1 – “Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless? They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’ And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.” (Jeremiah 2:5-8, ESV)
RAF: Whenever we fall into sin, this is the question we must ask ourselves: “What wrong did we find in our God, that we went after what worthlessness. All sin stems from a defect in love. So it is we (like Israel) have some desire, but do not go seeking our God in regard to it. We do not say “Where is the Lord?” But we grow forgetful that He has made us to find our satisfaction in Him. If we remain unsatisfied – it is because we have sought out and obtained so little of Him, not that He does not satisfy.
2 – “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:12-13, ESV)
RAF: Here are the two shocking and appalling realities of the Christian’s sin: a. We forsake the source of what we need most, and are made to desire most – b. And seek it in places that have no capacity to give it. Father forgive us. It is not that you have ceased to be all that we need or could ever desire, it is that we have sought to be filled by that which can only leave us deprived and dead.
3 – ““ ‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:15, ESV)
RAF: The implication here is that in God’s chastening of Israel, He had let them have leadership which was not after God’s own heart, and who failed to feed them with knowledge and understanding. When leadership in the Church leads by following their own vision and not God’s, and fail to feed the people well on God’s Word – we can be sure it is because we are being chastened for having forsaken Him.
4 – “An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31, ESV)
RAF: Note the threefold charge here. a. The prophets prophesy falsely. Those who are charged with declaring God’s Word, do not speak so as to help their hearers understand and respond to what God has said – but have communicated other things. b. The leadership of the Church has then ordered the Church in accordance with these other ideas. c. But lastly, this what the people want. This is how they like it. They do not want to know what God has said, as much as to be occupied with other things. Perhaps intriguing things, interesting things, things that scratch their particular itch. For they believe their itch is their real need, and do not trust God to know what they need better than they do. Father – forgive us. What will we do when you come to judge in righteousness, and we just went after our personal likes?
5 – ““Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?” (Jeremiah 7:8-10, ESV)
RAF: Heavenly Father, we are no better than these. We look and say to ourselves, “we have been born again, we have Christ as our Savior, so now we are free and have no need to put off sin, to root it out, to die to it.” Oh Father forgive us. We so easily turn grace into license. So easily slip back into the the things Christ died to free us from the penalty and power of. Make us to see the wretchedness of such a way. Recover us from our blindness and give us a fresh vision of you.
6 – “For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.” (Jeremiah 7:22-24, ESV)
RAF: God’s giving of the sacrificial system to Israel was not because He delighted in the blood of bulls and goats. He was calling men to pay attention to Him. He was testing us. In the sacrifices were the types and shadows of Christ, they were never an end in themselves. It was never about the ritual. It was about exposing the rebellion of their hearts. It was about relationship to Him as God. Our every rebellion is about that too – our refusing that relationship, and continuing to choose ourselves, our wills, as our God.
7 – “Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”” (Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV)
RAF: This is the ultimate question isn’t it? Do you know Him? Not – do you know about Him? Not – do you have a passing acquaintance with Him. Not – do have a friendly exchange from time to time – do you KNOW Him? Do you know His voice? Are you acquainted with His ways? Do you have a sense of His likes and dislikes? Does He know YOUR voice? Do you converse regularly? Have you given yourself to understanding what makes Him tick? Do you KNOW Him? Nothing else in all the universe matters. “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3.
8 – ““Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh— Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”” (Jeremiah 9:25-26, ESV)
RAF: I will punish the other nations, because they did not obey me at all – they never entered into covenant with me. I will punish you because you served me externally, but your heart was not mine.
9 – “Thus says the Lord: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them,” (Jeremiah 10:2, ESV)
RAF: Do not take your cues from what the world is worried about.