Summary: Lenten Communion Service focusing on the New Covenant Jeremiah shares with us 1. The New Covenant - The Voice of Hope 2. The New Covenant - The Voice of Forgiveness 3. The New Covenant - The Voice of Abundant Living
Theme: The New Covenant/Lenten Communion Service
Title: Shhh - God's Speaking!
Jeremiah shares with us 1. The New Covenant - The Voice of Hope 2. The New Covenant - The Voice of Forgiveness 3. The New Covenant - The Voice of Abundant Living
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ our Messiah, Savior and LORD!
Imagine yourself setting in front of an addict who has relapsed, a juvenile who has once again misbehaved or a spouse who a repeat offender in the infidelity department. They are pouring out their hearts to you wanting you to forgive them one more time. Just one more time. They are wanting you to give them another chance. You can't even remember how many times you have had this same conversation.
You don't know what to do. You take to heart every word that they say. You stay quiet and reflective. You are doing your best to be supportive. You want to do what is best for them. You want things to be different. But back in the recesses of your mind a couple of questions keep shouting to be asked -
"How is this time going to be any different from last time?"
"What is going to happen this time that makes sure that we don't end up in this same position or even a worst position?"
Those questions are some that we can see in between the lines of our passage this morning. You can almost hear both of them being asked over and over again throughout the first 30 chapters of the book of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah's preaching was strong and hard hitting. It was straight to the point. When the prophet spoke he left no grey areas of confusion. His message - Judgment was coming to God's People. In fact, final and complete judgment was right at the door. It had already come to the Northern Kingdom of Israel and now it was coming to the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Why? Why was judgment coming? Why was God seemingly turning His back on His people and allowing them to be exiled approximately 900 miles away to Babylon? That would be like our family being exiled to Havana, Cuba this morning with very little hope of every returning. In fact, history teaches us that some Jewish families only returned to the Promise Land in the 1950's after being gone for over 2,500 years.
Why was God turning them over to King Nebuchadnezzar? According to Jeremiah, it was all because of:
i. Sins of the fathers (generational sin)
ii. The refusal of God's people to Genuinely Repent
iii. The refusal of God's people to consistently obey God's Will
It was all because they had proven over and over again they could not and would not follow God.
Their generational sins had negatively transformed their hearts, minds and souls. The many years of sin, rebellion and wrongdoing had taken its toll on everyone and everything. The people of God had become so accustomed to living a lifestyle of sin that Jeremiah tells us that not only would they not change but the truth was they could not change. Sin had become their way of life. Sinful attitudes, thoughts and actions had become their habitus. Sin had infiltrated and infected every aspect of their culture. Sin had warped their psyche to the point they were embracing a life of sin without even being aware of it.
Their economy had been taken over by the sins greed and self-indulgence. Their legal system once founded on the Law and integrity had become a cesspool full of dishonesty, graft and deceit. Their government had become incompetent. The sins of bribery, corruption and fraud ruled the day. The basic family unit was being torn apart. Society was being overrun by crime, violence and cruelty. Everything was coming apart at the seams.
Even the Lord's Temple had itself been adversely infected by sin. No longer was it a place where Yahweh, the Good God of Creation, the One and Only True God was worshipped. No longer did the Ark of the Covenant reside in the Holy of Holies. All around the temple a variety of gods and goddesses were now being publicly worshiped and adored. An image of Asherah, the goddess of fertility and so called Queen of Heaven had become the focal point of public worship. Alongside her was the pagan worship of Tammuz, Ishtar and Baal along with the worship of the sun, moon and stars. The Kingdom of Judah had rejected monotheism for polytheism.
Furthermore, each of these so-called gods and goddesses endorsed the use of temple prostitutes. Prostitutes whose mission was to guide the worshippers by having a sensual encounter with them. It was believed that such an immoral union was the best way in which a worshipper could be one with a certain god or goddess. God's Holy Temple had become a den of lust, debauchery and immorality.