Summary: Jeremiah turned to the Lord when his fellow people plotted against God’s truth. What are we to pray when God’s truth comes under attack? Parts: A. They work against God’s truth from within. B. Retribution belongs to the Lord.
Text: Jeremiah 11:18-20
Theme: O Lord, Stop All Those Who Oppose the Truth
A. They work against God’s truth from within
B. Retribution belongs to the Lord
Season: Pentecost 18b
Date: September 27, 2009
Web page: www.caughtbyjesus.net/sermons/O-Lord,-Stop-All-Those-Who-Oppose-the-Truth-Jeremiah11_18-20.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit increases our love for God’s truth in Christ is Jeremiah 11
"The LORD revealed to me so I know. Then he showed me their actions. As for me, like a pet lamb led to the slaughter, I did not know that they had devised a plot against me, [saying,] "Let’s ruin the tree with its fruit and cut him off from the land of the living. So his name won’t be remembered anymore."
"O LORD of hosts, righteous Judge, Tester of heart and mind, show me your vengeance against them, for I have laid bare my case to you." (Jeremiah 11:18-20)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
"Get ’em, God. Just get ’em." That doesn’t sound like too Christian of a prayer, does it? Is that what Jeremiah was praying as he prays in the text, "Let me see your vengeance upon them" (Jeremiah 11:20 NIV)? Or what about the theme today: "O Lord, stop all those who oppose the truth"? Is that theme just a fancy way of saying, "Get ’em, God. Get ’em"?
Let’s dig deeper into God’s Word this morning and discriminate between the right and the wrong reason and motive for such a prayer. Through his Word may the Holy Spirit work in us the right heart that in humble faith prays, "O Lord, stop all those who oppose the truth."
A. They work against God’s truth from within
1. Describe Jeremiah’s times.
To begin with, let’s try to put ourselves in Jeremiah’s place around 600 B.C. It has been over three hundred years since David and Solomon had sat on the throne in Jerusalem. Good kings and bad had risen and fallen. As Jeremiah grows older, Judah is in rapid spiritual decline.
The people had seen how God punished their northern brothers for turning away from him. About a century earlier, the northern tribes of Israel had been carried away by the Assyrians and scattered among the peoples. But Judah figured as long as they had Solomon’s temple they were safe. They could do as they pleased. Would the Lord let his temple be destroyed by heathens?
So the Lord called Jeremiah to proclaim a strong message of judgment against the people to turn them from their evil ways before it was too late. Yes, even the temple would be destroyed. Verse 17 right before the text sums up much of Jeremiah’s preaching: "The LORD Almighty, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you, because the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done evil and provoked me to anger by burning incense to Baal" (Jeremiah 11:17 NIV).
But the people didn’t like that message. Who was Jeremiah to say such things to them? People from his home town of Anathoth must have thought, "This boy’s gotten to big for his britches!" Many of those home-town people served in the priesthood. They should’ve been leading the people back to the Lord but instead were plotting against the Lord’s prophet. "Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more" (Jeremiah 11:19 NIV).
They hated God’s truth. They didn’t want Jeremiah feeding the people with the fruit of his teachings. They wanted to cut him down, so that the truth he taught would be remembered no more.
Now although they want to take his life, it appears that they outwardly acted civil toward Jeremiah. He had no idea of their evil plot until the Lord showed him. "I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me" (Jeremiah 11:19 NIV), Jeremiah writes. So it seems that he hasn’t yet suffered a series of personal insults or injuries from them.
You see, for Jeremiah his prayer calling on God to take action against them, was not a matter of a personal hurt or revenge or getting-even for some affront against him. It was matter about God’s truth. That was his first concern. How would the truth go out, if evil people silenced God’s messengers? This was personal for Jeremiah in this sense: Not that they attacked him but that they attacked his God. When he prays, "Let me see your vengeance upon them" (Jeremiah 11:20 NIV), he’s not saying, "get ’em because of what they wanted to do to me." Rather, he’s praying, "Stop them because they oppose the truth, your truth, O Lord."