Summary: God is patient and long-suffering, but His patience has boundaries. Sometimes we humans can move to the point of no return.
The Point of No Return
(Jeremiah 7:16-24, 30-31, 15:1-6)
1. We home-schooled our kids, and that meant we had to face a number of challenges. As they got older, how would we teach them Driver’s Ed?
2. Fortunately, others blazed the trail before us;they make videos about everything, including an excellent Driver’s Ed course. As a matter of fact, I picked up a few pointers myself.
3. The term "a stale green light."
4. Another term: "the point of no return."
5. As God deals with people, we can detect some points of no return.
6. And, in the context of the Book of Jeremiah, it happened to Judah in 586 BC
Main Idea: God is patient and long-suffering, but His patience has boundaries. Sometimes we humans can move to the point of no return.
I. The Point of No Return BUILDS
A. Builds to a Point Beyond PRAYER (7:16)
When we pray, we are to pray in accordance with God’s will. God’s will: devastation
B. Provoking God through IDOLATRY (7:17-19)
1. Prayer to the "Queen of Heaven," Astarte (Ishtar)
"Whatever may have been the official religion in Israel, the women had indulged in a peculiarly women’s kind of worship for centuries…."
3. The problem was not a lack of clarity. In Exodus 20:2-5, where God gives the 10 Commandments, it says:
And God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.
"You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God...
Just as human nature is drawn to images (artwork is more emotional than most people realize), so it can be drawn to a female deity, even resulting in the semi-deification of Mary, Jesus’ mother. This is not consistent with the Scriptures.
C. Habitual Offenders with STUBBORN Attitudes (7:20-24)
In the world of criminal prosecution, sometimes an individual has a track record of crime; if so, they may try to prosecute him/her as a "habitual offender." As a result, the individual will spend more time in jail because the courts have decided that crime is a way of life for such a person.
Even after Jerusalem was destroyed, some survivors fled to Egypt and forced Jeremiah to come with them. They continued to worship the Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah 44:17-19
Can you note the weak spiritual leadership of these husbands who just looked the other way?
D. Horrible RELIGIOUS Crimes (7:30-31)
1. In the Valley of Ben-hinnon they constructed Topheth, meaning a "fireplace."
2. They practiced human sacrifice to pagan gods there. Human sacrifice was forbidden and an abomination before God, but they did not care.
3. This provoked God’s wrath like nothing else.
Ben-hinnon is also known as Gehenna, a word Jesus used for hell. At the time of Jesus, a garbage dump, where a fire constantly burned, consuming the relentless supply of garbage from a large city like Jerusalem.