Sermons

Summary: A study in the book of Jeremiah 24: 1 – 10

Jeremiah 24: 1 – 10

Rotten to the core

1 The LORD showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the LORD, after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. 2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe; and the other basket had very bad figs which could not be eaten, they were so bad. 3 Then the LORD said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad.” 4 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: ‘Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge those who are carried away captive from Judah, whom I have sent out of this place for their own good, into the land of the Chaldeans. 6 For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. 7 Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. 8 ‘And as the bad figs which cannot be eaten, they are so bad’—surely thus says the LORD—‘so will I give up Zedekiah the king of Judah, his princes, the residue of Jerusalem who remain in this land, and those who dwell in the land of Egypt. 9 I will deliver them to trouble into all the kingdoms of the earth, for their harm, to be a reproach and a byword, a taunt and a curse, in all places where I shall drive them. 10 And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence among them, till they are consumed from the land that I gave to them and their fathers.’”

Just picture with me that you are in the mood for that nice juicy red apple you purchased at the store. You bite into in expecting an enjoyable taste in your mouth and then your taste buds signal a warning that you just bit into a rotten part. It seems that it was rotten down to the core. Doesn’t this sound appealing? Are you going to finish the apple anyway?

Have you ever met anyone who claims that he or she is your Christian brother or sister is just a rotten person?

I am not talking about a child molester or ax murderer, mind you. That’s evil and there is a difference.

I am talking about a regular, every day, run-of-the-mill person – who also just happens to revealed their true character as if it were truly no fault of their own. They cannot help being negative, heartless people lacking in basic human traits of empathy and compassion as they were apparently just born (or raised) that way and simply cannot help it.

This is the kind of person whose personal agenda is more important than the welfare of those they say they love – to the point they will justify and rationalize any actions, no matter how despicable, to callously (and, I suspect, self-satisfyingly) have their way.

Love, decency, kindness, vengeful, negative, judgmental, self-righteous, sanctimonious, pious, hypocritical, hypercritical, pharisaic, smug, hateful, self-serving, self-satisfied, snide, superficial, artificial, duplicitous, moralistic, arrogant, contemptuous, haughty, disdainful, divisive, proud, rude, hoity-toity, heartless, obtuse, insensitive, foolish, shallow, neurotic are things these people display day in and day out.

They operate on the idea that life is first and foremost about being right, even when “right” requires a good deal of “spinning of the facts” to make them “right.” They want you to care for them while they could care less about you or anyone else. Every run into somebody like this?

They are spiteful and vindictive people who are most satisfied making rules, passing judgment and handing out punishments…regardless of whether they have the actual or moral authority to do so.

They are the ones who are quick to blame the victim. ‘The guy deserved to be humiliated. How dare he think he could just walk up to me and say ‘hello’.

They are the ones who are apparently on the inside track with God, too.

A tornado hit your house. Awful. Of course, if you were in God’s good graces and went to (the right) church and were not such a pathetic sinner, He might have spared your house. You need to be more Christ-like (like me) and things like that wouldn’t happen to you.

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