Summary: Don't be like Judah who refused to return and suffered God's judgment because of it! Simply return!
Refusing To Return
The Book of the Jeremiah is the second of the Major Prophets found in the Word of God, although some Jewish tradition considers it to be the first. Jeremiah's ministry was as a prophet to Judah in the years just prior to and then during the initial Babylonian captivity. It was Isaiah who warned in advance of the coming captivity while it was Jeremiah who witnessed it. Ezekiel also witnessed the captivity but his perspective was from Babylon, where he was captive. Jeremiah wrote from Judah and witnessed all three of the Babylonian incursions. He saw the bitter destruction of Jerusalem, which at the leading of the Holy Spirit prompted him to write the Book of Lamentations.
Jeremiah began his ministry between sixty and seventy years after Isaiah's death and preached for almost seventy years. His ministry began in the 13th year of Josiah and continued to the bitter end of Judah. He was a contemporary with Zephaniah, Habakkuk, and Daniel.
Jeremiah's prophecy deals with the impending Babylonian captivity of Judah. God used him first to announce to the Jews that their captivity would last only 70 years. He foresaw the world-wide exile of the Jewish nation as well as their final regathering. He also prophesied of the coming millennial reign of Christ and God's judgment on the gentile world.
Matthew Henry summarizes the prophecies of Jeremiah as follows: "The general subject of his prophecies is the idolatry and other sins of the Jews; the judgments by which they were threatened, with references to their future restoration and deliverance, and promises of the Messiah. They are remarkable for plain and faithful reproofs, affectionate corrections, and awful warnings."
Make no mistake about it folks; God is not finished with the Nation of Israel! They are still His chosen people, they are still the apple of His eye, and if you want to know the next events on God's timetable, you need look no further than what is happening with the Nation of Israel!
Allow me to say and I firmly believe this that it does not matter what happens with the election in November and who is and who is not the president of the United States. And that is because nowhere in the Word of God will you find that America is a special nation unto God, that America is a chosen nation unto God, and nowhere in the Word of God will you find promises that America will be spared the judgment of God!
I say that to say this, America is not set apart as a special nation in the Word of God, Israel is! And it's very important for us to remember that because despite the results of November, it is God who is still in control, it is God who is still on the throne, and His timetable will still be fulfilled despite who is in leadership in this country or any other country!
So when it comes to knowing the events of God's timetable, Israel is the nation that we are to be watching because God still has His hand of protection over them, His people! And if you're saved here tonight, you're His people and He has His hand of protection over you as well!
The book of Jeremiah can be summed up simply as a book of warnings to a sinful fallen people that judgment is the certain result of sin yet God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish!
And folks, that's really the entire message of the Word of God. Over and over again, we see instances of people sinning and sinning against God yet God always gives the chance of salvation, always the chance to return because of His mercy, love, and grace!
The key verse of the book of Jeremiah can be found in Jeremiah 7:28 and this is one of the thoughts that we'll be dealing with here tonight, turn there with me; But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.
This verse is as true today as it was at the time it was written and it holds true even today because it points to the modern day time in which we live! We live in a day and age where nations and people obey not the Lord, where they don't want to be corrected, and where they think they're okay in a sinful lifestyle! And that's why when the judgment of God does come, they will have no excuse because they have been warned of God's judgment yet they still have rejected Him, have rejected His truth, and have rejected His mercy!
That brings us to our text and Jeremiah Chapter 8. The message in the gate of the Temple continues on from chapter 7. Again, the focus is upon the spiritually backslidden condition of Judah. Implied also is that the first phase of Babylonian judgment had already taken place.