “…Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?”
3. Jeremiah concludes that all hope of deliverance is gone, due to Israel’s ignoring repentance.
Jer.8: 20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
NOTE:  Jeremiah is using the harvest time to illustrate the hopelessness of Israel’s condition. The picture being given here is of one who has not taken the opportunity to harvest any crops from April to October, and thereby has nothing stored for the winter months. There would be no way to survive. Jeremiah’s proverbial statement simply means, “…the people had lost every opportunity given them by God, and now they were entirely without hope. One favorable time after another went unheeded.”(i) Like Israel, many people of our day aren’t serious about repentance.
The sure test of the quality of any supposed change of heart will be found in its permanent effects. “By their fruits you shall know them” is as applicable to the right method of judging ourselves as of judging others. Whatever, therefore, may have been our inward experience, whatever joy or sorrow we may have felt, unless we bring forth fruits meet for repentance, our experience will profit us nothing. Repentance is incomplete unless it leads to confession and restitution in cases of injury; unless it causes us to forsake not merely outward sins, which others notice, but those which lie concealed in the heart; unless it makes us choose the service of God and live not for ourselves but for Him. There is no duty which is either more obvious in itself, or more frequently asserted in the Word of God, than that of repentance.(ii)
 Folks, the Bible says that God is merciful and longsuffering. But that same Bible also indicates that there comes a time when God’s patience runs out. When that happens, judgment is inevitable. I fear that our nation and its backslidden churches are quickly reaching the end of God’s patience.