Summary: LENT 2(C) - The prophet Jeremiah proclaims the Lord’s message: God’s law which irritates and God’s gospel which heals.
JEREMIAH PROCLAIMS THE LORD’S MESSAGE
Jeremiah 26:8-15 March 16, 2003
8But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had com-manded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die! 9Why do you prophesy in the LORD’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?" And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.
10When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal pal-ace to the house of the LORD and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD’s house. 11Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, "This man should be sentenced to death because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!"
12Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and all the people: "The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the things you have heard. 13Now reform your ways and your actions and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. 14As for me, I am in your hands; do with me what-ever you think is good and right. 15Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing."
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
We realize that we live in a world that is constantly changing. For some of us, we might think that it changes too quickly or too much. Yet when we look back at our lives, we realize that many of the changes that have taken place in our lifetime have always been for the good. (If not for the good, at least for our benefit.) Today in our text, we’re reminded that in the midst of change, God’s Word does not change. It still teaches men what it wants men to learn. It teaches us about the law that shows us our sin. It teaches us about the gospel that reveals to us our Savior.
You and I might grumble and complain, but we can rejoice in the fact that God’s Word does not change because it is simply God’s Word. As believers, we are given the privilege to have understanding that the Bible is God’s Word and whatever God’s Word says is true. We are thankful for that. Paul tells us, "And we also thank God continually because, when you re-ceived the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe"(1 THESSALONIANS 2:13). We are thankful that God’s word remains the same. We are thankful that God’s word is at work in each one of us. We are thankful that it is not the word of men but the word of God. That leads us to our text where
JEREMIAH PROCLAIMS THE LORD’S MESSAGE
I. God’s law irritates
II. God’s gospel heals
I. God’s law irritates (it stings, it hurts)
Jeremiah was a major prophet in the Old Testament. He was sent to wake up the people of God. The children of Israel were falling away from the Lord God. They began to worship false gods, so the Lord sent Jeremiah to preach a message of repentance and to preach a mes-sage of the law. It was so bad, in fact, that he had only one word from the message he had to proclaim. He came and proclaimed that they were certainly going to face destruction. We have the reaction that takes place in our text. 8But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the LORD had commanded him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized him and said, "You must die! While they knew they couldn’t change the message of God by putting Jeremiah to death, they were trying to make themselves feel better. They thought, ‘Well, let’s put Jeremiah to death anyway. He must die for saying such bad things against us.’ They asked him, 9Why do you prophesy in the LORD’s name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?" (Shiloh had been destroyed. No one lived there anymore. It had once been the center of worship.) They came to Jeremiah and said, ‘Why do you say such things against us? We are the children of Israel. We are God’s chosen people.’ And all the people crowded around Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. They were going to in-timidate him because they felt intimidated by his message that really was not his message but the message of God. It was the truth.