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August 21, 2020 7:05 am
Who hasn't been heartbroken by the recent images coming from urban centers around the world? It's not the peaceful protesting we find shocking. It's the unbridled violence and the scandalous destruction of public property that make us weep. And all of us, of course, on top of a global pandemic that continues to spin out of control. Well, today on INSIGHT for Living, we're featuring a study in lamentations that Chuck Swindell preached only a few weeks ago in this relevant survey of Jeremiahs journal. We'll observe the remarkable parallel between the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem and the cultural clashes of 20-20.
These four chapters above that, I mean, chapters one, two, three and four are written in what is called a limping meter. Like you would limp with a sore foot limping meter, which is the meter used in Hebrew poetry for a funeral dirge.
That fits also, doesn't it? Jeremiah Wright said, feeling as if. He's leading a funeral. As if there's a procession. And from one sad scene to another, as the city has been torn apart.
A city he remembered for its beauty and joy celebrations, all of the feasts all through the years of growing up in a.. Forth little village to the north of Jerusalem, the priestly village. But he would go into the city for this. For the Passover. You would go in the city for the other celebrations. He remembered Jerusalem. No more.
One more. A little interesting comment, if I may. In each of the chapters, someone different speaks. This will help you appreciate what we read when we get from one chapter to the next. So let's do that. In chapter one, the city speaks and it's so sad.
I could probably really, without crying Jerusalem once full of people.
Streets are empty.
He says, later, the sound of a jackal can be heard. Animals feed on the dead bodies.
She is now deserted.
Chu was once great among the nations, now sits alone like a widow. Look at that analogy.
She was the queen of all the earth is now a slave in debt. It's just royal.
If they had only listened when I told them, you continue in this idolatry, you continue to walk in the ways of the flesh, you will suffer the consequences.
They are coming. Verse two. She sobs. See the those seniors speaking. She sobs through the night. Tears streaming down her cheeks. In not a beautiful way to put it. The city is weeping.
Among all those who loved her, there is no one left to comfort her. All of her friends betrayed or they've all become her enemies.
And now the land of Judah, that's the kingdom over which godless kings reigned. Save Josiah. But as soon as his sons came, they fell again into San. But Juda now has been led away into captivity.
This once great kingdom that God established. Fallen into captivity. Pagan leaders now call the shots.
Bow down and worship our gods. And the people of the Jews or their. Who knows how many? I've never found a count.
But the city is emptied of those who were strong and young and had promise, and they're now on their way to Babylon. The roads are in mourning. The crowds no longer come to celebrate the festivals.
The gates are silent. The priests grown.
In the end of the chapter, he says, as the city speaks, my groans or many and I am sick at heart.
Dreadful consequences. Now in Chapter two, interestingly. The Lord speaks. And he's angry.
He gave them a faithful prophet in Jeremiah. And they they push him back and they mistreated him and they, in fact, tortured him. And so he speaks to them with terms and tones that that are pretty tough to read. We want to connect with the Lord, only those great moments of grace and mercy and and love and compassion.
But I'll tell you, there is a teather. To his compassion. And there was an end to his patients. And when that in comes.
Make no mistake. As it will. The ultimate end is the great white throne judgment. And there will be those who will cry for mercy. And there will be no mercy.
You had your moment, you resisted it. You, in fact, resented the truth.
Here are the consequences.
The lake of fire opens and in goes the plunger. A place really reserved for the devil and his angels. But there are those who believe his message, not the message of the living God. God is not willing that any should perish, it doesn't please him. To hurt anybody is not cruel. And who knows how long his grace has been at work in your life? And how faithful he has been to give you life when, you know, there were times you didn't deserve the breath in your lungs. But he graciously gave you another day, another year. Right up to this day in June, 20-20.
Interesting, this this dates all the way back, all the way back. Are you ready to July of five?
Eighty six. B.C..
The reason I pause and give you that date is because you add to that 20-20.
The 18 years added to the. 586.
It's over two millennia.
And still. Still.
The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Turning against the things of God. You try to bring the message of Christ in our highest places. This is not a political statement. It is a statement of faith. You try to stand and declare the name of Christ. You are silenced. You're out of line. Out of order.
When, in fact, his country was founded on the things that made us great. The things of Christ, the things of the Bible, the truths of his word. There's a limit to God's grace. God's passion is faithfulness.
And when the when it finally when the gavel finally falls, it's a it's a treacherous scene. That's Chapter two. When you get to chapter three, the prophet speaks. And he admits as it began, look at chapter three.
I'm the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the Lord's and I've seen it.
I've witnessed it.
He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light. He has turned his hand against me again and again all day long, has made my skin and flesh old. He's broken my bones. He's filthy. The judgment that has come and all the way through is blocked my way. He has drawn his bow. He has shot his arrows.
Peace has been shipped away, says the prophet. Now look again at this ray of hope. I got to get here.
I was reading this to Cynthia last night. She said. Be sure to get to chapter three. Her shoes, her feet. She was feeling the dregs of this. And I was, too. She said, look at the hope there is in this limitation.
Three story, verse 20. I will never forget this awful time as I grieve over my loss.
Remember, this is the prophet speaking. I still dare to hope. I love that. Even though there was a lot of reason to hope, I dare to hope. I choose hope.
Which is a great line for all of us to remember. And then he goes further. I still dare to hope when I remember this. The faithful love of the Lord.
Never ends his mercies. Never sees.
Great is his faithfulness. Merce's begin afresh each morning. Have to pause and apply that when tomorrow dawns. Don't pay attention to the weather of the day that's on your phone.
Pay attention to the new mercies of God that are now here to wash over you.
The merges are coming and they are here in abundance. We filled them afresh this morning when we awoke. I'm sure many of you did, too. And it's exactly as he writes.
His mercy begin afresh each morning. Whatever may be your situation, there's mercy. One of my mentors used to say that God's mercy is his ministry to the miserable. I've always loved that definition. The miserable, the mercy and the mercy is available.
Go further. I say to myself, the Lord is my inheritance. Therefore, I will hope in him I choose hope.
I'm not a depressed person. I refuse to let the evening news determine my emotions. It gets close at times. It's hard to write against it, but I choose hope. I'm determined to to search him and his word for truth and for guidance. Because I quietly wait. Verse 26 for the deliverance of the Lord. Look at that. If delivers will come, it will come from the Lord. So the prophet speaks all the way through chapter. All these 66 verses of Chapter three in Chapter four.
Get this, the possessions of the city. Speak.
The positions speak Chapter one, the city spoke chapter to the Lord spoke. Chapter three, the prophets spoke. Here, the positions. Why would you have the position speak? Because that's what they live for. When you push God out of your life, you grab for things and you need more and you are in. Enough is never enough. Someone asked Rockefeller. What does it take to really satisfy a person? He said, Oh, that's an easy answer. A little bit more than he has. That's a mark of materialism, and these people have become materialistic to the core.
But now look at it, verse one, how the gold has lost its luster. Even the finest gold has become dull. Why? Because the city is falling. The currency is worth nothing.
They're on their way to Babylon.
The sacred gemstones lies scattered in the street. See how the precious children of Jerusalem worth their weight in Finegold are now treated like pots of clay. There's not even a respect for life.
Even the jackals feed their young.
But not my people is real. They ignore their children's cries.
Through the chapter, you you get the distinct feeling that, well, it's like Proverbs says, will thou set eyes upon that, which is not for riches, certainly make themselves wings. They fly away as an eagle toward heaven. Love that verse. You cannot win on your riches. They fly away like an eagle.
Never buried anyone who took a dime with her or with him.
They all die. Empty-headed.
That's the whole point of Chapter four. He puts everything in perspective, doesn't it? And finally, the people who are now in captivity speak. Chapter five. Listen to them, Lord. Remember what has happened to us? Isn't it interesting? They didn't have time for the Lord. A few months earlier.
Now they have no time for anyone more important.
But now. Here's where they are.
They used to say to us when we would dig our parapet or otherwise known as a foxhole in the Marine Corps.
There are no atheists in foxholes. When you dig that that hole. You connect with a living God. You trust him to get you through that battle?
Remember what has happened to us, see how we have been disgraced, our inheritance has been turned over to strangers. Our homes turned over to foreigners. We are orphaned. We are fatherless. Our mothers are widowed.
We have to pay for water to drain. Even firewood is expensive about they're talking about the 21st century there. When I came across that one, whoever thought we'd be buying water, our ancestors, since they've died. The suffering continues. We're now the slaves. Verse 18. Jerusalem is empty and desolate, a place haunted by the jackals.
But law, you remain the same forever. Your throne continues from generation.
Some things never change. I just gave you the time factor. If I did my math correctly, this fall of Jerusalem was twenty six hundred and six years ago.
Listen to that.
And still, we don't listen to him. What will it take?
What will it take for the young adult growing up and making choices regarding life? In the future, to realize that he must trust in the Lord or she must trust in the Lord with all her heart and lean not to her own understanding. In all.
My ways submit to him. And he will make your path straight. I've never seen it fail. Hardest two words to obey. Trust. Why?
I'll give it to you straight from Jeremiah.
The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is? But I the Lord, search all hearts. And examine secret motives.
I give all people their due rewards. Get this ending. I'll give all people their due rewards according to what?
Their actions. Deserve not words. But actions?
Mark Twain once made the interesting comment, history doesn't dozens merely repeat itself, it rhymes.
It is so similar, it has a rhyme. Listen to the Ribe. Of the poet. Listen to the familiar setting. As you witnessed part of it this week, remember? It's time to stop the cycle. It's time for God's people to be unafraid. As we stand for what is right. As we believe in what is true.
And as we represented without fear.
Of reprisal. Or mistreatment.
I don't know where we'll spend the ending of our days. They may take our Bibles. How much of it have you committed to memory to hold your life together in that jail cell? I remember one P. O.W. saying.
Thankfully, there was one man in our group that was like a walking Bible. And we waited every day to hear God's words spoken as he just spoke it in his cell.
And we heard it ring through the chambers. Of ourselves. Take this seriously. Men and women. This is recorded for a purpose.
The way of the transgressor. Is hard.
In the end. God wins when you're following him closely. You also.
Now, with me, will you? You've been so dear to sit through this. Not an easy sermon to listen to.
Thank you, Father, for your. Great care over us.
We don't deserve what you do for us. When we accepted. It's called wearies. Thank you for meeting our needs.
When we have often not given to your work. You've been faithful to give. Even when we haven't.
Thank you for giving us health. When we don't deserve good health.
Thank you for protecting us through the virus. Help those who are struggling through it, help those who struggling through the the racial injustice of our time, how dreadful that is. What a mark on our record. Help us, Lord, to get beyond that.
Give us Grace, our father as a nation, to learn our lessons so that our history doesn't rhyme with the last history of a previous generation. Bring about change. Started my life. Our lives. Thank you in advance, our father for the savior's death. We love you for sending him for us.
Shucks, Quintiles, closing prayer truly reflects the emotional state of millions around the world who are distressed with the cultural conflicts of our times. We're drawing practical application from the Book of Lamentations and chart titled Today's Message Jeremiahs Journal of Woes. To learn more about this ministry. Be sure to visit us online at Incyte World dot org. In these turbulent times, bad news seems to be the only news we hear. But the good news is that God's hand remains steady at the wheel. No matter how chaotic our roads become. Paul, who is certain of God's sovereignty, wrote a New Testament letter while under house arrest. And today, it's recognized by scholars as the quintessential Bible passage on Joy. Well, Chuck wrote a book on this topic. It's a classic and called LAF Again Experience Outrageous Joy. If it's a smile you need, we highly recommend that you study Philippians with Chuck to purchase a copy of LAF. Again, go to Insight dot org slash store or call us if you're listening. In the United States, dial one 800 772, 88, 88.
We're deep into the off season when charitable giving tends to lag. But I'll simply remind you that your voluntary donations are critically important as we navigate what's become a very challenging season for nonprofit ministries like Insight for Living. So please follow God's prompting and give whatever amount he leads you to give. You can do that right now by calling us. If you're listening in the United States, dial one 800, 772, 88, 88, or by visiting us on line at Incyte dot org. Finally, if you're looking to supplement your weekend worship experience, remember, you're invited to join the online service at St. Brierre Community Church. This coming Sunday morning, thousands of viewers are taking a virtual seat in the worship center to watch and hear the sermon from Chuck Swindal. We'd love to have you join us. For details, go to inside dot org slash Sunday's.
In 2020, the pandemic has swept into our homes in ways we never imagined. Some have suffered greatly. But all of us have felt the loneliness of a quarantined lifestyle. Through it all, we're grateful that God has used the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindell to continue uninterrupted by the coronavirus or even through civil unrest.
God's Amazing Grace is our overarching theme every day on Insight for Living. In fact, it's quite possible that God has used our daily program to extend his grace to you.
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Join us again when Chuks Wendell's study in the Book of Lamentations continues. That's Monday on INSIGHT for Living.
The preceding message, Jeremiah's Journal of Wounds and the Sound Recording were copyrighted in 2020 by Charles R. Swindell, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.