Summary: Are there alarms going off in your life that you need to pay attnetion to?
On Wednesday this past week, I curled up on the couch with Melissa to watch ABC’s Emmy winning television show LOST. If you haven’t seen the show before, it is about a plane crash that leaves its survivors stranded on a Pacific island. As the men and women band together to try and escape, they begin to discover that the island has a lot of weird things going on. There are intense howls of a mysterious creature stalking the jungle, a polar bear, a marooned and possibly crazy French woman, a mystical boar, a mysterious group known only as "The Others," a ship called The Black Rock and...a hatch.
As the show ended last season the emphasis was placed on this random hatch that they found in the jungle. Four of the characters went out to the ship called The Black Rock, found dynamite and prepared to blow the hatch open so that they could hide everyone inside. Just before the fuse was lit, the character whose name is Hurley runs over yelling, “Stop! Don’t light it! Don’t do it!” John Locke, the character holding the fuse, ignores the warning, lights the fuse, and blows the hatch.
As the four characters explore the hatch in the episode on Wednesday, they realize that on the underside of the hatch is written, “QUARENTEED.” Despite the blunt warning, they decided to go and investigate and by the end of the show, one of the characters is potentially dead and two of them have a gun pointed at them as the show ends. If they had only listened to Hurley and later, to the warning on the back of the hatch, they wouldn’t have been in the mess they were in.
As we began our study of Jeremiah a few weeks ago, Pastor Tim defined the job of a prophet as someone “sent by God…to convey a message, or series of messages from God.” Their main role was to warn the people about their behavior and sound the alarm that would bring the people back to their senses and a relationship with God. As wee see in our text for this morning, there was definitely enough going on for Jeremiah to sound an alarm about.
In 5:1, we see that the people are liars and cheaters. God challenges the people to find “but one person who deals honestly and seeks truth.” If they can succeed, God will grant the city forgiveness. The hint of sarcasm in this message from God is similar to the charge he gave to Abraham about the city of Sodom and Gomorrah.
In 5:2, the people are using God’s name in vain. As they are running their businesses dishonestly, they are promising people things in God’s name in order to help them succeed in their schemes. “They say, ‘As surely as the Lord loves,’ still they are swearing falsely.”
In 5:7, we see that the people are committing idolatry. The people are forsaking the true God and worshiping other gods. This is what Pastor Tim talked about last week. The people traded in their full cisterns of “living water” and blessing from God for broken cisterns that have no hope or future. God is amazed that the people still flock to others even though He has supplied for all of their needs.
And in 5:8, the people are compared to a lusty stallion in how they “neigh” after other men’s wives. The people have no regard for the sacredness of marriage and spend their efforts on desires that can not be theirs. No doubt, this probably led to adultery and sexual immorality throughout the land as well.
With all of this immorality going on, Jeremiah is sent to sound the alarm and warn the people that their actions were not in line with what God laid out for the people in the first five books of the Old Testament. If the people did not change, then they would face the consequences of God’s judgment (5:6, 5:10-11, 5:15b). There are two main ways that the Israelites responded to Jeremiah’s warnings and alarms.
First, they simply just ignored them. 5:2 says that God, “struck them, but they felt no pain; [God] crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” These people didn’t care what Jeremiah was telling them or what God had told the people originally. They refused to repent and wanted to live their lives the way they wanted to. They choose to turn their backs on Jeremiah and Scripture and pretend that the warnings and alarms weren’t there.
The second way they responded was they tried to justify their actions or explain them away. 5:12-13 says that the people said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.” These people heard Jeremiah, they knew what Scripture said about how to live their lives, and they just choose to put themselves above it. They had this, “It won’t happen to me,” attitude.