Summary: Going to war with God is a losing cause!
WHEN GOD DECLARES WAR
INTRODUCTION: This is the third sermon in a series on “A Journey through Jeremiah”. Here is Jeremiah. He has been created by God; conditioned by God; called by God; and commissioned by God. He is sent into a society, not unlike the one in which we live. Now, this is a large section of scripture, but let us examine, explode and see what we can extract from it. Let’s take note of “When God Declares War.”
I. THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE WAR (Ch. 4)
The war is announced. It is declared. See I Cor. 14:8.
A. The Alarm(v.5, 19, 21) Observe “the sound of the trumpet.” This is the “shofar”. It was the horn used to gather the people for worship (remember the Sunday school bell in the steeple?). It was also used to warn the people to flee for safety. This alarm was for the latter since they had constantly abused the former. We would compare this to an emergency siren, a tornado alert or any number of warnings. This alarm is sounded with a sense of urgency. Here is an urgency in a state of emergency. “Sound the trumpet.” Study up on the trumpet call of God in I Thess.4:16.
B. The Attack (v.6, 16) God never attacks without prior warning. Look at how this enemy is described. “Seeking lion” (v.7). “Prowling predator” (v.11). “Scorching wind” (v.13). “Swift horse” (v.13). The picture here is that of a devastating, catastrophic, cataclysmic event.
C. The Affliction (v. 20, 23-27) This describes chaos, instability, and desolation. This has been described as “the most graphic and powerful descriptions of God’s avenging hand in the Bible.”
D. The Anguish Look at Jeremiah’s anguish (v.19). In those days the “bowels” were considered the seat of human emotions. We might use the terms today as “a gut feeling” or being stirred down to the “pit of my stomach.” Note that this is not just the overreaction of a youthful preacher but a passionate pleading and a dire warning from a prophet of God. This is the panic of a young man who senses the coming devastation of his nation. Jeremiah is both prophetic and patriotic. Look at Jehovah’s anguish (v.22, 28). Here God is like a broken hearted parent warning a child/children about the disastrous results of the bad choice of a wrong lifestyle. The word “relent” here is a “non-negotiable.” It is not that God was unwilling to forgive but He knew they were unwilling to repent. They had grown so adept at evil and their conscience was so seared that they had become incapable of practicing moral and ethical deeds. God is good, patient, kind and forgiving but He is also just, holy, righteous and punishing.
Now some may say, “Preacher, why be so full of pessimism, doom and gloom? Nothing like that will ever happen to us.” Take a close look at Jer. 5:12 and listen to what the people were saying back then. Nobody will ever attack us. Nobody will ever invade us. Could I remind you to take a look around. Look to the West – illegal immigrants are coming. Look to the East – the terrorists are coming. Look to the South – the drug lords are invading. Look to the North – might I say government is growing!
We are living in a land where morality is shot. Our philosophy is, to a large degree, evil. So much of our theology is corrupt. Politics has become laughable and many of our pulpits have become disgraceful. All the while we are like people in Jeremiah’s day trying to solve problems in our own cleverness (see 4:30).
II. THE CAUSE OF THE WAR (Ch. 5)
Now before you become to enraged let me remind you that God is not “trigger happy.” He never declares war without a “just cause.” He never goes to war without wise counsel. What would cause God to commence a war against the people He created? Chapter 4:18 gives the explanation.
In Chapter 5 you see what is called an “enacted parable”. It was used as an “attention grabber”. In 5:1 see what God told Jeremiah to do. But the question is still before us. What prompted God to declare war?
A. Indifference (5:1-2) In Genesis 18, if Abraham could only find “ten” righteous people. Here the number is “one”. Seems as if this place was ten times worst. Note in v.4, he looks among the “poor”. In v.5, he looks among the “plenty”. Neither group was looking for the truth. In v.2, the words “as surely as the Lord lives” were a sacred vow, a binding oath. They were using all the right religious language and lingo. They acknowledged God with their lips but denied His word by their lifestyle. Theirs was a superficial piety. It has prompted many scholars to refer to these people as “practical atheists”. Not much seems to have changed down through the years has it?