Summary: Jeremiah is a book of God’s judgment upon Judah... but Jeremiah’s prophecies seemed to affect only one man - Jeremiah.
OPEN: As the crowded airliner was about to take off, the peace was shattered by a five-year-old boy who picked that moment to throw a wild temper tantrum. No matter what his frustrated, embarrassed mother did to try to calm him down, the boy continued to scream furiously and kick the seats around him.
Suddenly, from the rear of the plane, an elderly man in the uniform of an Air Force General was seen slowly walking forward up the aisle. Stopping the flustered mother with an upraised hand, the white-haired, courtly, soft-spoken General leaned down and, motioning toward his chest, whispered something into the boy’s ear. Instantly, the boy calmed down, gently took his mother’s hand and quietly fastened his seat belt.
All the other passengers burst into spontaneous applause. As the General slowly made his way back to his seat, one of the cabin attendants touched his sleeve. "Excuse me, General," she asked quietly, "but could I ask you what magic words you used on that little boy?"
The old man smiled serenely and gently confided,
"I showed him my pilot’s wings, service stars and battle ribbons and explained that they entitle me to throw one passenger out the plane door, on any flight I choose."
APPLY: Why did that boy settle down?
I mean, he had to know he was upsetting the other passengers… but he didn’t change for them!
He knew how important it was to his mama… but he wouldn’t do it her either!
So… why did the boy change his behavior?
Because there was the threat of judgment.
I. The book of Jeremiah is a book of judgment.
The Nation of Judah had been in existence for approximately 300 years. And the Jews who lived there had fallen into such wickedness that God sent Jeremiah to warn them to warn them that He would severely punish them if they didn’t repent.
These wicked people were engaged in worshipping idols,
And the abuse and misuse of widows and orphans
God was so upset, that he sent Jeremiah with one basic message (repeated all the way thru the book of Jeremiah) Repent… or be destroyed! Repent… or be destroyed!
Jeremiah repeated warned them
He did it eloquently, and inventively…
But the people stubbornly refused to listen to him.
They just turned their backs and ignored him.
And if they didn’t ignore him, laughed at him
And when they didn’t laugh at him, they mistreated him… or worse.
And now, here in chapter 10, Jeremiah warns to them again
“…this is what the LORD says: "At this time I will hurl out those who live in this land; I will bring distress on them so that they may be captured. Listen! The report is coming— a great commotion from the land of the north! It will make the towns of Judah desolate, a haunt of jackals.” (Jeremiah 10:18 & 22)
But Judah didn’t care.
No matter how much Jeremiah warned them – they refused to repent.
II. His warnings had no effect on anyone in Judah except one man… Jeremiah
At the end of this chapter (which tells of God’s wrath at the evil of Judah’s sins) notice what Jeremiah prays in vss. 23-24 “I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. Correct me, LORD, but only with justice-not in your anger, lest you reduce me to nothing.”
Correct Jeremiah? – that doesn’t make any sense!!!
Judah was the EVIL NATION
Jeremiah was THE PROPHET - sent by God to point out Judah’s sins and challenge them to change.
Jeremiah was the “good guy” (the guy with the white hat). Why on earth would JEREMIAH worry about God correcting him?
Well… there’s something about being in God’s presence that does that to a guy
ILLUS: It’s like the woman who thought she was getting her clothes clean in the laundry only to discover that – compared to a new blouse she’d just bought – all of her white clothes were a dingy and gray.
When people find themselves close to God’s righteousness, they begin to see the dingy, gray shades of their own holiness.
For example, when one of the greatest prophets in Old Testament (Isaiah) saw God in the Temple he said:
“ …I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.’