Refusing to Listen to God’s Direction

American missionaries went to Japan after WWII and multitudes were coming forward to be saved but they seemed to lack genuine conviction. Decisions seemed to be superficial. They came to realize that in the Japanese culture they are taught that when you are conquered, you h … More

Superficial

Even the dead would not escape God’s judgment. Jeremiah describes how the enemy will desecrate the graves which was a common practice in the warfare of that day. The bones of those who had died before the fall of Jerusalem would be removed from their graves and exposed to the elements they had once worshiped (vv. 1-2). Those who survived the fall of Jerusalem would be banished, and their lives would be so terrible that they would prefer death to life (v 3). The people refused to acknowledge any wrong doing and pursued their own ways with determination like a horse charging into battle (vv. 4-6). Even the birds observe the time of migration, but Judah did not realize that it was time to return to her God. She had even less wisdom than a bird (v. 7). The question here poses a greater question: whose message will you believe, the scribes who lie and tell you what you want to hear or Jeremiah’s message of repentance (v. 8)? The “scribes” claimed to be the legitimate interpreters of some written portion of the Law.

The leaders of Judah boasted of their wisdom. They had the Law of God; they did not think they needed a prophet like Jeremiah. All the spiritual leaders were “greedy for gain.” They were not objective in the advice which they gave out (vv. 8-10). Jeremiah cited an example of the deceitful messages of the priests and prophets (vv. 11-12). The kingdom of Judah faced invasion, siege, exile, and political extinction. Jeremiah likened this fate to a disease which he called “the brokenness of the daughter of my people.” The spiritual leaders were attempting to “heal” this disease superficially.

Application

The people of Judah refused to listen to God’s direction. Are there some indicators that  I am heading the wrong way in some area of my life? What am I doing to get back on the right path?

Jeremiah 8:1-12 (English Standard Version)

"At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs. And they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have gone after, and which they have sought and worshiped. And they shall not be gathered or buried. They shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, declares the LORD of hosts. "You shall say to them, Thus says the LORD: When men fall, do they not rise again? If one turns away, does he not return? Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return. I have paid attention and listened, but they have not spoken rightly; no man relents of his evil, saying, 'What have I done?' Everyone turns to his own course, like a horse plunging headlong into battle. Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD. "How can you say, 'We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us'? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them? Therefore I will give their wives to others and their fields to conquerors, because from the least to the greatest everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among the fallen; when I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the LORD."

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