Saturday, July 25, 2009

Written with a Diamond

Jeremiah 17


I. The Problem—Intrinsic Sin

A. Judah’s sin was as hard to hide or ignore as a monument engraving done with professional, diamond tipped instruments; the inner nature had been tattooed with sin. “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;” (Jeremiah 17:1)

B. Rather than remembering God and the great stories of redemption, the children remembered the pleasures of sin. “Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.” (Jeremiah 17:2)

C. Though Judah should stand out as a mountain before the world, sin has made it so corrupt that the only solution is to tear it apart until the sin is carted away. “O my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.” (Jeremiah 17:3)

D. When the church refuses to serve God, it must serve infidels. “And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.” (Jeremiah 17:4)

II. The Principles at Work—Biblical Presuppositions

A. When people substitute human wisdom for divine, the consequences are devastating. “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” (Jeremiah 17:5,6)

B. God arranges for the faithful to obtain what they need. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7,8)

C. No one can grasp the full measure of evil in the human heart. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

D. God knows the human heart without limit and fully understands the true intent of every thought; idolatry cannot be hidden or excused. I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

E. No matter how devious and sinful the evil heart may be, it cannot prevail against God in the end. As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.” (Jeremiah 17:11)

F. No matter how things seem to be developing, God is king and He is reigning right now. “A glorious high throne from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.” (Jeremiah 17:12)

G. There is no happy ending for people who abandon God. “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.” (Jeremiah 17:13)

III. The Plea for Help—Turn to God

A. The disaster can be set right by God. Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” (Jeremiah 17:14)

B. People want an immediate solution. “Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.” (Jeremiah 17:15)

C. Jeremiah wanted to be a pastor rather than a doomsayer, but God’s servant must deliver the message God sends. “As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil. Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.” (Jeremiah 17:16-18)

IV. The Path Back to God—Observe the Sabbath

A. Start with the message of grace—rest in the Redeemer. “Thus said the LORD unto me; Go and stand in the gate of the children of the people, whereby the kings of Judah come in, and by the which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem; And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the LORD, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: Thus saith the LORD; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; Neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.” (Jeremiah 17:19-23)

B. Then move on to follow the other principles of Biblical faithfulness—the culture will begin to renew itself. “And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the LORD, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever. And they shall come from the cities of Judah, and from the places about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plain, and from the mountains, and from the south, bringing burnt offerings, and sacrifices, and meat offerings, and incense, and bringing sacrifices of praise, unto the house of the LORD. But if ye will not hearken unto me to hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 17:24-27)

The Master Needs It

Zechariah 14:1-21; Mark 11:1-11 / Leviticus 23:33-44

I. It Was Time to Ride into Jerusalem

A. As Jesus finished the walk of destiny from Jericho to Jerusalem, He sent two disciples ahead on an errand. “And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage [House of Figs] and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,” (Mark 11:1)

B. The disciples were directed to locate and bring back a colt never before used to carry a man. “And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.” (Mark 11:2)

C. Jesus had Heaven’s business on His mind; that would be enough reason to silence anyone responsible for the animal. “And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.” (Mark 11:3)

D. There are times to hear and obey; Christians obey because God calls them even when they do not have the answers or envision the end result. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. (Hebrews 11:8)

II. Prophecy Unfolded from Mystery

A. The disciples found the animal and began to do as Christ had directed; Jesus was not going to sneak into Jerusalem quietly. “And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.” (Mark 11:4)

B. As Jesus had predicted, there was an objection and the disciples had the answer. “And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. (Mark 11:5-6)

C. Messiah the Prince arrived at Jerusalem according to prophecy. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9) “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.” (Mark 11:7)

D. The crowd gave Jesus the appropriate greeting for the king of the Jews, calling to mind the Feast of Tabernacles when people wait for and upon the Redeemer. “And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.” (Mark 11:8)

E. The crowds were singing the messianic psalm written for the day when the Seed of David would enter His city and temple to announce the day of redemption. “And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord:” (Mark 11:9) “Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:25-26)

F. The world rarely imagines that God can be serious and that He can accomplish what the prophets say, but here it was occurring at the gates of the Holy City just as God had said it would. Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” (Mark 11:10) “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. (Ezekiel 34:23-24)

G. The promised revelation of David’s greater son had arrived and the prophecies were being fulfilled. “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel. (Jeremiah 33:15-17)

III. The End Began

A God had promised someone would come to the Temple to finally and fully explain the covenant He had made with Abraham and the ancient people of faith; Jesus is that end time messenger. “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)

B. Jesus entered the Temple and looked at all the corruption He would expose during Holy Week; the place of grace had been transformed into a market for corruption. “And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” (Mark 11:11)

C. Jesus could have wept for what He would soon suffer, but instead He wept for the sinners who would nail Him to the cross; is today’s church ready for the day of visitation? “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought.” (Luke 19:41-45)

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