September 1, 2014 – Jeremiah 8:4 – 9:3

Success vs Blessing

God continues to issue warnings to the Israelites about their impending destruction as a result of their disobedience to God.  Interestingly, there is no overt offer of mercy for repentance this time.  I suspect He would still extend forgiveness, this is just the first time I haven’t seen Him specifically say it.

v11“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.”

**  This is a repeat of Jeremiah 6:14.  We cannot ignore sin, we must cut deeply to remove it like cancer.

v12 –  “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct?  No, they have no shame at all… So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them.”

**  This is a repeat of Jeremiah 6:15, which was the foundation for my ‘big idea’ for the day.  God hated their apathy toward sin more than the sin itself.

ch9v3“It is not by truth that they triumph in the land.”

**Big Idea:  Just because you are successful in a venture does not mean God is blessing or even condoning it.  We cannot succeed if God is actively against us, and if we try at all we cannot fail if God is actively for us (see Job 42:2), but if God remains actively neutral in a situation we have a very good chance of success.  We are intelligent and determined by nature.  But I see people and churches alike take on a task and then claim that it is a blessing from God just because it was successful.  The people described in much of this passage were successful in the land, but because of their deceit, not because of God’s blessing.  So we need to look first to make sure we are on God’s side rather than claim God is on ours just because we figured out how to do something cool.

v9-10 “The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped.  Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?  Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners.  From the least to the greatest all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike all practice deceit.”

**  God may allow prosperity for a time – perhaps a very long time (for how long did the Egyptians prosper at the expense of the Israelites?) – but be very careful about depending on that prosperity.  It is less secure than a true blessing from God.

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