Sound the alarms! This is a chapter of alarms. An alarm warns people of an emergency, an attack, or an invasion. It’s a warning siren of incoming missiles, a fire, a bombing, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes or some other catastrophic event. Imagine if the U.S. had gotten a sufficient, time-sensitive warning of the attack on Peal Harbor. The military stationed there would have been…
- more watchful
- better prepared
- seeking assistance from allies or God
Right now, alarms are sounding about impending attacks…
- Russia –> Ukraine
- China –> Taiwan
- Iran –> Israel
What happens when we ignore warnings or alarms and become complacent? That’s what Jeremiah is telling the people of Judah and Jerusalem and us in this chapter. Let’s dig in….
Jeremiah 6 – Jerusalem’s Last Warning
“Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem!
Sound the alarm in Tekoa!
Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem!
A powerful army is coming from the north,
coming with disaster and destruction.
2 O Jerusalem, you are my beautiful and delicate daughter—
but I will destroy you!
3 Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city.
Each chooses a place for his troops to devour.
4 They shout, ‘Prepare for battle!
Attack at noon!’
‘No, it’s too late; the day is fading,
and the evening shadows are falling.’
5 ‘Well then, let’s attack at night
and destroy her palaces!’”
6 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Cut down the trees for battering rams.
Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem.
This is the city to be punished,
for she is wicked through and through.
7 She spouts evil like a fountain.
Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction.
I always see her sickness and sores.
8 Listen to this warning, Jerusalem,
or I will turn from you in disgust.
Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins,
a land where no one lives.”
9 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Even the few who remain in Israel
will be picked over again,
as when a harvester checks each vine a second time
to pick the grapes that were missed.”
Judah’s Constant Rebellion
10 To whom can I give warning?
Who will listen when I speak?
Their ears are closed,
and they cannot hear.
They scorn the word of the Lord.
They don’t want to listen at all.
11 So now I am filled with the Lord’s fury.
Yes, I am tired of holding it in!
“I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets
and on gatherings of young men,
on husbands and wives
and on those who are old and gray.
12 Their homes will be turned over to their enemies,
as will their fields and their wives.
For I will raise my powerful fist
against the people of this land,”
says the Lord.
13 “From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
From prophets to priests,
they are all frauds.
14 They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
15 Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the Lord.
Judah Rejects the Lord’s Way
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’
17 I posted watchmen over you who said,
‘Listen for the sound of the alarm.’
But you replied,
‘No! We won’t pay attention!’
18 “Therefore, listen to this, all you nations.
Take note of my people’s situation.
19 Listen, all the earth!
I will bring disaster on my people.
It is the fruit of their own schemes,
because they refuse to listen to me.
They have rejected my word.
20 There’s no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba.
Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands!
I will not accept your burnt offerings.
Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.”
21 Therefore, this is what the Lord says:
“I will put obstacles in my people’s path.
Fathers and sons will both fall over them.
Neighbors and friends will die together.”
An Invasion from the North
22 This is what the Lord says:
“Look! A great army coming from the north!
A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands.
23 They are armed with bows and spears.
They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like a roaring sea
as they ride forward on horses.
They are coming in battle formation,
planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem.”
24 We have heard reports about the enemy,
and we wring our hands in fright.
Pangs of anguish have gripped us,
like those of a woman in labor.
25 Don’t go out to the fields!
Don’t travel on the roads!
The enemy’s sword is everywhere
and terrorizes us at every turn!
26 Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap
and sit among the ashes.
Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son.
For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you!
27 “Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals,Jeremiah 6 NLT
that you may determine the quality of my people.
28 They are the worst kind of rebel,
full of slander.
They are as hard as bronze and iron,
and they lead others into corruption.
29 The bellows fiercely fan the flames
to burn out the corruption.
But it does not purify them,
for the wickedness remains.
30 I will label them ‘Rejected Silver,’
for I, the Lord, am discarding them.”
Is it too late for America?
- Here, God used the Babylonians as His instrument of judgment.
- Verse 7 could describe the lawlessness we see all over our country today: “She spouts evil like a fountain. Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction.”
- The people hear the Word of God, yet they scorn it, ignore it, twist it, water it down. No one wants to listen to the true Word of God.
A Band-Aid on a Cancerous Tumor
Verse 14: “They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.” Pastor Sandy Adams offers this commentary…
In other words, their treatment was superficial. They suffered a serious malady,
and were given a placebo. Imagine, a doctor sticking a Band-Aid on a cancerous tumor and prescribing a few aspirin – and promising the patient everything will be okay. That’s malpractice! Yet, that’s what the priests were doing with God’s people. They were telling them everything will be okay. They were telling them what they wanted to hear. They were saying, “Peace, peace! When there is no peace.”
And I’m afraid this wasn’t the last time the clergy have been guilty of such a
crime. Today, pastors teach an “easy-believism” – a cheap grace. They give folks
the impression they can shed a tear and ask for salvation without showing any
real repentance – with no desire to turn from their sin and live under the authority of Jesus.
Dealing with sin is no longer the issue. It’s been replaced with boosting one’s
self-esteem or thinking positive thoughts. It’s like putting a Band-Aid on a tumor.
It’s been said of today’s gospel, “If it were a medicine it would be too weak to
heal and if it were a poison it would be too weak to harm.” We’ve healed the hurt
“slightly” rather than doing the radical surgery it needs.
Think of it this way, you don’t cut out man’s sin nature endoscopically. ItSandy Adams
requires more than non-invasive surgery. It still takes Jesus doing open heart [surgery].
Verse 27: God is making Jeremiah an assayer to the people. An assayer tests the purity of metal. Pastor Sandy explains…
Jeremiah refers to the refining process. The metal was heated to extreme temperatures. This caused its impurities to rise to the surface. They were skimmed off. The metal was purer. And if you’ve been a Christian for any period of time you’ve become acquainted with this process. God does this in us. He puts us through the fiery trial to burn out our impurities and hypocrisies. We end up purer.
But this normally reliable process wasn’t working in Jeremiah’s day. He says,
“the smelter refines in vain, for the wicked are not drawn off.” Even though God
turned up the heat, the rebellion of the people was so deeply entrenched it wasn’t
skim-able. The hottest trial was unable to separate the people from their evil. Thus, “People will call them rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.” Here was a sad outcome.
Notice, what God can’t purify, He ends up rejecting. We’re told the same in John 15:6, “If anyone does not abide in Me, He is cast out as branch and is withered…” You can’t say you belong to God if you’re resistant to the changes He wants to work in your life.Sandy Adams
Peter also talked about this…
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT
You are sanctified by the Holy Spirit when you repent of your sins and surrender your life to Jesus. Jesus — no one else! Going to church doesn’t sanctify you. Neither does going through religious rituals! Salvation and Sanctification are only obtained THROUGH JESUS!
Judgment is Coming Soon!
Like it or not, believe it or not, judgment is coming sooner rather than later. It’s time to get right with God. What are you waiting for?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.