Date: 05 June, 2016
Text: Jeremiah 42-43:7
Title: God is Not Mocked
Theme: The disobedient remnant who would not remain in the land.
Proposition: You can not disobey God and not reap the consequences of your disobedience.
Rhetorical: Why Would You Disobey God - When You Know the Consequences?
Benson has recently planted a couple seeds in a small greenhouse in our conservatory. He planted an apple seed which is growing. He has also planted a seed from a lemon.
One of the great proofs of creation is that what you sow is what your reap. If you plant an apple seed you reap an apple tree. If you plant a lemon seed you get a lemon tree.
We would NEVER expect otherwise.
ill. However, let us imagine that
· you are a very positive person and feel you can wish your way around this law of sowing and reaping.
· You think very positively about sowing cabbage seeds with a desire to reap an apple tree.
· You try to organize your life around tending that cabbage seed just as if it was an apple tree.
· Do you think that they will be disappointed in their harvest?
question: Can you change the harvest of cabbage by your desire for an apple tree? What if you don't believe in the natural law of sowing and reaping? NOTHING CHANGES. Why? Because God has made a natural law of sowing and reaping that will not and can not be violated.
GOD HAS NOT ONLY MADE A NATURAL LAW OF SOWING AND REAPING. HE HAS MADE A SPIRITUAL LAW OF SOWING AND REAPING. You can not violate this law with success.
Galations 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
exp. There are many sincere people who think that they can "wish" their way around this law.
· They think that they can get the end result they want by sowing the wrong kinds of seeds.
· They are very positive people and would tell you that you are negative to think otherwise.
· They are acting as if they are going to reap a good harvest.
· Will they be disappointed in their harvest?
exp. You can not change the harvest by your desire - YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE IT BY SOWING THE RIGHT KIND OF SEED. Why? Because God has made the SPIRITUAL LAW OF SOWING AND REAPING.
NOTE: Our story this morning shows the folly of sowing seed of wickedness and expecting to reap God's blessing.
I. They asked for instructions about planting their crop.
exp. When I got to this part in the story this past week - I thought, "Good." They are wanting to know God's will.
· King Zedekiah had refused to surrender to the Chaldeans.
· The babylonian captivity had begun.
· Gedaliah had been appointed governor but was killed by Othniel.
· Johanan and these others had rescued those taken captive by Othniel.
note: An it seems that they want to do what is right in the eyes of God so that they can again have the blessing of God.
A. They all came to God's prophet.
1 ¶ Then all the captains of the forces, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and Jezaniah the son of Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least even unto the greatest, came near,
2 And said unto Jeremiah the prophet,
exp. This seems so sincere. They are present and assembled before God's servant. If it was a church, they are all in church with apparent desire to meet with God. IT LOOKS SO GOOD. ill. If it was a class on agriculture they are there. They aren't skipping class - they are eager students - it seems.
Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
exp. They are there saying, "Lord, Lord" but they what matters is IF THEY ARE GOING TO DO THE WILL OF THE fATHER IN HEAVEN.
app. I'm glad you are here this morning, but attendance at church and saying Lord, Lord, is not the same as doing the will of the Father. We could attend and show apparent interest in the things of God - and just be like Johanan and these others in Israel.
B. They asked for prayer about God's will.
Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:)
3 That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do.
exp. It's like a prayer meeting when someone says, "I have a decision that I need to make."
· schooling - Bible college
· victory over sin
ill. "Whatever God says I will do." Everyone who hears that request says, "Good. God bless that person for their desire to obey God."
app. Desire for God's blessing - does not bring God's blessing! These people in our story appeared to want God's blessing but they will never have it. His blessing is dependent upon sowing the right seed and they would never put in the right seed!
C. Jeremiah promised to pray and to reveal everything given to Him by God.
4 Then Jeremiah the prophet said unto them, I have heard you; behold, I will pray unto the LORD your God according to your words; and it shall come to pass, that whatsoever thing the LORD shall answer you, I will declare it unto you; I will keep nothing back from you.
question: Is there any error on the part of Jeremiah? He is going to pray as they requested. He is going to give them God's Word just as they desired.
ill. Imagine what could happen to a bunch of agriculture students when they reap a bad crop. What do they want to do? They want to blame someone and so they lash out at their supplier or their teachers.
app. There is no error on the part of Jeremiah. And can I remind us this morning that OUR BOOK OF INSTRUCTION IS PERFECT AND THE DESIRE OF GOD TO REVEAL HIS WORD TO OUR HEARTS IS PERFECT THIS MORNING.
Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
note: "Note to self when reaping a bad harvest - don't blame God. He gave good instruction and plenty of grace to get a good harvest."
app. These people could not blame Jeremiah for what they were going to suffer. He was faithful in his part.
D. They vowed before God to follow every bit of God's instruction.
5 Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us.
6 Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.
exp. Uh oh! They have called God to witness (God would do this anyway). It shows the depth of their self deception. They thought they were sincere - but sincerity is not words - it is actions.
quote: "Your talk talks and your walk talks, but you walk talks louder than your talk talks."
exp. Claiming something does not make it so!
ill. A new recruit soldier could boast about his bravery and how he is willing to act in time of danger. Another recruit could doubt his ability to stand up in combat. But, when the battle comes the humble man could outshine the braggart in what he does. What matters is not what you said - it is what you do.
question: Do you boast to be a good servant of the Lord Jesus Christ? God help us not to say it but to LIVE IT.
II. They were told about bad seeds and good.
A. God waits ten days to answer them.
7 ¶ And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah.
exp. Knowing the end of the story, I wonder if it is God just letting their declaration sink in. They ought to be thinking those ten days, "We promised to do whatever we God says. We called him to witness that we will do whatever he says."
question: Have you made a covenant with God? Don't ever break it.
Ec 5:4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
app. We need to consider that God will hold us accountable for that promise to do His will when He reveals to us what to do.
B. They were all assembled - everyone heard God's Word.
8 Then called he Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces which were with him, and all the people from the least even to the greatest,
9 And said unto them, Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, unto whom ye sent me to present your supplication before him;
exp. The children and women were not ommitted from the hearing of the Word of God. All would be accountable for what they would hear on this day.
ill. Some of the Godliest young people had been taken into captivity.
Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego would risk the king's displeasure and eat porridge to please God.
Daniel would go into the lion's den.
The three hebrew children would go into the fire.
note: If they would have been present - even as children they would have stood up for God.
app. There is no excuse today for you. Just because we are part of a group - we will answer for ourselves. The Word of God makes it clear that everyone heard what God would say.
C. They were promised deliverance if they would submit and remain in the land.
10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.
11 Be not afraid of the king of Babylon, of whom ye are afraid; be not afraid of him, saith the LORD: for I am with you to save you, and to deliver you from his hand.
12 And I will shew mercies unto you, that he may have mercy upon you, and cause you to return to your own land.
note: Trusting God isn't easy. If it was - everyone would do it. They had to believe God would bless them, protect them and show mercy to them.
ill. Blondin - a tight rope walker who performed in the botanical gardens in Edinburgh. He used to carry his manager accross the tight rope. Can you imagine the faith the manager had in this man.
app. You can not take God's promises - without faith! The problem with Israel is not one of knowledge. They were clearly told the promises. The problem is going to be their lack of faith.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
D. They were promised destruction if they refused to listen to God.
1. To violate God's Word there must be a choice.
13 But if ye say, We will not dwell in this land, neither obey the voice of the LORD your God,
14 Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt, where we shall see no war, nor hear the sound of the trumpet, nor have hunger of bread; and there will we dwell:
exp. Notice the phrases, "We will not...neither obey the voice of the Lord your God, Saying, No; but we will go into the land of Egypt...."
ill. Remember Satan's pride "I will, I will, I will, I will...."
app. Does your heart say about God's truth ? No. I will not! I will go...." Disobedience against God is not passive - it is active.
2. They would have to harden their faces against God to do this.
15 And now therefore hear the word of the LORD, ye remnant of Judah; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; If ye wholly set your faces to enter into Egypt, and go to sojourn there;
exp. Notice their determination to disobey. God repeats the phrase, "If ye wholly set your faces...."
ill. Benson got to shoot a rifle in the USA. We were shooting at a target on my brother's farm. The scope bumped him on the first shot - but he was determined to shoot it again. His "face was wholly set" to do it. WE ALL KNOW WHAT THAT LOOK OF DETERMINATION MEANS.
exp. This kind of disobedience is not the "oops I fell into sin." It is a determined effort to do that which you know God detests.
Ps 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
app. Don't let your heart get set against God! God is warning them that this will bring great danger.
3. The consequences of that decision were made VERY clear.
a. They would be defeated in battle.
16 Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die.
b. However it happens, they would die.
17 So shall it be with all the men that set their faces to go into Egypt to sojourn there; they shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence: and none of them shall remain or escape from the evil that I will bring upon them.
c. They would suffer the wrath of God.
18 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more.
d. God clearly admonished them not to do it.
19 The LORD hath said concerning you, O ye remnant of Judah; Go ye not into Egypt: know certainly that I have admonished you this day.
exp. Could God make His thoughts about this any clearer?
ill. When I was in High School I offended another girl - my parents said, "If you don't apologize you won't go to camp." I argued until late in the night but finally submitted and was able to go to camp.
app. You may be arguing with God about your obedience - but if you don't submit - you will face the consequences of your disobedience to God. Hell is full of people today who never yielded their heart to God and suffered the consequences of their disobedience.
III. God knew that they were going to plant bad seeds.
exp. How it must sadden the heart of God to give instruction to do right when he knows that mankind is going to do wrong.
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
A. They had wandering hearts.
20 For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it.
def. dissembled - they did not have steadfast hearts with God. They had wandering hearts. They had no conviction about obeying God.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
exp. If they had only determined to obey and SETTLED IT IN THEIR HEARTS.
Ill. Remember Elijah's words to the double minded - 1Ki 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
app. Have you settled in your heart that you are going to obey God? Have you taken a clear stand for Jesus?
B. Their disobedience was already accomplished because it was in their heart.
21 And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you.
22 Now therefore know certainly that ye shall die by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, in the place whither ye desire to go and to sojourn.
exp. They are not in Egypt yet PHYSICALLY - but they are in their heart.
app. Your body is in church this morning but where is your heart? Your heart is what determines what you will do - whether or not your will obey God. Pr 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
IV. They were firmly set to plant bad seeds.
A. Their pride blinded them.
1 ¶ And it came to pass, that when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking unto all the people all the words of the LORD their God, for which the LORD their God had sent him to them, even all these words,
2 Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah,
exp. "all the proud men" Proud men can't be taught anything about God. They always know better. These men had heard enough.
app. Here is a good test of our pride this morning. Can we take God's Word and accept it - or do we always know better? Do we always have a reason for not just simply obeying God?
B. They blamed God's servant.
1. They accused him of misrepresenting God.
Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there:
question: Would God accept their disobedience because they had an excuse?
exp. When we hear God's Word - it is convicting. We can't just disobey - we have to find a reason to disobey which is just what they did. They blamed God's servant of a false message.
app. Is there an area in your life which you know violates God's Word? Whatever your excuse God will not accept it.
2. They accused him of working for the enemy.
3 But Baruch the son of Neriah setteth thee on against us, for to deliver us into the hand of the Chaldeans, that they might put us to death, and carry us away captives into Babylon.
exp. Incredible how set they are against God - they accuse his servant of working for the enemy.
C. They united against God and all did what God said not to do.
4 So Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, and all the people, obeyed not the voice of the LORD, to dwell in the land of Judah.
5 But Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the captains of the forces, took all the remnant of Judah, that were returned from all nations, whither they had been driven, to dwell in the land of Judah;
6 Even men, and women, and children, and the king’s daughters, and every person that Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard had left with Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Jeremiah the prophet, and Baruch the son of Neriah.
7 So they came into the land of Egypt: for they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: thus came they even to Tahpanhes.
exp. Notice that these are families. The leaders and the parents would have a lot to answer to God for. Their rebellion went all the way down to the children.
What do you think happens because of their disobedience?
Jeremiah 44: 11 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah.
12 And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.
13 For I will punish them that dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:
14 So that none of the remnant of Judah, which are gone into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, shall escape or remain, that they should return into the land of Judah, to the which they have a desire to return to dwell there: for none shall return but such as shall escape.
exp. You could almost feel bad for these men - but they have just reaped what they have sown.
What are you sowing today?
Galations 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
You can not get around the spiritual law of sowing and reaping. No matter how sincere you are or how desirous you are of a good crop.
We reap what we sow. What is the answer then... sow the right seed. Yield to God this morning with a sincere heart and do that which He has commanded you to do.