Surrender. The word conjures up images of an army surrendering to a more powerful opponent. It’s when you know, deep in your soul, that you can’t win no matter how hard you try. It’s when you give up. There’s no more fight in you. That’s exactly how God needs us to be if we want His Salvation, His Assurance of a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven. He needs us to give up our pride, self-esteem, self-reliance and submit to Him ONLY. That means giving up our lifestyles that we’ve grown accustomed to and comfortable in.
In today’s chapters we find a frustrated prophet, who’s given his all to tell the people of Judah, that they’d better give up their idolatrous lifestyles or they will face the consequences. It’s a message for us today, also. Let’s dig in…
Jeremiah 10 – Idolatry Brings Destruction
Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O Israel! 2 This is what the Lord says:
“Do not act like the other nations,
who try to read their future in the stars.
Do not be afraid of their predictions,
even though other nations are terrified by them.
3 Their ways are futile and foolish.
They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
4 They decorate it with gold and silver
and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails
so it won’t fall over.
5 Their gods are like
helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field!
They cannot speak,
and they need to be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of such gods,
for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.”
6 Lord, there is no one like you!
For you are great, and your name is full of power.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations?
That title belongs to you alone!
Among all the wise people of the earth
and in all the kingdoms of the world,
there is no one like you.
8 People who worship idols are stupid and foolish.
The things they worship are made of wood!
9 They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish
and gold from Uphaz,
and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen
who make their idols.
Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes
made by expert tailors.
10 But the Lord is the only true God.
He is the living God and the everlasting King!
The whole earth trembles at his anger.
The nations cannot stand up to his wrath.
11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
12 But the Lord made the earth by his power,
and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding
he stretched out the heavens.
13 When he speaks in the thunder,
the heavens roar with rain.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain
and releases the wind from his storehouses.
14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,
for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.
These idols have no breath or power.
15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
16 But the God of Israel is no idol!
He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including Israel, his own special possession.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
The Coming Destruction
17 Pack your bags and prepare to leave;
the siege is about to begin.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
“Suddenly, I will fling out
all you who live in this land.
I will pour great troubles upon you,
and at last you will feel my anger.”
19 My wound is severe,
and my grief is great.
My sickness is incurable,
but I must bear it.
20 My home is gone,
and no one is left to help me rebuild it.
My children have been taken away,
and I will never see them again.
21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses.
They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord.
Therefore, they fail completely,
and their flocks are scattered.
22 Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies
as they roll down from the north.
The towns of Judah will be destroyed
and become a haunt for jackals.
23 I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.Jeremiah 11 NLT
We are not able to plan our own course.
24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.
Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—
on the peoples that do not call upon your name.
For they have devoured your people Israel (Jacob);
they have devoured and consumed them,
making the land a desolate wilderness.
Points to Ponder
- The spirit of fear leads people who don’t have a strong relationship with Jesus to turn to idolatry, mysticism, the occult, astrology, crystals, humanism, earth worship, etc. I was very much into astrology and a little curious about the occult when I was in high school and college. The Catholic Church certainly wasn’t providing what I needed, so I started looking elsewhere. That’s exactly what happened back in Jeremiah’s day. Fear overcame faith.
- The “shepherds” the leaders of the people led them astray. Even when Josiah found the Book of the Law, the people listened for a while. However, their hearts weren’t in it. They didn’t fully surrender to the One True God. As soon as Josiah died, they went back to their pagan idol worship because there was no one to guide them in the right direction. Jesus is THE SHEPHERD we must follow!
- By the way, just because a practice was pagan in the past, doesn’t mean it can’t be revived to honor Jesus. Like the Christmas tree. Pastor Sandy Adams explains…
As far as I’m concerned a Christmas tree has nothing to do with paganism. It represents the Christ. It’s evergreen… which speaks of everlasting life. The lights… are reminders of Jesus, the light of the world, and the fact we too should be lights for Him. Even gold garland… seems fitting for a King.Sandy Adams
- Verse 11 was originally written in Aramaic — the language of the Babylonians. “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.” It was directed to them. The Triune God is the ONLY entity that requires our worship. No one or nothing else. That message goes for us, too!
- In Jeremiah’s prayer, he acknowledges “that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.” That is SO TRUE! I look back at my life and I seen the hand of God guiding me, warning me, stopping me, helping me. Proverbs 16:9 says, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” If we surrender our lives to Jesus, and allow Him to be our GPS rather than just call on Him when we are in trouble, our lives will be blessed.
- Jeremiah chapters 7-10 are known as the Temple Discourses. God sent him to speak to the people at the temple. God was giving the people a chance to repent — a chance to turn from their idolatrous ways and turn to the ONE TRUE GOD. We must worship the creator NOT the creation! Mother Nature had a Father and His name is Yahweh.
- Jesus is King and should be first in our lives. We cannot replace Him with something else.
Pastor Sandy Adams has an opening comment on this chapter…
Jeremiah’s work was anything but enjoyable! He preached a message of repentance to an obstinate bunch! God gave him the task of presiding over the judgment of His backslidden people, Judah. Jeremiah tried and cried to reach these people. He sacrificed his freedoms, his position, his land, his possessions, his comforts. He even waived his right to marry and have a family. Yet his sacrifices won him nothing but hostility and hardship. “Prophet” was not exactly that job where he enjoyed expressing himself. If Jeremiah had any sense of fulfillment it came not from his work, but from God’s Word….
…Jeremiah was a lone voice. He confronted and stood alone against bothSandy Adams
political and priestly establishments! In his 40 years of ministry he never won a single convert. From a career-oriented perspective Jeremiah was an utter, miserable failure… Yet God appraises success differently than we do! Eternal success is measured not in terms of fulfillment, but faithfulness. Keep that in mind as we study Jeremiah 11-12…
Jeremiah 11 – Judah’s Broken Covenant
The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them. 3 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant! 4 For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.” 5 I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today.’”
Then I replied, “Amen, Lord! May it be so.”
6 Then the Lord said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. 7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, 8 but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’”
9 Again the Lord spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries. 12 Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes! 13 Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem.
14 “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress. (The 2nd time God tells him this! Don’t bother praying for these people! They are too far gone!)
15 “What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple,
when they have done so many immoral things?
Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction?
They actually rejoice in doing evil!
16 I, the Lord, once called them a thriving olive tree,
beautiful to see and full of good fruit.
But now I have sent the fury of their enemies
to burn them with fire,
leaving them charred and broken.
17 “I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.”
A Plot against Jeremiah
18 Then the Lord told me about the plots my enemies were making against me. 19 I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.”
20 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you make righteous judgments,
and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
21 This is what the Lord says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the Lord’s name.” 22 So this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death. 23 Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”Jeremiah 12 NLT (bold emphasis mine)
The Old Covenant
God’s covenant with the Israelites was simple. Sandy Adams comments…
Remember the Old Covenant, the covenant God made with Moses and the
nation when He brought them out of Egypt, consisted of three components…
First was the Law or commandments – moral, civil, and ceremonial. Second,
was the sacrificial system, for when they broke the law. There were sacrifices,
and priests to offer them, and a tabernacle to house them.
And third, there were the blessings and curses. God would reward the nation’s
obedience with great blessing, but He’d punish their rebellion with curses.
And God preferred the blessings! He wanted to establish them in a land flowing
with milk and honey. It was the people of Judah that insisted on the curses…
Psalm 78:41 says the Jews “limited the Holy One of Israel…” Literally, there
were blessings God intended for His people that He had to scratch off because of
their unbelief. His grace went to waste! Rather than the milk and honey, Judah
would taste the tart and bitter. They had a choice, sweet or sour. Judah chose sour.
And Jeremiah’s response was, “So be it, LORD.”Sandy Adams
Sin blocks the blessings of God and unblocks the curses!
YOU must willingly submit yourself to Jesus. No one can convert you. No one can coerce you. You can’t be pushed.
Back in Jeremiah’s day, there was a god for every city, even every street! That’s how it was in Ancient Rome, too. When I was doing research for my novel, it hit me that the same type of paganism exists today. In Hispanic Roman Catholic cultures, there’s a patron saint for every city and streets are named after saints. They hold feast days — celebrations — for the Roman Catholic saints and different apparitions of Mary. It prompted me to write, “So many gods…”. I saw this graphic on Twitter on the feast day of “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. (Check out the video at the bottom.)
Read the Bible and Learn the TRUTH
As a kid growing up Catholic, not once was I encouraged to read the Bible — God’s Word! That’s why when the culture of the 60s and 70s started infiltrating my life through TV shows, movies and music, I fell for it. I dove in head first and was lost in it for a very long time. I had nothing to stand on. I was deprived of the Gospel, the Good News of the Salvation of Jesus, God’s Gift of Grace, and worst of all, I had no moral compass. (Check out the links to my story/testimony at the bottom.)
“Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything.”Alexander Hamilton
On what do you stand?
False doctrine? Fear? Pagan religion? Nothing? If you don’t have a strong biblical worldview, you can easily fall for the lies Satan speaks and the idea viruses that our culture is infected with (and they are not health-related!)
The ONLY SALVATION is THROUGH JESUS CHRIST!
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.
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
The False Doctrine of Mary
In Christ Alone
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
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