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Summary: Why would God tell Israel that their sins had denied them the blessings He wanted to give?

(Children’s song, tho’ it can be read to a good effect as well as sung if you know the tune)

Well I stuck my head in a little skunk’s hole

And the Lil’ skunk said, "Well bless my soul,

Get it out, get it out... remove it."

Well I didn’t get it out and the lil’ skunk said

"If you don’t get it out, you’ll wish you were dead,

Get it out, get it out... remove it."

pssss "I removed it... too late

APPLY: I read recently a couple of interesting facts about skunks.

Does anybody know how far a skunk can spray? (6 to 10 feet)

Can anyone guess how far can it’s odor be smelled? (2.5 miles)

The unique thing about a skunk’s odor is once you’ve been sprayed, nobody wants to be in the same room with you. Not for a lonnnnnng time.

Now the Bible tells us is that our sin has the same kind of effect to God. When sin dominates our lives it creates a stench about us that’s hard to overlook.

I. In Jeremiah 5, God is telling Israel - they stink

God lists a number of sins that have caused Him to become angry. And then, He makes an intriguing comment in verse 25 (TURN THERE)

“Your wrongdoings have kept these (blessings) away; your sins have deprived you of good.” Jeremiah 5:25

Their sins have deprived them of good things… their sin has blocked God’s blessings.

Now this isn’t the only time God warns His people about this:

In Deuteronomy 28:23 God warns His people that if they turn their back on Him: “The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron.”

Jesus advises people not to even bother offering their gifts to God if they’ve got a problem with their neighbor… because God won’t accept it - "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

Isaiah 59:2 says “… your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

And Peter tells husbands to “…be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (I Peter 3:7)

II. Now, why would our sins keep God from listening to us?

Why would our sins make it so that He wouldn’t hear our prayers?

As I was preparing this sermon, there were two reasons I could think of:

The first reason is this: God hates sin. He’s not going to put up with it.

ILLUS: A. W. Tozer noted: “God’s wrath is His utter intolerance of whatever degrades and destroys. He hates iniquity as a mother hated the polio that would take the life of the child.

God hates sin because it corrupts His people

… it damages us

… it destroys us

And so, because of that - He has no intention of rewarding us for bad behavior

In Jeremiah 5 you can almost hear God pleading with Israel:

“Your wrongdoings have kept these (blessings) away; your sins have deprived you of good.” Jeremiah 5:25

Come on guys (He seems to be saying) I want to do good for you. I want to give you blessings. But you keep messing things up.

(pause…) The problem is this: people will often choose the path of least resistance in life. They’ll choose evil because it is often easier than doing good… and it is enjoyable.

Therefore… if there are no unpleasant consequences to their actions they’ll continue to do that which is evil.

THEREFORE when we set our hearts to sin God just stands back and leaves us alone. He basically says: “fine… you want to live like that, go ahead, but don’t expect Me to help you out”

God does this, because He wants to teach us the horridness of our sin by allowing us to reap the results of our wickedness.

ILLUS: Dr. A. C. Dixon used to tell of a lady who had a very spoiled and willful child.

One day a wasp flew in the window, and the boy - seeing its brilliant colors - began to cry for it.

At last the mother called to the servant who was tending the child "What is the boy crying for? Whatever it is… let him have it?"

So, the servant returned to the boy, and a few minutes there’s a loud scream.

The mother is shocked and yelled out "What’s the matter?"

The servant peeked back into the room and calmly said: "He got what he wanted"

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Dan Stevers
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